~ Filmmaker: Jane Glennie ~

Gethsemane by Toby Martinez de las Rivas

Gethsemane is one in an ongoing series of films from Jane Glennie, made in collaboration with fellow UK poet Toby Martinez de las Rivas, and Bulgarian sound artist Neda Milenova Mirova. This poem is from the collection Floodmeadow, published earlier in 2023 by Faber.

All films in the series take an experimental approach, including layered and truncated voices, gritty sound and music, and still images animated in darkly expressive ways. The three collaborators seem artistically well-matched, the writing, sound and film-making coherently meeting. Another highlight from the series is Psalm-for-the Sea, Little Sea-Psalm.

Jane Glennie currently has a solo exhibition happening over August and September in the Art at the ARB program of University of Cambridge. Gethsemane and the other films in the series form part of the exhibition, along with her award-winning Because Goddess is Never Enough.

We have previously featured several other of her films here. In addition, Jane regularly posts about film festivals and more at Moving Poems Magazine.

Life Sentence by Sissy Doutsiou

Moving Poems‘ own Jane Glennie, an award-winning film-maker in the UK, teams up with Greek poet and performer Sissy Doutsiou for this urgent, angry protest video titled Life Sentence.

The music by Rolvd is a key part of the piece, which in some ways resembles music video. Recording, mixing and mastering are credited to Incognito M and Pipeline Music Lab. Doutsiou’s spoken-word performance of the text is powerful in the mix.

Jane Glennie brings her signature kinetic animation style to the video. Well-chosen images and visual textures flicker in a rapid stream, meeting well with the voice and music.

Aside from her writing and performance work, Sissy Doutsiou has over the past decade been director of the International Video Poetry Festival in Athens, and editor of the more recent Film Poetry website.

Because Goddess is Never Enough by Rosie Garland

Because Goddess is Never Enough draws its inspiration from the life of Austrian-born dancer, choreographer, actor and painter, Tilly Losch (1903-1975). The film is a collaboration between film-maker Jane Glennie and writer/performer Rosie Garland, both award-winning artists in the UK. The subject is the representation of women artists in history, especially the ways their stories have been footnoted in relation to famous men. One of the film’s lines about Tilly’s place in history: “blink and you’ll miss her”.

From the web page for the film:

Tilly Losch was an Austrian dancer who worked with prominent, and cutting-edge, choreographers and artists in the UK and the US, from the West End to Hollywood. She was also a choreographer in her own right, who later turned to painting.

Through moving images and poetry Glennie and Garland investigate the elusive and fragmentary nature of Tilly’s life, evoking the spirit of the 1920s–40s when she was at the peak of her fame.

The film is about self-worth, the authentic self, and the credibility of creative women – Losch was someone who was at times exploited yet determined to maintain a path of her own making despite the obstacles that were very much present in her era… highlighting how far women have come in 90 years, and yet how far they still have to go to get recognition and true independence.

Jane Glennie’s film-making most often involves rapid animation of still images, creating a highly dynamic sense of cinematic motion. At ten minutes duration, this is her most ambitious film to date, involving thousands of her own photographs, meticulously layered with contrasting rhythms that underscore voice and text.

Rosie Garland’s expressive narration of her own poem is highly effective. Her voice alternates with that of Alison Glennie, equally as effective in the first-person sections that evoke Tilly speaking for herself. The overall soundtrack is mainly just the two voices accompanied by textural sound effects. This minimal approach proves an excellent stylistic choice.

All the different elements of the film combine organically and assuredly, suggesting a great collaboration between the artists involved. Because Goddess is Never Enough is a unique evocation of one woman’s creative life and by extension the lives of so many creative women throughout time.

Deadlock by Lauren Jones

Deadlock is about an old English street: Daniel Street in Portsmouth. The text by Lauren Jones, and the film by Jane Glennie, evoke an important moment in its everyday history around 1820. The following quotes are from the artist notes.

“In the looming shadow of prison hulks docked in the harbour, Jeremiah and Charles Chubb worked on this site primarily as ironmongers providing naval equipment. Frequent crimes, including daring robberies of the dockyard warehouses and escapes from the hulks led to a competition being launched for an ‘unpickable lock’. The Chubb brothers accepted the challenge and created the now familiar Chubb lock still used to this day.”

But the success of the Chubb enterprise created a shadow legacy.

