Last week, I attended a short-film event put on by James Devereaux for his Drifting Clouds Cinema Group. We had orginally talked about Lunar Rising playing an acoustic set at the event but unfortunately the bar hosting it doesn’t yet have a live music license.
Anyway, the event hosted a film-making trio that go by the name of (An)Other Irish Cinema. As I have talked about before, for the fringe arts to survive it is necessary to collaborate and combine numbers and strength, and this formed the basis of the trio getting together. In their own words: ”(Donal) Foreman, (Rouzbeh) Rashidi and (Maximilian) Le Cain formed as a platform for joint screenings, to showcase their work and, in so doing, to propose the possibility of an/other filmmaking culture in Ireland”
I am no film critic and do not pretend to have any knowledge about film, the proceses used or issues that film-makers care about. I do, however, like film. All the way from cheesy blockbusters to the deeply strange. Each film interests me in a different way and offers something, from gaining a few cheap laughs to something really profoundly effecting me. So, yeah, this isnt meant as a film review (I probably wont even mention film titles) but it is an explanation of what I took from the films in light of my interest in combining and gaining influence from seemingly unrelated walks of life.
From what James had told me, I was aware that the films being shown were avant garde. I’m not a fan of art that is elitist, or art that is so abstract you need a degree in art history to understand it so it may come as a bit of a surprise that I really enjoyed what was on show. As the trio of film-makers hinted in a ‘question-and-answer’ session afterward, the films weren’t designed to wrap up an idea in such a deep cloak of mystery that it will never be understood. Indeed, there may be nothing to actually understand. The works were based around the moment in which they were filmed and took influence from everything going on at the time of filming/editing. You could even say that the films are a film version of Jazz…. What results is a feast for the senses; The films effected me visually, and most crucially to me, aurally. The mix of these two mediums in the way presented, rather than being a narrative as such created an atmosphere that immersed me in something I had never experiecned before and also got my grey cells working. The great thing about such film is that every one takes you on a journey you have never expereicend before. In contrast, love stories etc take you on the same journey over and over again (which I think has it’s rightful place).
As some of you will know, the main focus of my musical interest is atmopshere. With Lunar Rising, very much like my bandmates I think, I aim my input to work towards an all-encompassing experience that will hold you for a duration of time and tell you a story without actually telling you anything; A sense of journey in emotion and immersive sound. Whether or not I ever achieve this is down to the listener of course! The lyrics do add a tale but combined with the ambiguity of the musical journey, I find the desired effect is intensified. With Henry Spencer Project, I aim to create a more physical atmosphere that picks up the listener in rhythmic movement. With the audio/visual project I am undertaking with Lesley Flower, we aim to make each aspect (audio and visual) mutually bolster the other to create an atmosphere that is intensified by their partnership.
It therefore follows that the main interest I took away from seeing these short-films are the atmospheres they created, how they did this plus how I might translate such ideas using the tools and knowledge available into my own work.
The use of space was very interesting. Open spaces were used but sounds were intense and right in your face. Visions of natural surroundings were used with heightened, intensified natural sounds. The distortion of sounds lent fairly normal images more depth and an altered sense of perception. Emotive sounds were used that worked in tandem with or against various images. Lots of contrast and lots harmony in so many different ways. Maybe I can use ‘normal’ sounds and songs but use anything I like to contrast or harmonise them aesthetically or theoretically with sound and/or image (or using any other of the senses for that matter…).
Also, I have been developing an interest in the sounds around us in our every day lives and how I can merge these to create something that is even more personal to me than the music I write/sounds I create. To my mind it follows that combining my instrumental self-expression with sounds that I am personally immersed in intensifies my own stamp. Therefore, the use of everday sounds (or ‘found sounds’) in the work of the films I saw really stood out and, for me, really made the experience complete in a practical sense once combined with my aforementioned thoughts.
Please do take the time to check out the film-maker’s and group’s links at the beginning of the article. Keep an open mind and expect something more than a film; indeed something very different. You wont regret it! If you are unfamiliar with my work then it would be great if you found time to check out the links to Lunar Rising and Henry Spencer Project. As always, I really am very grateful for any kind of feedback you can offer at all!