Nationality: France

Marchant grenu / Walking Grainy by Henri Michaux

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This film version of an Henri Michaux poem by Francois Vogel was one of my favorites at the 2014 ZEBRA Poetry Film Festival. The program description:

A whimsical look at movement in the city. While reciting the poem, Francois Vogel »walks grainy« on the stairs of Montmartre, in Paris.

For this version, Vogel recites an English translation of the poem, but if you know French, the original is also on Vimeo.

(Hat-tip: ZEBRA Poetry Film Club.)

Âne Dormant / Donkey Sleeping by Jacques Prévert

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A charming animation made for French television in 2014 by Caroline Lefèvre. (There’s also a version without subtitles.) It’s one of thirteen shorts made by different directors for the collection “En Sortant de L’École,” a televised tribute to Prévert. For more on the making of Âne Dormant, see the blog.

De Tak / The Branch (La Branche) by Yves Bonnefoy

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And I return, a shadow on the white ground,
To your sleep that haunts my memory,
I pluck you from your dream, which scatters,
Being only water filled with light.

To mark the July 1 death of the great Yves Bonnefoy, Marc Neys A.K.A. Swoon made public what he called “an older (and personal) videopoem, never released before,” featuring his own reading of Bonnefoy’s poem “La Branche” in a Dutch translation by Jan H. Mysjkin with the English translation by Alison Croggon in subtitles.

Pomegranate by Karen Mary Berr

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A new author-made videopoem by Karen Mary Berr with a very NSFW text in the soundtrack. The music is “Halfaouine” by Anouar Brahem.

Berr notes at her blog that the poem was prompted by the gift of a pomegranate. So the choice of imagery for the video reflects that origin in something a bit more than mere metaphor. The poem’s frank, first-person eroticism seemed like a good follow-up to yesterday’s video of a quote from Anaïs Nin.

Une Mort Héroïque / An Heroic Death by Charles Baudelaire

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A fascinating, silent-film-style theatrical interpretation of Baudelaire by Ryan Kiggell of aya theatre company and Olivia Rose of GoodDog theatre company.

A fool, marked to die by a capricious king, is made to perform for the last time. A re-working of the prose poem by Charles Baudelaire; a modern parable on the place of art within the landscape of power and wealth. Both film and theatre, the piece was devised and filmed on a single evening in a public square in Paris.

Made by Ryan Kiggell and Olivia Rose, with GoodDog Theatre Co.
Produced by George Moustakas for aya and Green Rooms.

“An Heroic Death” forms part of a longer film, “The Last Songs of Lucan”, based on the poetry collection “Le Spleen de Paris” by Charles Baudelaire. This is a 17 minute silent film accompanied by live percussion by Jamie Misselbrook.

I don’t usually share poetry films or videos that include so little of the referenced poem, but this piece really captured the essence of Baudelaire’s melancholy text, I thought. Two English translations of “Une Mort Héroïque” are available online through Google Books, one by Aleister Crowley and another by Louise Varèse.

J’ai tant rêvé de toi / I Have Dreamed of You So Much by Robert Desnos

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An animation of Desnos’ poem produced for French television by Emma Vakarelova.

Inside and Out by Anna-May Laugher

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A new film by Helen Dewbery using a text by the French-British poet Anna-May Laugher, with music by Kevin MacLeod. According to the credits, it was “created as part of a elephantsfootprint workshop led by Helen Dewbery and Chaucer Cameron with thanks to Hilda Sheehan for inviting us to be part of Poetry Swindon”. For more on Elephant’s Footprint, see their website and Vimeo page.