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”.
Filipina American poet Luisa A. Igloria took an active role in collaborating with Swoon (Marc Neys) on this film in support of her new collection, The Saints of Streets, as Marc describes in a blog post. Much of the footage comes from a film Luisa found on YouTube,
part of a collection of motion picture films that John Van Antwerp MacMurray shot during the time he served as American Minister to China (1925-1929).
The 16mm silent movie was shot during a trip to the Philippines in October 1926, where MacMurray and his wife spent a few days at Camp John Hay, Baguio.
In the same post, Luisa has this to say about the poem and Marc’s film:
The poem’s recurrent rhyme is the word “everlasting” — it had started out as a meditation of sorts on a flower indigenous to Baguio, the mountain city where I grew up in the Philippines. The locals refer to them as “everlasting” flowers, but they are strawflowers or Helichrysum bracteatum (family Asteraceae). Locals wind them into leis and sell them to tourists. One of my dearest friends from childhood recently returned from a trip to Baguio, and brought a lei back for me.
Around ten years ago, this friend lost her only son, who grew up with my daughters in Baguio; and she has never really recovered from that grief; she has also just had surgery, and thinking about her and about our lives in that small mountain city so long ago, before we became what we are now, led me to writing this poem which is also a meditation on time/temporality, passage, absence and presence.
When I write poems, I am often guided first by images and their interior “sound” or texture, even before I can bring them to bear upon each other in some totally explicable way… What draws me in the first place to poetry is the sense it offers of mystery, of how not everything in language can be completely grasped, so that we can continue to think of possibility.
Therefore I love so much how Marc has been able to intuit the poem’s themes of recurrence and memory and render them in such a way that both sound and imagery, artifact and dream, loop one into the other in the video poem.
This short piece by Austrian filmmaker Hubert Sielecki for a poem by Gerhard Rühm was cited by videopoetry pioneer and theorist Tom Konyves as an example of a good sound text videopoem, in a new, lengthy comment at the Moving Poems forum. (This was in response to a Russian translator of his “Brief summary of videopoetry” requesting examples of each of the five types he identifies in the piece.)