A filmpoem by Swoon (Marc Neys) incorporating 11 poems by 11 different Belgian writers, telling a single story of life, lust, love and loss. The poems range in style from experimental to formal verse, all ably translated by Willem Groenewegen. I had the pleasure of seeing this at ZEBRA with an introduction by the filmmaker, having first viewed it online more than a year ago when Marc briefly made it public. It’s now been fully released to the web after nearly two years of festival screenings.
I don’t know if there is ever an ideal day of the week to post a 20-minute poetry video, but website visitor stats do suggest that Monday is a big day for procrastination on the job. So grab a beverage, put on your headphones and hit the play button. What better way to ease into the week than with a surreal poetry film to alter your consciousness?
Here are the poems that make up the film:
The poems were recorded by three well-known Flemish actors: Vic De Wachter (poems 1, 6, 7, 8), Michaël Pas (poems 2, 4, 10, 11) and Karlijn Sileghem (poems 3, 5, 9). The actors are Katrijn Clemer, Mathieu Courtois, and Rommel the cat. (“Rommel” means “clutter” in Dutch; it has nothing to do with the Nazi general.) The music is by Hanklebury, Lunova Labs, and Swoon. Click through to Vimeo for the rest of the credits, not to mention the extensive list of screenings.
A while back I made a video for ‘Het einde of het begin van een mensenleven / The end or the beginning of a human life’
This poem by Jan Lauwereyns (you can read about the videopoem) has an extended English version (published in the book ‘Three Poems To the Question of Four. 27+3 Drawings’)
Because they were so obviously connected I wanted to create a second video for the English poem; ‘The End or the Beginning’
I asked Michael Dickes to read/record the poem and he delivered a perfect (dark blue with bits of fading grey) reading. I created a very slow and deep track around that recording […]
This time I didn’t want to use IICADOM footage. No family memories. The video needed to be more abstract.
The first thing I wanted to use was an experimental performance/recording by Ephemeral Rift.
The mask and movements in this short video reminded me of bunraku. It was the perfect link to Jan’s frame of mind.
(Jan lives and works as a scientist in Japan)
This video was going to be the lead in my videopoem. I added a variety of images around this storyline. Hints of science, nature, death,…
A poetic storyline through images. It’s a flow of thoughts surrounding the poem, being a flow on itself…
I am very happy with this one, so was Jan. We started a journey together with this project. It will take us to other places, new ways of combining, crossing borders. More to follow in the future…
Swoon used public-domain footage from the U.S. Navy’s MSTS Arctic operations (1955-1957) to accompany an English-language text by the multilingual Belgian writer and scientist Jan Lauwereyns. He first constructed a soundscape, then found footage to match, but in a departure from his usual modus operandi, decided not to include the poem in the soundtrack:
Reading or recording the poem was no option…
It wouldn’t work. I needed to see the words ‘floating’ slowly, using the pace of the music and the images.
Giving them time to interact with the sounds and the images.