“Video poem made in a abandoned wool factory in Portugal for the museum of Guarda by Pat van Boeckel and Peter van der Pol”, says the Vimeo description. The Guarda City Museum (Museu da Guarda) is in central Portugal.
The English in the subtitles has a few problems, but the film, centered on an art installation, is so imaginative, it more than makes up for it. In fact it’s the Portuguese that’s a translation; Pessoa, who was raised in Durban, South Africa, wrote the poem in English under the heteronym Alexander Search, and the film uses a much later Portuguese translation by Luísa Freire. Pat van Boeckel notes that it’s not a well-known poem even in Portugal.
Updated with more accurate information about the poem’s provenance.
This is Azulejo ou l’illusion visuelle, an “animated film by Kolja Saksida made in the two week workshop in Lisbon, Portugal,” according to the description on Vimeo from ZVVIKS, the Slovenian Institute for Film and Audiovisual Production. A note at the end of the film adds that it was inspired by a painting on tiles representing Lisbon before the great earthquake of 1755.
The film includes just the first four lines of the poem in the soundtrack, with a French translation in titling. Here’s the English translation given in the description:
I am nothing.
I’ll never be anything.
I can not want to be anything.
Apart from this, I have in me all the dreams of the world.
From the poetry of Fernando Pessoa, this visual message proposes a moment of introspection and places us in a universe of thought: The man, once again trying to reach the divine.
All this happens in a kind of sanctuary: The top of the highest mountains in a small island in the middle of the Atlantic.
Of particular interest to me here was the way the filmmaker went beyond the usual subtitle approach for the English translations of each line, and integrated them into the film as text animations, resulting in one of the more thoroughly bilingual poetry films I’ve seen.