A day late for American Thanksgiving (I was busy hanging with the fam), here’s a Judith Dekker film of a poem by Flemish poet Max Temmerman, with Willem Groenewegen’s English translation in subtitling (and also in the Vimeo description). Dekker notes:
Max Temmerman’s poems and my images are related in a way. They both show the small movements, moments, objects and try to slow down around them. All the images for this one are shot in a time i had to say goodbye to one home to move to another. They are glimpses from both homes. The soundtrack is made by multi-instrumentalist Jon Birdsong.
Click through to Vimeo to read the rest.
you will take your leave of this place
but this place will not take its leave
of you. it is an illness with a voice
that surrounds you. that voice was wet.
A poem and film that seem to speak to the situation of refugees and exiles in Europe and beyond. Flemish poet Marleen de Crée provided the text (from her forthcoming book Druppelpunt) and voiceover, and the English translation in the subtitles is by Willem Groenewegen. Concept, camera, editing and music are the work of Marc Neys A.K.A. Swoon, who notes:
It was the first part of the poem that gave me the idea of showing a person not being able to escape; from her past, from what she did, from her encounters. From who she is…
We have this papier-mâché bear in our house (it will also be used in another video, later this year) that was the perfect prop for this video.
Katrijn Clemer played the woman (and was also responsible for making the bear, years ago).
Once everything was shot (all in one afternoon), the editing process was easy. It all came together perfectly.
I’m very happy with how this one worked out and I consider it one of my best for this year…
This is Swoon’s sixth film made with a text by Marleen de Crée.
Belgian poet Runa Svetlikova‘s collection, Deze zachte witte kamer, has just won the 2015 Herman de Coninck Debut Prize. Here’s a film Swoon (Marc Neys) made a few months ago with help from the Spanish filmmaker Eduardo Yagüe. (Be sure to watch on a laptop or desktop computer and expand to full screen so the English subtitles are legible.) Marc described their process in a blog post:
Early this summer Runa Svetlikova asked me if I would be interested in creating a video for some poems from her debut ‘Deze zachte witte kamer’ (Uitgeverij Marmer, 2014)
“The beating heart of that new collection is a series of six poems that would fit perfectly in one video”
She was right.
The collection appears to consist of no more than a handful of atoms that randomly traverse space. Against that cosmic and sometimes comical background Runa explores the alienation she feels at the birth of a child, the difficult maintenance of a love without knowing whether there is such a thing as love, the urge to give a voice to a dead father… Yet the poems do tell a story. Especially the middle six; Vogeltje / Birdie – Verzorging / Care – Habitat / Habitat – Classificatie / Classification – Conceptie / Conception – Draagtijd / Gestation.
For this project I asked the help of Eduardo Yague. I felt these poems could use the visual approach of Eduardo. We mailed back and forth on a concept. On what kind of images to use, on colours, a vision. I was lucky he said yes.
I created a track with a reading from Runa;
[listen on SoundCloud]
I gave the recording to Eduardo along with a fantastic translation by Willem Groenewegen.
During a stay in Stockholm he filmed different scenes and improvisations with an actress (Gabriella Roy) and sent me the footage. I asked more or suggested different stuff.
In a final stage I chose and edited the different piece of footage to the track. I am very happy the way this turned out. Working with Eduardo was rewarding and there might follow more…
This easily would’ve qualified for inclusion in my list of Top Ten Multi-Poem Films and Videopoems, had I not already included two other Swoon films. It’s interesting to see how differently he approaches the challenge of melding multiple poems into a single work for each project.
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.