Nationality: Germany

Syrinx by Norbert Hummelt

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A very successful example of a poem used as dialogue between characters in a familiar movie set-up — a surprisingly uncommon tactic for videopoem makers. This was uploaded to YouTube by the ZEBRA Poetry Film Festival folks, who solicited it for this year’s festival:

For the 6th ZEBRA Poetry Film Festival Polish film makers Maciek Majewski, Łukasz Twarkowski and Wiola Sowa have collaborated with German poets Norbert Hummelt, Nico Bleutge and Christian Filips to make film versions of poems of theirs. Together they chose the poems and worked on turning them into scripts. In the run-up to the festival the pairs of artists were meeting up in Berlin to turn their ideas into films within six days. The short films that have been created in this way were premièred in the fesival. This is Maciek Majewski’s film-version of Norbert Hummelt’s poem “Syrinx”.

The translation is by Christina Hales and the poet, who is also known for his translations.

Clearance by Tom Schilling

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Directed and produced by Jan Walentek, this was shown at the 2010 ZEBRA Poetry Film Festival in Berlin. There’s also a version in German:

Without You (Ohne Dich) by Hermann Hesse

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A very minimalist take on the Hesse poem by Philip David Edson. It uses the classic James Wright translation for the titling, with punctuation and capitalization removed.

Schöne Jugend (A Fine Childhood) by Gottfried Benn

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The Gottfried Benn Electronic Library includes an English translation of this poem (click through to read it side-by-side with the original):

A Fine Childhood

The mouth of a girl who had long lain in the reeds
looked so chewed up.
When we broke open the torso, the esophagus was so full of holes.
Finally in a bower under the diaphragm
we found a nest of young rats.
One little sister rat lay dead.
The others were living off liver and kidney,
drinking the cold blood and enjoying
a fine childhood.
And fine and fast was their death too:
we threw the whole bunch into water.
Oh, how those little snouts squeaked!

As for the film, this is a bit of a remake with extra audio effects added. Here’s what Lasse Kuhlmann posted in the description at Vimeo (italics added):

Schöne Jugend (A Beautiful Youth) is an award winning 60 seconds short film based on the same-titled poem by Gottfried Benn. This modern interpretation of Benn’s classic (poem) illustrates today’s society in a clear-cut formal structure. It is shot in only one take, one steady camera-spin of 360 degrees. The PoV (point of view) is thought to be in the middle of a table, around which eight people are eating in a gross manner. The well-thought-out visual concept is both enhanced and contrasted by the raw cruelty of human disgust.

Schöne Jugend was entirely reworked for the KLX 3D Sound format. While the original clip features only a narrative voice and “silent” pictures, Lasse Kuhlmann and Patrick Leuchter enriched the soundtrack by breathing life to those eight people shown in the frame. And while the camera spins around, the sound will spin AROUND YOU just accordingly.

Schöne Jugend wonderfully demonstrates the immersive real-life experience of the KLX sound format and was kindly provided by the director himself, who is highly enthusiastic about the new version.

[meine heimat] by Ulrike Almut Sandig

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The 2012 ZEBRA Poetry Film Festival has introduced a new contest, inviting filmmakers to

make a film of the poem [meine heimat] by Ulrike Almut Sandig. The directors of the three best films will be invited to come to Berlin to meet the poet and have the opportunity of presenting their films and talking about them.

This is Swoon‘s entry. Ulrike Almut Sandig’s webpage is here, and there’s a bio in English at the online journal No Man’s Land.

Seepferdchen und Flugfische (Seahorses and Flying Fish) by Hugo Ball

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And now for something completely different: Bob Marsh chants the 1916 Dada sound poem by Hugo Ball in a marvellous video interpretation by drummer and videographer Grant Strombeck.

Nachtfahrt / Night-Drive by Ruedi Bind

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This delightfully strange videopoem has “Monday” written all over it. Let me just paste in the credits and description from YouTube:

videopoem by Hansjörg Palm + Ruedi Bind
7:10 min, 2010, D + CH
Concept, camera, performers, speakers: Hansjörg Palm, Ruedi Bind
Editing, sound, music, costumes: Hansjörg Palm
Poem: Ruedi Bind
2011 Internationales Kurzfilm Festival, Hamburg
2010 ZEBRA, poetry film festival, Berlin / La.Meko, kurzfilmfestival, Landau

Ein alter Mann taucht ab in eine Nachtfahrt.
Dort begegnet er überraschenden Gestalten und Landschaften.
Er taucht gänzlich verwandelt wieder auf, mit neuem Blick auf sein Leben.

An old man dives into the night.
He meets surprising figures and landscapes.
Ascending he finds himself completely changed.

I should note that I found this via ZEBRA Poetry Festival’s Twitter account, @ZebraFestival, which is currently the most useful filmpoetry/videopoetry-related Twitter feed of which I’m aware.