Director Tova Beck-Friedman calls this “A cine-poem about the space between suffering and life lived. It’s also about survival and the unforgotten pain.” Dancer Juliet Neidish’s interpretation of the poem, choreographed by Beck-Friedman, is juxtaposed with archival footage for maximum emotional effect.
Susan Rich is the poet, and I was stunned to read an open letter on her blog detailing how the film was commissioned by the Visible Poetry Project and then censored at the very last moment, apparently for being insufficiently pious about the Holocaust! An astonishing and outrageous decision. All the more reason to share it here, then, of course (though I’d intended to anyway, before I’d read Rich’s post). I’ve been happy to see it getting well-deserved attention on social media, as well. As Rich notes in her open letter,
If there were ever a time to support each other, that time is now. The best art pushes and challenges us to the point of discomfort.
A project of the online group AGITATE:21C, where Florida-based experimental video artist Dee Hood pulled together video contributions from around the world, including a text by Finn Harvor, an American artist, writer, musician and filmmaker based in South Korea. The other contributors were Maria Korporal, Sandra Bougerch, Tushar Waghela, Muriel Paraboni, Lisi Prada, Eija Temiseva, Ian Gibbins, Jutta Pryor, Sarah Bliss, Darko Duilo, Gwendolyn Audrey Foster, Erick Tapia, Lori Ersolmaz, AvantKinema, Sarahjane Swan, Roger Simian, Lino Mocerino, Francesca Giuliani, Luis Carlos Rodriguez, and Willow Morgan. In the Vimeo description, Dee notes:
This is a collaboration between video artists around the globe. We wanted to share our common experience with this pandemic. There are no boundaries for anxiety, fear, grief and frustration. We are all in this long wait together. Today the world is on hold but we will be back. Thanks to all the artists for giving us a glimpse of where they live.
This is the final film in Spanish director Eduardo Yagüe‘s Trilogía de Soledad (Trilogy of Solitude), which began with an adaptation of a piece by a Spanish poet, Pedro Luis Menéndez: La vida menguante (Waning Life), and continued with A media voz (Under My Breath), which responded to a text by Peruvian poet Blanca Varela. “Vuelvo a la noche” is by the contemporary Costa Rican poet Mía Gallegos.
Solitude has certainly taken on a different, potentially life-saving connotation in this time of pandemic, and my Spanish friends have been in my mind a lot lately. Eduardo has said that this trilogy was “sobre la soledad y el vacío existencial, creativo y amoroso” (about solitude and existential, creative, and romantic emptiness). All three poems were translated into English by the London-based translator and poet Jean Morris.