13 August 2010

Sketch: Poetry in Motion

I made this as a shakeout trip to prepare for the Poetry in Motion event. I wanted to explore for myself what a nonlinear, non-narrative film might look like. I audited a remarkable course with Stan Brakhage a while back, and I've looked at a lot of avant garde cinema. But, just as reading novels isn't much of a qualification for writing one, I discovered that looking at those films was not much help. The range of vocabulary and emotion is good; you know what can be done, but when wrestling with the problem itself, it's not much use.

So, how do you write a poem with a camera? I figured I wanted to put some strong images together, in a sequence and see what underlying meaning you could make out of them.

The danger, here, is to fall into the cheap surrealism of music videos.

I don't think this succeeds either on its own terms or in a broader sense, but there's something there that I'd like to dig into. If one could sustain a longer series of dream images that would add up to a more complete experience, that would be worth conjuring with.

Sasha, who's the woman in the river, was incredibly brave. The water in the river is fed by glaciers and is shockingly cold even in late summer. It's always astonishing and moving how people are willing to help.

And, naturally, nearly everyone who looks at it tries to construct a narrative or a story -- we seem compelled to, and uneasy when we can't.

Anyway, not a bad weekend's work.

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