Haim Lensky (1905–1942 or 1943), also Hayyim Lensky, was a Russian poet who wrote in Hebrew. He wrote the bulk of his verse while imprisoned in several Soviet labor camps from 1934 onward.
In this film by Maxime Coton, Char’s text in English translation is presented on the screen in dialogue with the translator, Nathaniel Rudavsky-Brody, who responds in the soundtrack — a novel approach to videopoetry that I haven’t seen before.
Lost at first in the crowd, a voice from the past emerges, in silence. A poem of René Char, poet and member of the resistance. Then another, younger, voice responds, filled with doubt and hope. By the glimmer of ephemeral points of light a conversation develops between these two voices, between master and disciple. Together, they evoke the necessity of creating, of rebellion, of transmission.
direction, editing, mixing : Maxime Coton
cinematography, color grading : Miléna Trivier
translation and english voice : Nathaniel Rudavsky-Brody
music : Nico Muhly
credits : Stéphan Samyn
a BRUITS asbl production in coproduction with CPC asbl (Anouchka Dewarichet, Annick Ghijzelings)
Nic Sebastian blogged some process notes about the making of this video:
The reading had been up at Pizzicati of Hosanna for a while and is only 20 seconds long, so I knew I was looking for something very short in terms of video. There are still some wonderful Equiloud clips I haven’t used yet and it took me just a second of flipping through those to know that his gorgeous 28-second door-opening loop was exactly the kind of image/metaphor I was looking for, once I slowed the clip speed down by about half.
Another of Othniel Smith’s videopoems made with free classic film footage from the Prelinger archives and free audio from Librivox. What makes this one work for me, oddly enough, is the lack of music juxtaposed with the dancing scene.