Poetry & Film: statement by Paul Bogaert
Poetry Film City is in danger. To avoid it becoming a poster-like island that is overgrown with kitsch, a warehouse of beautiful animations or a hell of text illustrations, I think more poets should visit the City. To occupy a street or two, to copulate with film makers and sound experts, to enjoy a holiday or just to inspect the place of abuse.
Looking at a poetry film, I want to experience that it must have been made. ‘It’s Being a film based on a poem’ is not enough reason to make a poetry film. I also want to have the illusion that no other choices or combinations could have been possible.
Using a good poem (a poem that survives when separated from the film) is a condition, but not a guarantee for a good poetry film. The visible or audible presence of a poem can easily hide the fact that there is no poetry in the poetry film. A good poetry film doesn’t only contain a poem, it doesn’t only facilitate interaction between text, image and sound, but it also has ‘poetic’ qualities as a whole. A good poetry film is a film that I want to see again. And again.
An excellent poetry film is ‘YOU AND ME’ (2009) by Karsten Krause. A timeline made of love and four decades of footage. ‘Bourgeois show off’ meets ‘erotic slavery’. The lovebird lines and rhymes we hear are only a few times in sync with what’s (not) said. Nostalgia (toxic in its pure form) is countered by a cruel ‘fast forward’. The moving mix of images, playful-polite lines and subtle soundtrack appear to be the fuel for a death reminder.
Paul Bogaert (born 1968, Belgium), poet: “Most poetry films are based on or inspired by an existing poem. I think that doing it in the reverse way can yield good results too. I like writing the text and making the film simultaneously. It’s a complex thing to do, but it questions my normal process and it stretches the margins of my work.”
“Poetry film makers certainly have to consider the language problem. Can the poetry survive the screening when the used language is (too) foreign to the movie watcher? Subtitles are not always a solution and translations can be bad, or too difficult in a bridge-language (often English).”
You can listen to Paul Bogaert‘s poetry on lyrikline.org.