This is the French version of the film that just won the Public Jury Prize for Best Film at the 2010 Zebra Poetry Film Festival in Berlin. Emma Passmore is a British writer, director, and poet, and Breathe was one of 26 films screened this year, out of more than 900 submitted.
Evidently restrictions imposed by some of the festivals it’s been entered in will prevent Breathe from being shared online for another year, but here’s what Emma wrote on Vimeo for the French version:
Using super 8mm footage I originally shot on the London Underground 13 years ago, which captured commuters unawares as they made their way to and from work. The new voice over is a poem which describes the effect of modern life – sucking up time and energy, when all one wishes for is time to breathe; time to live. I aimed to create an evocative piece concerned with longing, hope, history and soul.
The other awards handed out in Berlin yesterday are listed on the website.
Update: Video is no longer online.
Easy to Love a Beautiful Woman is a dramatic narrative, a sci-fi poem. It was inspired by a worrying trend – I see a lot of love for the Earth but little faith.
They say we are here because of planetary accident. The intelligence of nature is dismissed as illusionary. We convince ourselves that it us vs. nature, yet we are here only by the Earth’s good grace.
We are dazzled by technology, believing any new discovery to be for our good. But all too often our choices have proved wrong.
The poem is a cautionary tale. It’s set in a future when Revelations become real and they tell us to pack…
Easy to love a new idea,
Fall deep in its charms.
Jump head first with a cursory look
blind to any harm.
Australian artist Patrick Jones recently worked on a project called Food Forest with his family, and “Natural Bitterness” is another project in the same spirit of uniting art with gardening or gathering: it’s “a video-poem as field guide to some of the edible weeds and wild foods we’ve been eating lately in central Victoria, Australia,” according to the description on Vimeo. A brief blog post goes into a little more detail.
As high-concept as this is, it’s also a fine poem, and I love the name of his production company: Gift Ecology Films.
If one can use the term “classic” to describe something that’s only 26 years old, this videopoem certainly qualifies. I was surprised to discover I’ve never shared it here before. (I did post Eric Gamalinda’s similar “Front Toward Enemy,” which I assume was inspired by Konyves’ piece.)
Tom Konyves of course is the guy who coined the term “videopoetry,” and he’s done a lot to help definine and promote the genre. Be sure to check out the Moving Poems forum for his most recent summary of videopoetry, cross-posted from his Vimeo profile. Here’s what he says about “Sign Language” in the notes at Vimeo:
“Sign Language” (1984) is a videopoem constructed entirely from images of graffiti around the city of Vancouver. The rhythm of the work is created by the synchronized editing of the images with the soundtrack. The music I selected for the work, entitled “You Haunt Me”, is performed by the saxophonist John Lurie with the group Lounge Lizards. Unlike most of my work, the soundtrack complements the visual presentation. The title of the work contains the double meaning of hand-sign language, used to communicate with the deaf.
A pure example of “found poetry”, this videopoem gives voice to the faceless underground of Vancouver’s east side, bearing witness to their outrage and pain, their uncompromising and sometimes anarchic vision of the absurdity in our lives, all with a measured touch of humour to remind us that the family of man – no matter how far outcast we may be – includes each and every one of us.
Another of Zachary Schomburg’s minimalist videopoems in support of his collection Scary, No Scary. (I think this one falls into the “scary” category.) The full title of the poem is “You Must Choose Between Floating Eternally in a Buoyant Cage of Hummingbird Bones Down a River of Lava or a River of Blood.”
Video by Tom and Alex Konyves with editing by Scott Douglas and voice by Piper McKinnon. Tom interprets his videopoem for us in the YouTube notes:
This videopoem imagines a conversation, an internal dialogue between the poet and his “spirit-guide”, revealed as words typed on the horizontal rails of a fence, accompanied by a Latin club beat (Los Chicarones), and punctuated with a well-situated growl or bark.
The image of the fence suggests “the other side”; on the other side of the fence there is no dialogue, no visual text, no colour, no music — only the singular voice (Piper McKinnon) of the instinctive impulse, in black and white, in slow motion.