Filmmaker: Charles Olsen

Cuerpos de Agua (Water Bodies) by Lilián Pallares

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Half videopoem, half music video, this new film from antenablue — director Charles Olsen and poet Lilián Pallares — features Pallares acting and supplying the voiceover together with a musical arrangement of her poem by Nestor Paz and Manuel Madrid from Poesía Necesaria. Be sure to click the closed captioning (CC) icon to access Olsen’s English translation.

Y sonó la alarma / And the alarm rang by Lilián Pallares

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Columbian poet Lilián Pallares is an actress with considerable charisma in this entertaining film-poem by New Zealand director Charles Olsen (Antena Blue). The use of silent-movie-style intertitles for Pallares’ text necessitates separate videos for the Spanish and English versions, but it’s worth it, I think, for the way it accentuates the manic, comic style. Spanish composer and pianist Pablo Rubén Maldonado contributed an original composition for the soundtrack.

El sueño del árbol (The tree’s dream) by Lilián Pallares

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A videopoem by Charles Olsen (Antena Blue), intended as a trailer for the book from which the text is sourced: Pájaro, vértigo (Editorial Huerga & Fierro, 2014) by the Colombian writer Lilián Pallares. Be sure to click on the CC (closed captioning) icon to read Olsen’s English translation. The guitar music in the soundtrack is by Quique Meléndez.

Libro de huellas (The Book of Traces) by Ángel Guinda

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I’m tethering my life
so the storm doesn’t escape me.

To think
costs the unthinkable.

A series of gnomic pronouncements, as if in response to an unseen interrogator, accompany shots of the poet’s visible traces: his identity papers, fingerprints, and typewritten words. Ángel Guinda stars in this gem of a book trailer, the work of Charles Olsen, a New Zealander currently residing in Spain, and the production company Antena Blue. (Be sure to click the CC icon on the lower right to read the subtitles—a very good English translation.)

This was one of two Olsen/Antena Blue films selected for screening at ZEBRA this year. Olsen wrote about his experience at ZEBRA for the big idea/te aria nui.

The second film poem, included in the section “Wracking Your Brains” – our preoccupations with the past, doubts and spiritual unrest – was a piece we made for the Spanish poet Ángel Guinda, “Libro de Huellas” (The Book of Traces) where, in a series of striking aphorisms, he reflects on memory, religion, and power.

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I began making film poems using my own poetry and that of my wife, the Colombian writer Lilián Pallares, with whom I direct the production company Antena Blue, “The observed word”. There is a great freedom to explore all the aspects of the image, sound, text, words, narrative, pace, and as a poet-filmmaker it is not necessarily the poem that has to come first. It may be an image or a personal story that lends itself to a poetic treatment later inspiring the text or a filmmaker may piece together fragments of dialogues, sounds and images to create a collage of words and images.

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