Tuesday, 25 June 2013

River of Light

Paul Perry and I have put our forces together once before. That combination of his words and thoughts with my sounds and images seemed to hit the right chords here and there.
Drift (For two NATO soldiers who drowned in an attempt to recover supplies from a river in the province of Badghis, Western Afghanistan, November, 2009) was selected and screened for several festivals and even won first prize in this years 'La Parola Immaginata' (Jury details)

Time for a follow up. Paul gave me some of his poetry to choose from.

I picked out  River of Light
red, green and yellow neon
blur the highway
into a river of light

the intersection appears
like a mirage
smoke wafting from the policemen’s flares

call them mourning candles
three a.m.
surrounding the scene

the intersection
like a small island of sorrow
the car should not

be cut in half
so easily, so simply
but it is, there

we watch, dumb spectators,
held back
by yellow tape

as the police measure
confer and agree
the yellow plastic

covering the unnamed dead
flaps in the wind
like an ignominious flag

a warning, a reminder
flapping absurdly in rhythm
with the smashed blinker

 of the halved car,
again yellow
until the ambulance appears

and departs, easily, simply
the shattered glass swept away
the car removed

the tape taken
so that everything
looks as it did

an hour before
when we passed
on the other side

an unending kaleidoscope
a blurring, ever-moving
river of light

It's a poems (much like 'For two NATO soldiers...') that creeps up to you as an almost dry recapitulation of a daily newspaper article. And then it hits you, full force, in the stomach.
I needed very simple images. I wanted fragile, yet powerful. Light, yet disturbed. The same for the sounds.
Paul gave me a recording and I went to work on a suitable track;

While creating those soundsI got the idea of filming poppies. I knew of a small narrow strip full of them, in between two railroad lines. A flower that grows in the middle of concrete and iron. Strong yet fragile in the constant wind of trains. They worked perfectly.
Right at the end of the film I added images of reflections of an ambulance light and combined those with the sounds of heavy breathing.


Words & Voice: Paul Perry
Concept, Camera, Editing & Music: Swoon

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