Tuesday, 1 May 2012


More birds in my life. This one came to me in a video. A short film by Johannes Nyholm. It's been viewed almost five million times on You Tube, so I'm clearly not the first to fall under its spell. (It premiered in Cannes in 2009.)

The music is by Little Dragon, and it is heartbreaking enough to listen to on its own. Coupled with this video, I believe it could break through to the most heavily armored soul. It is haunting, beautiful, powerful. Watch it before you read the director's statement, which I've posted below.

Aside from reminding us of the fragility of our gifts and of the importance of giving, it is a lesson in how great art can sometimes look so damned simple but can be so difficult to achieve (for me, even bad art is a challenge to produce!! Funny how that happens!). I hope it breaks through for you, too.

The idea behind the film was to tell a story that was a mix between dream and reality. For the first time in my life, I guess, I wanted to create something that actually looked beautiful. The form should be so fragile that you get the sense that it could dissolve any second, like a dissipating cloud. I wanted to encompass a whole life in just a couple of minutes. Love, break up, death and grief. A melodrama without any irony.

It is not a typical film, but rather a filmed theatrical play, a shadow puppet theater. An important principle throughout the production was to do everything the old analogue way, not in postproduction with digital techniques. Every shot was rehearsed multiple times. Then shot, live, with numerable puppet players controlling the figures and elements. Sometimes we were 15 people controlling different small elements of the scene simultaneously; one controlling the little bird, another the girl, four people controlling the wind, yet six controlling the fires all over the image. Some shots were so difficult and complex that we had to reshoot up to 200 times. 


1 comment:

  1. I had never heard of this film before now. Beautiful, indeed. Thank you for pointing me at it.