My great grandfather Wilbye survived the Somme. His brother Harry was killed in Belgium. My dad still has Wilbye’s signet ring on his finger. WW1 – and the Battle of the Somme – have always loomed large in my mind. The history. The poetry. My own family connection. The horror and carnage of it. The pointlessness. This film was my way of trying to connect with those experiences, and Paul Muldoon’s insightful and compassionate poem left us with the relatively simple task of creating space for it to sink in. These days, the Somme area is a banal agricultural backwater, but the landscapes still feel haunted by the atmosphere of what happened there. I recce-ed the locations with my dad, and my sister produced the film, so it’s really been a family affair, and I’m very proud of it.
The voiceover is by Lloyd Hutchinson and the sound by Jake Ashwell; click through for the full credits. The film was commissioned by 14-18 NOW, Norfolk and Norwich Festival and Writers Centre Norwich as part of the Fierce Light project.
Glasgow-based directors Douglas Tyrrell Bunge and Malen Montabes and poet Nasim Łuczaj are all credited as co-writers of this film, and all three appear as actors along with Harvey Dimond. It was made for the 48-hour filmpoem challenge sponsored by Cinepoems on December 2-4. The words are a little difficult to make out over the music, but the shots are too inventive not to share.
Eliot’s enduring poem of male mid-life crisis gets a proper film treatment from Laura Scrivano and actor Daniel Henshall in A Lovesong, the third interpretation of Prufrock I’ve shared here over the years. The description from Vimeo:
‘Do I dare disturb the universe?’
A solitary man wanders the streets of a city, restless with indecision. As he tumbles down a rabbit hole of seedy dive bars, half deserted streets and shots of whiskey, time fractures – and it seems he might be destined to walk these streets forever.
Shot in New York by director Laura Scrivano, A LOVESONG the first film of THE PASSION series and features actor Daniel Henshall, star of AMC’s TURN: WASHINGTON SPIES and SNOWTOWN. thepassionfilms.com
Exploring Daniel’s fascination with poetry and text and the actor’s relationship to the both script and camera, his film takes as its starting point TS Eliot’s poem The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, considered to be one of the founding texts of modernist poetry.
THE PASSION is an ongoing series of intimate short films, capturing some of the world’s most exciting actors in exclusive, commissioned performances, exploring and re-imagining key texts and modes of performance in contemporary settings.
Each edition of THE PASSION is crafted through a creative conversation with the featured actor, with a script being developed based on a classic text or mode of performance of the actor’s choosing.
Pushing the boundaries between cinema, storytelling, poetry, contemporary art and performance, the films will be as original, dazzling and individual as the talents that create them.
The stories THE PASSION will tell, the talents involved, the dramatic themes illuminated and the strength of each individual performance will make THE PASSION a unique and inspirational digital experience.
Usually in poetry film the most relevant collaboration is between a poet and a filmmaker, so this approach of developing scripts in conversation with actors is intriguing (though it doesn’t sound as if all the texts will be poems). A reply to a comment on Vimeo gives additional detail about the process here:
Director Laura and star Dan spent weeks talking about the poem’s possible interpretations, and on adapting the text, before our DOP was brought in to discuss how to render it on film. We were dreaming in Prufrock by the end of it.
This is I came from the unknown to sing,
a short film about the Palestinian / Scottish Poet Ghazi Hussein
directed by Roxana Vilk camera Ian Dodds, Edited by Maryam Ghorbankarimi and Sound Design and composition by Peter Vilk
Executive produced by Scottish Poetry Library and United Creations Collective
Camera Ian Dodds
Editing Maryam Ghorbankarimi
Sound design and composition Peter Vilk
additional music by GOL
Hussein recites four poems in the film, two in English and two in Arabic: “Next visit,” “I came from the unknown to sing,” “I am an interesting file” and “To Edinburgh,” all from the book Taking it Like a Man: Torture and Survival a Journey in Poetry.
This is one of a new series of videopoems by Anglo-Breton poet Claire Trévien — Day Six of the first videopoetry advent calendar of which I’m aware. As with most of the others in the series so far, it presents the poem (this one by Northumbrian poet Catherine Ayres) as text-on-screen accompanying a deft remix of video and audio from the web:
Two videos, one from Beachfront B rolls: http://beachfrontbroll.com, the other from Justin Jason: https://vimeo.com/57236261
Music is ‘Grass’ by Silent Partner
Sound effects from http://soundbible.com by Mike Koenig and stephan
Collaged together by Claire Trévien
Subscribe to CTrevien on YouTube to follow along as the advent calendar unfolds.