It’s always fascinating to see how different poetry-film makers will deploy the same text. In his film, Cameron Michael juxtaposes the dreamy text and soundtrack with time-lapse shots of New York City, while in Exiles, Bangladeshi director Amirul Rajiv uses black-and-white footage of a vast Rohingya refugee camp. Which is a better fit? How does our understanding of the poem change from one film to the other?
Poetry-film fans should recognize the name Arseny Tarkovsky: his son, the great Russian filmmaker Andrei Tarkovsky, included his father’s poems in some of his most memorable scenes. Here, the title poem from Virginia Rounding’s recent volume of English translations comes to us via an album by the film composer Ryuichi Sakamoto, which he offered up for an international short film competition earlier this year. Here’s how the website No Film School described it:
The composer behind ‘The Revenant’ has teamed up with Apichatpong Weerasethakul to give out awards totaling $5,000 cash.
This past spring, Ryuichi Sakamoto released his album async, which he described as a “soundtrack for an imaginary Andrei Tarkovsky film.” Today, he announced the async Short Film Competition, in which he asks filmmakers to create a movie around his music.
The short films will be judged by Sakamoto and acclaimed filmmaker Apichatpong Weerasethakul (Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives). In addition, one filmmaker will be given an “Audience Award” based on the following method: One point for every time the submitted film is played on Vimeo; 10 points for every “like” on Vimeo; and 10 points for every “like” on Facebook by September 30th, 2017.
Sakamoto will decide on a winner based on the following criteria:
- Unique expression of the relationship between the music and the images
- The general appeal of the film
Apichatpong will decide on a winner based on the following criteria:
- The general appeal of the film
Links to all the films entered in the competition are currently on the front page of Sakamoto’s website. You can see more film interpretations of this poem by doing a Google video search for Arseny Tarkovsky “Life, Life”.
The title poem from a 1920 collection by New Zealand anarchist and poet Lola Ridge as envideoed by Catalan remix artist Josep Porcar.
I haven’t done a very good job of keeping up with Josep Porcar’s videopoetry output over the years, but he’s certainly Catalonia’s most active and visible proponent of the art, often combining (as here) his own Catalan translations with his audiovisual interpretations of classic and contemporary poems. His truly international focus should not be surprising; far from what outside observers of its independence movement might assume, Catalonia has much more of a crossroads culture than an insular or provincial one. (These days, it seems as if it’s mainly the declining empires, such as the UK and the US, which are bedeviled by insularity and xenophobia.) But enough of my editorializing. Go browse more of Josep’s work (or view the archive here).
We are disasters
on the edge of our own shores,
dreaming and woken.
about us. If sea can break
so can shore and cliff.
I was delighted to run across this on Vimeo the other day: director Colin Ramsay‘s film for a poem by one of my favorite British poets, George Szirtes. I remembered seeing him post about the filming on Facebook back in August:
Today we film three poems dealing with flood from Mapping the Delta. The poems will be recorded here at lunchtime then we head out to Happisburgh to ascend lighthouses and church towers and possibly to drop dramatically into the sea at an opportune moment of erosion. Where is my Tennysonian cloak when it is needed?
Szirtes also shared the producer’s series of photos from the shoot. Here’s the Vimeo description:
Surge – based on a poem by George Szirtes from his 2016 poetry book Mapping the Delta. Shot on location in Happisburgh, Norfolk, England.
Directed & edited by Colin Ramsay
Produced by James Murray-White
Camera by James Uren
Music – Lost Frontier by Kevin Macleod
Shot on an Ursa 4K mini using Samyang 24mm & 50mm prime lenses, graded in Premiere.
This is Aum Shinrikyo, directed by Noah Conopask. On Vimeo, he describes how he came to make it:
On a recent shoot in Tokyo I was incredibly inspired by Japan and everything I was seeing around me visually. The streets, the people and the fashion. I learned about a doomsday cult called Aum Shinrikyo (Japanese オウム真理教) that let off deadly sarin nerve gas in Tokyo’s subway system 20 years ago. The attack was the worst in modern Japanese history. It made me think of Dylan Thomas poems about life and death. It was something I wanted to bring to life cinematically. I had a vision of a few of the cult members walking around Tokyo. Staking out the attack, the way thieves would a bank heist.
Poem: ‘And Death Shall Hall No Dominion’ Excerpt by Dylan Thomas
Directed by: Noah Conopask
Production Company: The Sweet Shop
Cinematography: Garrett Hardy Davis
Edit: James Dierx at Whitehouse Post
Voice Over: Vivian
Color: Seth Ricart at RCO
Producer: Larissa Tiffin
Talent: KO3UKE Onishi, Kenji Araki, Percy