German film-maker Patrick Müller here adapts to the screen Charles Baudelaire‘s poem, “L’homme et la mer (Man and the Sea)”, from the poet’s most famous collection, Les Fleurs du mal (The Flowers of Evil), first published in 1857. This is his second adaptation of a Baudelaire poem, after Le Chat (2013).
The piece displays a distinctive approach by the film-maker, who shot it on the tiny and mostly obsolete super 8 celluloid format, popularised as a home movie medium from the time of its release by Eastman Kodak in 1965. Müller’s artisanal work includes hand-processing the film himself, then transferring it to the high-quality 4K video format for completion. This combination of analogue and digital creates uniquely beautiful images, with the sensuality of the film grain rendered in uncharacteristic clarity, and the choices in colour grading adding further to the poetry of the visual stream.
The softness and quiet passion of Müller’s voice entices us inwards to the text and the film. As with Caroline Rumley’s, Open Season, shared on Moving Poems yesterday, the soundtrack of L’homme et la mer is punctuated by sudden breaks to silence, as if to give moments of contemplation before beginning anew with the next fragment of the film.
The French-English translation of the poem in the subtitles is by Lewis Piaget Shanks (1878-1935).
Müller’s detailed process notes on the film may be read at filmkorn.org.
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.)
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.
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.
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.