“…for those on the other side of the lock, the invention was a devastating barrier that put an end to those who relied on petty crime for survival, to those who were facing long, punishing sentences on the ships and even those women who were confined to the nearby Lock Hospital.”

The bold phrases of the text, and the spirited voice over, are well met by an animated ‘flicker film’ stream of images. Evocative stills rapidly pass through the eye in a way that feels dramatic and textural. The collaboration between the artists recalls to vivid imagination the local history and its impact.

Deadlock is one in a collection of films commissioned to be the online media component of ‘Dark Side Port Side‘ (2019), a walking tour set in Portsmouth.

“…the street has long since vanished in the name of progress and is now the location of Admiralty Road with its own soaring, modern accommodation. Evidence of the concern of security is still visible… behind keypads, passcodes and security men.”

Letter by Doyali Islam

Filmmaker: Amrita Singh

Filmmaker: Laurice Oliveira

Filmmaker: Jane Glennie

A poem from Canadian poet Doyali Islam‘s second collection, heft, gets three different film interpretations, thanks to the wondrous Visible Poetry Project, which released these on April 12. I’ll take the liberty of lifting their bios for each of the filmmakers (though Jane Glennie is probably already familiar to many Moving Poems readers):

Amrita Singh is a writer/director born in Chennai and raised in Chicago. She’s currently attending NYU Tisch’s Graduate Film Program and developing her thesis film about a ruthless spelling bee wunderkind and her immigrant family.

Born in Brazil, Laurice Oliveira bravely moved to NYC with the ambitious hope of becoming a filmmaker. In her long journey to The Big Apple, Laurice met the unseen people and listened to unheard voices. From people of the poorest Brazilian slums to abused immigrant workers in the US, Laurice has made her goal to tell the stories of people that often do not have the privilege of being seen or heard by society.

Jane Glennie is an artist, filmmaker and typographic designer. Previous projects include an installation at The National Centre for the Written Word in the UK, and the publication of ‘A New Dictionary of Art’. Her videopoetry has been awarded a special mention at the Weimar Poetry Film Award in Germany and she was a finalist for Best Production One Minute or Under at Rabbit Heart Poetry Film Festival 2018. Poetry films have been selected for festivals in the UK, USA, France, Germany, Ireland and Singapore.

Coyote Wedding by Brittani Sonnenberg

A poem by Austin, Texas-based writer Brittani Sonnenberg adapted for the Visible Poetry Project by UK artist Jane Glennie. “A key technique in her films is to take hundreds of photographs, which are edited and sequenced into rapid ‘flicker films’ and combine them with composite soundtracks,” as Gklennie’s bio on the VPP website puts it.

Being & being empty by Jane Glennie

Here’s UK artist and typographer Jane Glennie‘s latest filmpoem, which she introduces on Vimeo as follows:

How to be a mother … who is this being that I am? Wanting to be half-full with the joy of play, a job well done, and the softness of a bed to sink into at the end. Feeling half-empty with a busy brain that won’t shut down and twitches into awakening too early. Feeling overwhelmed by the chores and feeling rubbish as a result because surely that’s really not important. Tossing and turning and struggling to make a zingy start to each new day.

It’s amazing how hard a skilled poetry filmmaker like Glennie can make 37 seconds work. The effect of an enervated, over-active brain is not merely communicated but, one feels, directly represented. Brava!

Channel Swimmer by Jane Glennie

This author-made videopoem by British artist Jane Glennie was recently featured at Atticus Review. It’s kind of high-concept, but I think it works. Here’s the description from AR and Vimeo:

Channel Swimmer is a short ‘flicker’ film that examines repetitive and ambivalent relationships in matriarchal cycles through the generations from mother to daughter to mother. The film is inspired by two novels – ‘A Proper Marriage’ by Doris Lessing and ‘National Velvet’ by Enid Bagnold, and their main characters. Martha Quest in ‘A Proper Marriage’ is having her own child and questions the relationship between herself and her mother. While Velvet Brown is quietly encouraged by her mother (who is the ‘Channel Swimmer’ of the title – as those who swim the English Channel to France are known) in ‘National Velvet’, the climax of which is when the protagonist wins the famous Grand National steeplechase. The words in the soundtrack are collaged from these two books. The film is made from hundreds of original photographs taken on location on a racecourse and in the studio.

Atticus Review, incidentally, unveiled a spiffy new site design a month or two back, and the editors are always looking for good mixed media submissions. Be sure to bookmark and check the site regularly.