Filmmakers Jonathan May & Liza Boston create audio-visual homage to abandoned arctic town
INSPIRED BY JOEP BEVING’S MUSIC, FILMMAKERS JONATHAN MAY & LIZA BOSTON OF WOLF TIDE FILMS CREATE AUDIO-VISUAL HOMAGE TO ABANDONED ARCTIC TOWN
SAUDADE PAINTS NOSTALGIC PORTRAIT OF FORMER SOVIET MINING COMMUNITY IN THE ABANDONED TOWN OF PYRAMIDEN
DUTCH PIANIST AND COMPOSER’S “SAUDADE DA GAIA” IS AN ESSENTIAL ELEMENT IN THIS NEW TOTAL ARTWORK
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Joep Beving has sparked another intriguing response from an unconventional filmmaker. Having previously inspired Dutch directors Michaël I. Sewandono and Floris Schönfeld, and Indian filmmaker Supreet Cheetah, Beving’s music has now become an integral part of Australian photographer and director Jonathan May and writer Liza Boston’s latest short film, Saudade. Set for international release on July 30 2020, the film transports us to what remains of the mining settlement Pyramiden, a former Soviet enclave on the Norwegian island of Spitsbergen. It unfolds to Beving’s intense “Saudade da Gaia” from Henosis, the final chapter in the acclaimed composer’s award-winning Deutsche Grammophon album trilogy.
Watch Saudade HERE
The film contrasts the power of the natural world with the fragility of human life. It opens with the sights and sounds of an icy landscape from which the first notes of “Saudade da Gaia” rise to merge with the prose written by filmmaker May’s creative partner Liza Boston. Thereafter visuals, words and music become inseparable, working together in perfect synergy to convey the echoes of love and loss, hope and despair that swirl around this Arctic ghost town. “Inside the whiteness of the snow we laughed, we cried, we sang out loud, no beauty could escape us,” observes the narrator. “And then, in an instant, you are gone – our world collapsed.” A sombre granite statue of Lenin surveys the scene of post-industrial decay. The camera captures shots of an empty classroom, a child’s drawing, family photographs and pot plants left behind in the rush to leave.
May and Boston, co-founders of Australia’s Wolf Tide Films, travelled to Pyramiden together. Before setting off, May had downloaded Joep Beving’s Deutsche Grammophon trilogy – Solipsism, Prehension and Henosis – and they played the albums on repeat during their eight-day expedition to Spitsbergen. “There was perfect symbiosis between the beautiful yet haunting landscapes and Joep’s divine otherworldly music,” says May. “It was there that the idea for the film was born.” One song in particular spoke to both him and Boston, and the collaborative work that resulted from the trip encapsulates the meaning of the Portuguese word saudade: both “a melancholic yearning for that which has been loved and then lost” and “the love that remains”.
“I met Liza after a show in Melbourne at the beginning of March 2020,” recalls Beving. “She started telling me about this very remote abandoned place in the Arctic to which she and Jonathan had travelled. I was struck by her enthusiasm and knew right away this was one of those moments when you just have to trust your instincts. Later that night on the porch of our hotel, I saw the first footage of the film and it hit me hard. The images and the story of love and loss were so similar to the idea I had for the song. ‘Saudade da Gaia’ is about the longing humans will feel for the way we were once at one with the Earth, for its beauty and for more peaceful or innocent times. I am incredibly grateful to Jono and Liza for making this film and for involving us in it. I realise I am very fortunate that my music gets to travel and that it meets with different spirits and in some cases inspires new creative ideas, regardless of the location.”
Source Universal Music Canada
July 27, 2020 10:00am ET by Pressparty