A Berlin-centric reimagining of Sandig’s poem by Nigerian-German animator Ebele Okoye. Her description of the film at Vimeo is unusually complete; here’s most of the first half (minus production notes, credits and such):
Berlin Tempelhof, years after 2017: an old woman in the face of advanced recreational activities at the old
airport grounds confusedly recalls her growing-up years and life in a post war Berlin.
The old Tempelhof Airport, one of Europe’s iconic pre-world war II airports ceased operating in 2008. Since then it is being used for recreational activities like windsurfing, kiting etc.
However, before the Airport was built in the mid twenties, it was a vast farmland which played a big role in the life of the inhabitants of Tempelhof. It was the center of their sunday recreational activities which included dog-races etc.
Today, in 2012, the city of Berlin plans to restructure the landscape of the old airport ground and install very modern recreational facilities and one of these is a hill (hence the interpretation of the “bird man” sport)
So conclusively, only MOSTLY people from Berlin will be able to understand it beyond the presented visual abstract, thus making this remain predominantly a Berlin-related interpretation.
This film interpretation of Sandig’s poem was made in Mexico by Stephanie Brewster, with a Spanish translation by Aram Vidal in the soundtrack. Heimat is translated as patria, homeland. I like everything about this except for the inclusion of piano music.
This take on Sandig’s poem is by the Belgian filmmaker Jan Peeters.
In his artistic practice, Jan Peeters currently focuses on so-called ‘iconotextual’ works: he merges words (and more precisely, texts that are set typographically) and moving images (with emphasis on filmic images) to form visual-textual unities of content, which cannot be categorised as either pure image or pure text. In these ‘reading films’ he brings together the languages of literature and visual art, without focussing necessarily on certain implicit elements of mainstream film, such as narration, acting or characters.
For full credits and screening information, see the relevant page on his website. The summary reads:
While a university librarian struggles with words at lonely heights,
an old pigeon fancier awaits the homecoming of his pigeons …
For the 2012 ZEBRA Poetry Film Festival in Berlin, filmmakers were challenged to make a film using a text and reading by the German poet Ulrike Almut Sandig: “[meine heimat]” (“[my home/homeland/native land]”). In all, they received 33 films from 13 countries. Some of them are up on the web, but to date I’ve only shared one, the entry by Belgian filmmaker Swoon (Marc Neys). This week I’ll be posting a few others I like. (Some are fairly long, so it didn’t make sense to cram them all into one post as I did for “A Westray Prayer.”) The animation above is by the always wonderful Susanne Wiegner, who notes:
[meine heimat] is a poem by Ulrike Almut Sandig, that describes a space of memories or a landscape, that is not clearly defined.
“Heimat” is a very special German word, that can’t be translated into other languages, because it means as well a specific place, as a certain landscape or an abstract feeling. During the Third Reich in Germany, the word “Heimat” was barbarously and fanatically glorified and misused with the result that many people lost their “Heimat” and their lives.
In the video a picture of a concentration camp is projected on the letters of the words [meine heimat] blended with a train ride through my own homeland that reminds also of the terrible deportations to show the ambiguity, that you feel as a German when you think about your “Heimat”.
William Shum says about his film,
A short excerpt from Kurt Schwitters sound poem, “Ursonate”. The typeface was created from scratch and inspired by the “Merz” art Schwitters created, hence the name, “Merzy”.
This may be the first example of a typeface invented for a videopoem.
The Wikipedia article on Kurt Schwitters includes a paragraph on Ursonate:
Schwitters composed and performed an early example of sound poetry, Ursonate (1922–32; a translation of the title is Original Sonata or Primeval Sonata). The poem was influenced by Raoul Hausmann’s poem “fmsbw” which Schwitters heard recited by Hausmann in Prague, 1921. Schwitters first performed the piece on 14 February 1925 at the home of Irmgard Kiepenheuer in Potsdam. He subsequently performed it regularly, both developing and extending it. He published his notations for the recital in the last Merz periodical in 1932, although he would continue to develop the piece for at least the next ten years.
“An Anna Blume,” says the Wikipedia, is “a poem written by the German artist Kurt Schwitters in 1919. It has been described as a parody of a love poem, an emblem of the chaos and madness of the era, and as a harbinger of a new poetic language.” This film adaptation, a German-Bulgarian production, won the the Ritter-Sport Prize at the 5th ZEBRA Poetry Film Festival in 2010. Here’s the description at Vimeo:
Anna Blume is a visual poetry about the lust of a man chasing a woman. The story takes on surreal journey dictated by the mind of the poet. Lust and ingestion, disguised in love, drive the two characters to an end where love turns to be a very lonesome and strange place. The film is based on and inspired by the emblematic love poem from 1919 “An Anna Blume” by Kurt Schwitters.
director Vessela Dantcheva
art director Ivan Bogdanov
screenplay Vessela Dantcheva & Ebele Okoye
main animator Ebele Okoye
music composer Petar Dundakov
sound designer Emil Iliev
compositing & edit Ivan Bogdanov
storyboard & layouts Vessela Dantcheva
produced by Ebele Okoye & FINFILM
supported by Robert Bosch Stiftung & National Film Center
Departing from the usual relationship between poetry and animation in which the latter illustrates the former, this animation may be said to exist in dynamic tension or conversation with the text and music. The director, Michael Fragstein of Büro Achter April, told me in an email that his animation came first, and the German-Congolese jazz singer Lisa Tuyula wrote her spoken-word composition in response, following which Marc Fragstein wrote the music that ties it all together.
While I think this was intended more as a music video than a poetry video, the ekphrastic approach is one that poets and animators ought to consider experimenting with.