Film commissions

Dylan Thomas Short Film Commissions
Saturday 7 June and Sunday 8 June
12 noon – 12.30pm and 3.30pm – 3.50pm

NEW short films by artist filmmakers Emma Bolland, Alastair Cook, Hondartza Fraga, Gemma Green-Hope, Brian Lewis and Jean McEwan and Brian McEwan. Each of these films has been specially commissioned for the Laugharne Castle Poetry and Film Festival.

Alastair Cook: ‘How to be a Poet’

An article written by Dylan Thomas and published in Circus (London, 1950). “Dylan often wrote mischievous – mostly light – stuff to amuse friends. He wrote, of course, some of the best (domestic) poems about the Second World War, in particular the Blitz of London and our hometown, Swansea. [This text] is probably a mischievous parody on some of the War poems by the Thirties poets, Auden, Spender, MacNeice, and Day-Lewis. Dylan post-Second World War, because of the War, the Holocaust, and the use of the H-bomb, feared for the future of mankind. He planned a work with Stravinsky, but died before doing it, about the Earth after an apocalyptic war (only a young man and young woman would survive – the new Adam and Eve). So on a serious note. The mischievous poem is also connected to a deep fear for mankind in Dylan.” (Peter Thabit Jones)

Jean McEwan and Brian McEwan: ‘Light Breaks Where No Sun Shines’
‘Frieze of life, dance of death, to the drone of half forgotten images.’

Hondartza Fraga: ‘That Good Night’
“Do not go gentle into that good night,

Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.”
Each letter of Dylan Thomas’ poem “Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night” was assigned a piano key and performed by the artist. This extract contains the first three verses only. The performance of the full poem lasts ten minutes. The music is set against a nightscape where houses’ lights flicker in the distance, indifferent to the looming smoke that drifts above.

Gemma Green-Hope: ‘Swansea’
A journey through Swansea with reference to many of Dylan Thomas’s poems, using present day and archival photographs of the city. The scenes are overpainted with black ink and pencil drawing to show details both real and imaginary.

Brian Lewis: ‘East Wind’
‘East Wind’ was filmed in the East Riding of Yorkshire, on a strip of land six miles south of the coastal town of Hornsea. The film’s setting is bounded by a MOD training area to the north, a wind farm to the west, East Hill farm to the south, and the North Sea to the east. The title derives from the Dylan Thomas poem ‘Why east wind chills’; three lines in the film (spoken by Emma Bolland) are taken from another Thomas poem, ‘I make this in a warring absence.’

Emma Bolland: ‘Spells and Bone’
The title ‘Spells and Bone’ is a phrase taken from ‘How Shall My Animal’, a witchy, shape-shifting poem. The film struggles between chaotic and ordered abstract forms: a struggle towards something that is never quite attained, and whose near-attainment is inevitably wounding or wounded – a problematically sacrificial and melancholy resolution. Thomas’s poem is partly based on the Welsh legend of Ceridwen, an enchantress who possesses the cauldron of Poetic Inspiration, and the use of footage of a swollen weir, together with sounds, voices, footsteps and echoes reversed, slowed down, stretched and played around with, layered until they suggested a sort of sentient ocean, is intended to invoke a kind of ‘dangerous magic’.

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