Eliot’s enduring poem of male mid-life crisis gets a proper film treatment from Laura Scrivano and actor Daniel Henshall in A Lovesong, the third interpretation of Prufrock I’ve shared here over the years. The description from Vimeo:
‘Do I dare disturb the universe?’
A solitary man wanders the streets of a city, restless with indecision. As he tumbles down a rabbit hole of seedy dive bars, half deserted streets and shots of whiskey, time fractures – and it seems he might be destined to walk these streets forever.
Shot in New York by director Laura Scrivano, A LOVESONG the first film of THE PASSION series and features actor Daniel Henshall, star of AMC’s TURN: WASHINGTON SPIES and SNOWTOWN. thepassionfilms.com
Exploring Daniel’s fascination with poetry and text and the actor’s relationship to the both script and camera, his film takes as its starting point TS Eliot’s poem The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, considered to be one of the founding texts of modernist poetry.
THE PASSION is an ongoing series of intimate short films, capturing some of the world’s most exciting actors in exclusive, commissioned performances, exploring and re-imagining key texts and modes of performance in contemporary settings.
Each edition of THE PASSION is crafted through a creative conversation with the featured actor, with a script being developed based on a classic text or mode of performance of the actor’s choosing.
Pushing the boundaries between cinema, storytelling, poetry, contemporary art and performance, the films will be as original, dazzling and individual as the talents that create them.
The stories THE PASSION will tell, the talents involved, the dramatic themes illuminated and the strength of each individual performance will make THE PASSION a unique and inspirational digital experience.
Usually in poetry film the most relevant collaboration is between a poet and a filmmaker, so this approach of developing scripts in conversation with actors is intriguing (though it doesn’t sound as if all the texts will be poems). A reply to a comment on Vimeo gives additional detail about the process here:
Director Laura and star Dan spent weeks talking about the poem’s possible interpretations, and on adapting the text, before our DOP was brought in to discuss how to render it on film. We were dreaming in Prufrock by the end of it.
The music and rhythmic recitation from Mikey Georgeson is integral to the success of this interpretation of Eliot’s classic poem by London-based filmmaker and animator Martin Pickles. His Vimeo description:
Poem by T.S. Eliot (1915)
Voice and Music by Mikey Georgeson (2015)
Produced by David M. Allen
Encouraged by Simon Indelicate
Film by Martin Pickles (2015)
The Man: Pat Reid
The Woman: Leslie Cummins
Edited from Super 8 film shot in Soho, Piccadilly and Belgravia in 1999
Film stock: 200 ASA Kodak Security Film created by Alan Doyle
Telecine by Lux
The Love Song Of J. Alfred Prufrock was premiered at PoetryFilm Paradox at The Groucho Club on 13 December 2015, a venue in the heart of Soho where, as it happens, the work was filmed.
The poem recording was made to celebrate the 100th anniversary of T.S. Eliot’s 1915 poem. In the accompanying film, a man and a woman fail to meet, despite their paths crossing on the neon streets of Soho. The special Super 8 stock (200 ASA Kodak Security Film) was negative rather than positive, and it is this that lends the film a beige ambiance, reflecting Eliot’s “yellow fog that rubs its back upon the window-panes.”
This is the second time I’ve shared a video of “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” on Moving Poems; the first was this animation by Everett Wilson back in 2009. But that was just a selection from the text, and used the poet’s own reading, which even at 4:02 minutes dragged, to my ear, because of Eliot’s tiresome “poet voice,” which now sounds so dated.
I think “The Hollow Men” has just found its ideal multimedia interpretation. I remember being utterly enthralled with Eliot’s poem at age 13, and this projection performance video from the artist duo Decomposing Pianos—Julia Krolik and Owen Fernley—brings it all back. Here’s the description:
T.S. Eliot’s 1925 poem The Hollow Men is spoken in unison by a trio of computer generated voices. Photography, code-generated video, original music and choreography are combined for performance. This work was part of Chipped Off’s wasteAWAY.
Performed: June 4th to 6th, 2015 at the Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts, Kingston ON.
Dancers: Meredith Dault, Tracey Guptill & Helena Marks
Chipped Off: Kim Renders, Robin McDonald and Dan Vena
See Facebook for more on the Chipped Off Performance Collective.
“Midwinter spring” is Peter Stephens‘ first foray into videopoetry, a film for the opening stanza of Eliot’s “Little Gidding.”
The artist, identified only by his Vimeo handle miaoniu, explains that the installation is so rigged that when anyone approaches it, the “Death By Water” section of “The Waste Land” is dunked into a tank of water, and slowly rises when the audience departs. “As time passed by the poem will dissolve and disappear finally.”
Call me simple-minded, but I love the literalism here. I only wish the video included a time-lapse segment so we could watch the wasting of “The Waste Land.”
Poem and reading by T. S. Eliot (text here)
Animation by Everett Wilson, who writes:
I produced the visuals for this poem by T.S. Eliot in the fall of 2001, during my brief time in the Media program at the University of Lethbridge. “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, an Animated Rendition of T.S. Eliot’s Poem” appeared in the “highlights reel” of the Melbourne International Student Animation Festival, which traveled to select universities across Australia. After receiving feedback on YouTube, I replaced the original narration with T.S. Eliot’s voice in this 2007 revision.
There are other Prufrock videos on YouTube, but this is by far the best of those I’ve seen.