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.
A big thanks to Arjen Vandrie for being the recording engineer of the different instruments I mistreated in this track.
The visual idea for the video came to me when going through different sources looking for footage for another project.
I picked out pieces depicting several (powerful) forces in nature (water/waves, wind, lightning,…) and some with a clear human presence in it. One piece (The hand above the water) was the perfect carrier for the words. The repetition of that calming gesture worked perfectly with Morten’s voice.
poem & voice: Morten Søndergaard
(from: Bier dør sovende – Copenhagen: Borgens Forlag, 1998)
Audioproduktion: Literaturwerkstatt Berlin 2008
Concept, editing, treats & music: SWOON
recording engineer music: Arjen Vandrie
Cinematography: cinematography: Sarah Lee (from ‘Under The Sea’)
Leonard Soosay (from ‘For Benny’) – Michael Raiden (from ‘ A Quick Hour’)
under the Attribution license (CC BY 3.0)
Thanks; Orange HD, videoblocks, Mazwai, Lyrikline
Surprisingly, I’ve never shared a Danish poetry film here before—this is the first. I hope it won’t be the last. (I’d love to see a filmmaker do something with Henrik Nordbrandt’s poetry, for example.)
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.
‘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)
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.
A piece by Belgian poet Jan H. Mysjkin, ably translated into English by John Irons, supplied the inspiration for Swoon’s first videopoem of 2014. Check out his process notes, where he talks about how the soundtrack took shape and what led him to settle on the footage he used from the Prelinger Archives.