“A tribute to the poet and to love,” says Cristián Tàpies, the maker of this widely screened photomotion film. English subtitles are the work of Pedro Donoso. Gonzalo Rojas was a major Chilean poet who lived much of his life in exile, and died this past April.
Directed by Julian Harriman-Dickinson at HarrimanSteel. Unfortunately, it’s kind of low-resolution, but the soundtrack helps carry it.
Julianna Castigliego notes that this was an “Emerson College Film 1 final film project. 16mm. Shot on Bolex. Edited on Steenbeck.” This is the same poem, translated by Stephen Tapscott, that was featured in the motion picture Patch Adams.
This is poem XIV from Veinte Poemas de Amor y Una Canción Desesperada (1924), envideoed by Will Jardine.
The poem is not from Neruda’s Odas Elementales, but the later Plenos Poderos from 1962. Here’s the Spanish and here’s an English translation by Jodey Bateman. The film uses the translation by Alastair Reid, which carries a less literal title: “In Praise of Ironing.”
As with any popular poet, there are a ton of Neruda videos on YouTube, but most of them are, um, not so good. So it’s a real pleasure to see a professionally made film with a Neruda poem in the soundtrack.
Harry Garcia goes into some detail about the filming:
This is a visual experiment based on Gabriela Mistral poem “The Sad Mother”. All shoot with a Nikon D90 on a cold late October evening.
Lens: Nikkor 50mm 1.4. All lighting controlled with manual aperture. We took advantage of a couple good tricks to “tease” the D90, flashing right at the lens on “Aperture” mode to force the camera to lower down the ISO speed in order to eliminate any grain or noise. Then we locked the exposure with this settings and controlled light exclusively with manual apertures. Another reason for Nikon to add full manual control to our beloved D90!
The audio is from Daily Poetry Reading by Karin. For those who know Spanish, here’s the original poem:
La Madre Triste
Duerme, duerme, dueño mío,
sin zozobra, sin temor,
aunque no se duerma mi alma,
aunque no descanse yo.
Duerme, duerme y en la noche
seas tú menos rumor
que la hoja de la hierba,
que la seda del vellón.
Duerma en ti la carne mía,
mi zozobra, mi temblor.
En ti ciérrense mis ojos:
¡duerma en ti mi corazón!
We chose Warsaw due to its literary tradition and importance during relevant events in the XX century. It is the land of brilliant philosophers, musicians and poets. For the latter we consider it an important moment to claim the role of written word in life and human history. This year the city commemorates the 70th anniversary of the outbreak of WWII and the 65th anniversary of Warsaw Uprising. We recognise the unquestionable and universal importance of these historical experiences, still formative of the inhabitants of Warsaw as well as for the identity of Europeans in general.
According to an article in a Chilean newspaper, the group, which consists of poets Julio Carrasco, José Joaquín Prieto and Cristóbal Bianchi, began its poem-bombing campaigns back in 2001, with an event designed to commemorate the 1973 Chilean coup. The 100,000 leaflets dropped over Warsaw included the works of 40 contemporary Polish poets and 40 contemporary Chilean poets translated into Polish. Carrasco assured the newspaper that they were not littering: based on his experience with previous poem-drops, he said that within five minutes after it was over, not a single poem would remain on the street.
There was also a public, bilingual poetry reading in Warsaw two days in advance of what I am beginning to think of as P-day.