Sunday, December 20, 2009

poetry : film

in the last post i said that movies are better than drugs, and sometimes better than sex. both are true. but better than those, better than movies even, at least for me, is poetry. i'm stumped in coming up with either a metaphor or simile in describing the awesomeness of verse. i'm serious. texts are like the movies if the cinema were more like hits of sex and lsd. and more so. the word made flesh indeed.

but we live in the digital age. poets are becoming filmmakers too. not that poets are running to hollywood, tho i'm sure there are a few screenwriters who also pen verse, and poets who have written the odd screenplay. i'm talking about cinema worked as if it were a piece of text. nothing new about this i suppose, brakhage was influenced by poetry and poets and worked his film like an experimental writer -- e.g. jackson mac low comes to mind.

however, digital technology, computers and software makes it possible anyone interested in making films to become a practicing movie-maker. the most recent example in commercial cinema is oren peli who took about 15 grand, 4 people, and his own house and created the terrific horror movie with what is probably one of the lamest titles ever paranormal activity.

even cheaper i would imagine to produce in terms of money is the work of french poet pierre alferi. now i'm no expert in alferi at all and have seen only the couple of his films available via the web. what i dig about alferi is how he takes already extant cinema, what i imagine is a kind of sampling with images, writes his texts as a quasi-narrative and heightens the emotional content with variety scores. i'm not sure if he does his own editing but i suspect he does, after all editing movies is like revision in texts.

there are poets who are doing things like what alferi is doing. linh dinh comes to mind. and nicholas manning's video poetics journal the continental review also features outstanding work. at any rate, i'm brand new to alferi's work so this ain't at all even a gloss on the poet's work. i am simply impressed with what the french poet has achieved with his filmmaking/writing.

below is a little clip of alferi presenting a film about lon chaney. alferi provides a kind of translation, and hence the presentation becomes a poetry reading. it is cut short but still a decent example of what alferi is up to.


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