Filmmaker E’lisha Holmes, A.K.A. E’lisha Jule, approached Langston Hughes’ three-line poem in the same way some poetry filmmakers like to approach haiku, with the text coming at the end as a culmination of, or a response to, the footage. Given the subject matter here, this approach allows an effective, oblique resolution of the film’s mounting tension.
I suppose this is technically a music video rather than a videopoem, but it strikes me as much closer to the latter genre to the former — save for the fact that the poem takes the form of a very beautiful art song.
Composed by Lior Rosner
Soprano: Janai Brugger
Directed and After Effects by Tal Rosner
DoP: Adam Woodhall
Dancers: Cameron McMillan, Fiona Merz
About the project:
One of America’s greatest poets, Langston Hughes was a social activist and early innovator of jazz poetry. Hughes distilled the experience of his generation of African Americans into poems that sang in his clear and unapologetic voice. In “In Time of Silver Rain: Seven Poems by Langston Hughes,” composer Lior Rosner uses his music to liberate Hughes’ words from the boundaries of historical context. Rosner’s modern settings challenge us to consider the contemporary relevance of Hughes’ frank and often searing meditations on the universal themes of oppression, loss, frustration and love. While the emotions captured in these songs are indeed timeless, beneath the undeniable modernity of Rosner’s music, there are subtle harmonic nods to the jazz that provided the sonic backdrop for the Harlem Renaissance.
Video by Four Seasons Productions
Most of Four Seasons’ videoems strike me as too literal and cliched in their interpretations. This is one of the few I kind of liked.