Poet: Charles Baudelaire

Une Mort Héroïque / An Heroic Death by Charles Baudelaire

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A fascinating, silent-film-style theatrical interpretation of Baudelaire by Ryan Kiggell of aya theatre company and Olivia Rose of GoodDog theatre company.

A fool, marked to die by a capricious king, is made to perform for the last time. A re-working of the prose poem by Charles Baudelaire; a modern parable on the place of art within the landscape of power and wealth. Both film and theatre, the piece was devised and filmed on a single evening in a public square in Paris.

Made by Ryan Kiggell and Olivia Rose, with GoodDog Theatre Co.
Produced by George Moustakas for aya and Green Rooms.

“An Heroic Death” forms part of a longer film, “The Last Songs of Lucan”, based on the poetry collection “Le Spleen de Paris” by Charles Baudelaire. This is a 17 minute silent film accompanied by live percussion by Jamie Misselbrook.

I don’t usually share poetry films or videos that include so little of the referenced poem, but this piece really captured the essence of Baudelaire’s melancholy text, I thought. Two English translations of “Une Mort Héroïque” are available online through Google Books, one by Aleister Crowley and another by Louise Varèse.

À une passante / To a Passer-By by Charles Baudelaire

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An illustrative, atmospheric take on Baudelaire’s poem by the Sicilian London-based independent filmmaker Luana Di Pasquale, with William Aggeler’s English translation in subtitles. The Vimeo description reads:

This short depicts in 1 min. and 30 sec. Charles Baudelaire’s Poem – ‘A Passer-By’ from ‘The Flowers of Evil’ collection – an European Classic which was first published in 1857. This French poem describes the moment when the Poet meets the eyes of a Mourning Woman in Paris’s Flea Market. In our adaptation – the poem is set in London’s Soho where the Poet meets the fugitive eyes of a Sex-Worker, played by actress Lidja Zovkic.
This adaptated version of Charles’s Baudlaire’s poem was inspired by Bunuel’s film ‘Belle de Jour’ and its music by the avant-garde composer Edgard Varèse with a few film noir’s notes Produced/Directed by Luana Di Pasquale. Edited/VFX by Massi Guelfi.Original music by Matthias Kispert.

Be Drunk (Enivrez-vous) / Bądźcie Pijani by Charles Baudelaire

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A Polish-language videopoem with English subtitles (sorry, French people) by Gaba Sibilska, who says in the Vimeo description:

It’s an attempt to re-interprate Charles Baudelaire’s poem in a way that fits in our world – world of young people. It’s the inevitable future that frightens the youth. In the juvenile joy of life and affirmation of fun, one can find denial, lies, fear, despair, a desperate attempt to escape from the reality. Eventually, though, every young person must realize that however change of perception may ease the fear, it has no affect on time. And no matter how distant it seems, the end of carefree youth will come one day…

Here’s the French original.

Le Chat / The Cat by Charles Baudelaire

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A trilingual filmpoem (subtitles in English and German; voiceover in French) by German filmmaker Patrick Müller.

The Albatross (L’Albatros) by Charles Baudelaire

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A nicely non-literal interpretation that feels true to the spirit of Baudelaire. This is a Catalan film of a great French poem with an English translation in the soundtrack — specifically, the English of Geoffrey Wagner, Selected Poems of Charles Baudelaire (NY: Grove Press, 1974). That and several other translations may be read at fleursdumal.org. Here’s the original French:

L’Albatros

Souvent, pour s’amuser, les hommes d’équipage
Prennent des albatros, vastes oiseaux des mers,
Qui suivent, indolents compagnons de voyage,
Le navire glissant sur les gouffres amers.

À peine les ont-ils déposés sur les planches,
Que ces rois de l’azur, maladroits et honteux,
Laissent piteusement leurs grandes ailes blanches
Comme des avirons traîner à côté d’eux.

Ce voyageur ailé, comme il est gauche et veule!
Lui, naguère si beau, qu’il est comique et laid!
L’un agace son bec avec un brûle-gueule,
L’autre mime, en boitant, l’infirme qui volait!

Le Poète est semblable au prince des nuées
Qui hante la tempête et se rit de l’archer;
Exilé sur le sol au milieu des huées,
Ses ailes de géant l’empêchent de marcher.

The Carcass (Une Charogne) by Charles Baudelaire

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A mesmerizing film and reading in French, with the English translation by Geoffrey Wagner provided in subtitles. I am guessing that the filmmaker, Koustoz, is Greek.

The End of the Day (La Fin de la Journée) by Charles Baudelaire

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An experimental short to which the poem was added at the end — which to me makes for a more satisfying blend than most videopoems where words and images are tightly matched.

This is an experimental short movie made in a week (from the concept to the final release). This movie doesn’t want any interpretation. The poem was chosen after the filming. Finally was composed the music. The basic idea is to show some scenes before go to bed leaving an unhappy impression.

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