Poet: Hugo Claus

Envoi by Hugo Claus

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Claus’s poem is adapted to film by his fellow Belgian Marc Neys AKA Swoon. The poet’s reading is courtesy of Lyrikline and the English translation is by John Irons. Marc used footage by Jan Earala, but everything else—concept, music, editing—are his own.

Marc told me recently that he’s moving away from writing process notes, preferring to let the films speak for themselves, as witnessed by his new, stripped-down, portfolio-style website. Last year, he made a pair of films for another Claus poem, “Halloween,” the second one also using footage from Jan Earala. Here’s hoping that more Hugo Claus filmpoems might be in the offing.

Halloween by Hugo Claus

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UPDATE (3 Oct. 2015): Swoon has re-edited the English version, replacing the Jovan Todorovic film clip with footage by Jan Eerala.

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Belgian artist Marc Neys A.K.A. Swoon recently released two entirely different films for a poem by his great countryman Hugo Claus: “a ‘European Dance-version’ (using Hugo’s reading from Lyrikline) and an ‘American Road movie version’ using a fantastic reading Michael Dickes made from the English translation by John Irons,” as he put it in a blog post.

The visual idea for the Dutch version came to me watching a great series of short videos by dancer/artist Nadia Vadori-Gauthier: One Minute of Dance a Day:

‘since January 14, 2015, I’ve been posting one minute of dance to this blog every day, simply, without editing or effects, in the place and state of mind I find myself that day, with no special technique, staging, clothing, or makeup, nothing but what is there.’

I asked if I could use one of her ‘minutes’ (2 février 2015 – 20e danse) for this videopoem. I could.
I simply adore this combination of Hugo’s poem, his voice and her dancing in the snow.
Enjoy! (There’s also a version with French subtitles: https://vimeo.com/118980966)

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The source of the ‘road movie’ version is a music video by the collective ESNAF
Their video for ‘The Long Haul’ by NO (cinematography by Jovan Todorović) had all the ingredients I needed for the English version of the poem. I believe the little storyline is the perfect match for the poem and Michael Dickes’ reading.