A voyage round my room # 2

4 April 2020

The painting in the background is going through that early ‘difficult phase’ (that phase has lasted rather a long time, come to think of it). It’s based around two sequences from the Antonioni film, ‘The Passenger’.
An early ‘conversation’ sequence that compresses time in a uniquely filmic way: https://youtu.be/dHlml_NAsFI
…and a very long, mesmerising, tracking shot near the end; basically the death of the central character.
https://youtu.be/ke2CFuLQ6t8 My interest is not so much in the narrative of the film (basically it’s about the mid-life crisis of a middle-aged man who’s lost his way … how could I possibly empathise with THAT? :-), but the film’s ability to embody, stretch and compress time, and in exploring how a painting might approach something similar. In as much as it is one form of art seeking to embody or describe another, it’s (kind of) an example of Ekphrasis. The objects in front are the early stages of painted objects based on bits of packaging and old sewing machine parts

3 thoughts on “A voyage round my room # 2

  • This is amazing Jeff, thanks for the links and for introducing the term Ekphrasis.
    Funny how time is totally “bent” in film rules here. Probably audiences in the 70s realised that much more what Antonioni was doing than nowadays audiences. Today, people get stunned by Nolan’s films!
    The penultimate scene reminds me a lot of “I am Cuba” – one of the best films I’ve ever seen: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eOLVm_9UcRw

  • Thanks: also for telling me about ‘Soy Cuba’: I watched the clip of the astonishing opening shot.
    I think there is a kind of ‘Olympics’ of tracking shots: seeing how long and how far and through how many different kinds of space the director can take the camera. You end up watching it like a athletic performance, all notions of realism abandoned.
    Not really in the same league as yours, but I’m still awed by the Dunkirk beach scene in ‘Atonement’ https://youtu.be/mXTnRdMdZXA
    Darn it; I’ve slid back into war and catastrophe imagery again.

  • Indeed, what a scene – 5 min of amazing camera work.
    If you manage to get hold of “Soy Cuba” – the dvd on how the film was made is fantastic.


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