Posts in Category: Videopoems

Kobe by Chaucer Cameron

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A film about the Great Hanshin Earthquake of 1995 from Elephant’s Footprint—the collaborative team of Chaucer Cameron and Helen Dewbery, with Cameron contributing the poem and the two of them co-directing.

Deze zachte witte kamer / Our padded white rooms: six poems by Runa Svetlikova

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Belgian poet Runa Svetlikova‘s collection, Deze zachte witte kamer, has just won the 2015 Herman de Coninck Debut Prize. Here’s a film Swoon (Marc Neys) made a few months ago with help from the Spanish filmmaker Eduardo Yagüe. (Be sure to watch on a laptop or desktop computer and expand to full screen so the English subtitles are legible.) Marc described their process in a blog post:

Early this summer Runa Svetlikova asked me if I would be interested in creating a video for some poems from her debut ‘Deze zachte witte kamer’ (Uitgeverij Marmer, 2014)
“The beating heart of that new collection is a series of six poems that would fit perfectly in one video”
She was right.

The collection appears to consist of no more than a handful of atoms that randomly traverse space. Against that cosmic and sometimes comical background Runa explores the alienation she feels at the birth of a child, the difficult maintenance of a love without knowing whether there is such a thing as love, the urge to give a voice to a dead father… Yet the poems do tell a story. Especially the middle six; Vogeltje / Birdie – Verzorging / Care – Habitat / Habitat – Classificatie / Classification – Conceptie / Conception – Draagtijd / Gestation.

[…]

For this project I asked the help of Eduardo Yague. I felt these poems could use the visual approach of Eduardo. We mailed back and forth on a concept. On what kind of images to use, on colours, a vision. I was lucky he said yes.

I created a track with a reading from Runa;
[listen on SoundCloud]

I gave the recording to Eduardo along with a fantastic translation by Willem Groenewegen.
During a stay in Stockholm he filmed different scenes and improvisations with an actress (Gabriella Roy) and sent me the footage. I asked more or suggested different stuff.

In a final stage I chose and edited the different piece of footage to the track. I am very happy the way this turned out. Working with Eduardo was rewarding and there might follow more…

This easily would’ve qualified for inclusion in my list of Top Ten Multi-Poem Films and Videopoems, had I not already included two other Swoon films. It’s interesting to see how differently he approaches the challenge of melding multiple poems into a single work for each project.

Deaf Brown Gurl (La Morena Sorda) by Sabina England

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This is

a film written, directed, shot, performed, and edited by Sabina England.

-Voice Over & Sound Design by Micropixie.
-Music by Om/Off (Paco Seren and Pablo Alvarez)
-V.O Recording by Elliott Peltzman.

Filmed in India (Old Delhi, India and Patna, Bihar, India)

Though England grew up in the UK, the sign language here is ASL. She notes in her bio (which is so interesting, I almost hate to excerpt it):

I use a combination of American Sign Language, mime, poetry, voice-over, multimedia, and/or music in my stage performances. I am always looking for more opportunities to expand my works, and I love meeting new people from different cultures. I believe that art and culture can bring people together in spite of differences and issues.

I have been profoundly deaf since I was two years old. I am fluent in English, Spanish, and American Sign Language.

Click through and scroll down to the Long Biography to read about some of England’s other films. In a blog post announcing this film’s release, she wrote:

After one year in the making, it’s here for public viewing. ENGLISH & SPANISH subtitles are available for your watching. My film shows the diversity of Indian society (in Patna) and I wanted to show a variety of Indian groups (Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists), including Deaf Indians (and myself as a Deaf Indian).


(Hat-tip: Thomas Zandegiacomo Del Bel at the ZEBRA Poetry Film Festival group page on Facebook)

Temporary Poem of My Time by Yehuda Amichai

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This is System Error, a film by Guli Silberstein. Here’s how he describes it:

Pixelated, glitchy desert images from the disputed Israeli-Palestinian region and electronic soundscape are integrated with a poem by the Israeli poet Yehuda Amichai, and read by the actress Gila Almagor, transmitting an urgent message to stop the continuing violence by all sides in the Middle East. The work highlights the absurdity and pain of repeating human patterns of error, turmoil and destruction, and the difficulties of communication in deaf, chaotic world.

The English translation used in the film is by Barabara and Banjamin Harshav.

Monster Movie by Matt Mullins

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A new author-made videopoem from Matt Mullins. Poet as Godzilla (rather than poet as god, à la Vicente Huidobro) is definitely a concept I can get behind. For the first couple of minutes, I was puzzled by all the different screen arrangements, but it eventually made sense… in fact, using videopoetry to critique movie making and movie watching is something that should happen more often, I think.

A Man’s a Man for a’ That by Robert Burns

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A new poetry film by Alastair Cook and Luca Nasciuti is always worth celebrating. This is one of three:

Filmpoem director Alastair Cook invited Makar Liz Lochhead, the National Poet of Scotland, to read three of Robert Burns’s poems and together with Italian composer Luca Nasciuti they have created three beautiful interpretations of some of Burns’s most loved works: I Murder Hate, Such a Parcel of Rogues in a Nation and A Man’s a Man for a’ That.

Watch all three films on the Filmpoem website. For more on Liz Lochhead, see her page at the Scottish Poetry Library.

when by Ottar Ormstad

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Experimental poetry can sometimes seem excessively cerebral and lacking in emotion, but Norwegian visual poet Ottar Ormstad escapes that trap here with the help of terrific still images and a compelling score. The description from Ormstad’s upload to Vimeo is worth quoting at length:

In the film “when” Ottar Ormstad is transferring his practice as concrete poet to the realm of a programmable networked space, blending his poetry with specially composed modern music and electronic elements. His photographs are presented in combination with words in different languages, most of them presented as “letter-carpets”. Some sentences are from well known songs or films, other letter-combinations are invented by the author.

The film is telling a story about life and death, basically from the standpoint of cars, rotten in a field in Sweden. The narrative is open, and each viewer may experience the film very differently. It is also dependent upon the viewer’s language background, any translation is – intentionally – not given.
This experimental film cannot be translated in a traditional way. The words in different languages are integrated in the poetic expression. Subtitles are irrelevant.

The music and the animation was created in close cooperation with the author.
Music: Hagen & Nilsen from Xploding Plastix
Animation: Ina Pillat
Script, photographs, visual poetry by director & producer: Ottar Ormstad

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