~ Filmmaker: Nicolas Leither ~

Envy of Other People’s Poems by Robert Hass

This is The Sirens Couldn’t Sing, produced and directed by Nicolas Leither. Leither’s notes on Vimeo are fascinating:

Shot at Inglenook Vineyards in the Napa Valley, this film features a Mutoscope, an early motion picture device (1895-1909) with a series of rotating photographs, like a flip book. Mutoscopes quickly became scandalous as developers used them for peep shows (“penny-in-the-slot peep shows”) featuring naked or nearly naked women.

Watching a Mutoscope film is intimate, eerie, and interactive (you have to crank the handle yourself). I found an important metaphor about silence, sexuality, and the oppression of women between the Mutoscope experience in the film and Robert Hass’s enchanting meta-poem, which I had the pleasure of hearing him read at the Studio One Reading Series in Oakland (2010).