~ Filmmaker: Marc Neys ~

Ein traum / A Dream by Sophie Reyer

A 2023 film by Marc Neys based on a poem by Austrian writer Sophie Reyer, with whom he has collaborated at least twice before. The choral voices in the soundtrack help mediate between the two sets of images in the video, either one of which could be seen as dream-like or nightmarish from the perspective of the other.

Video for ‘Ein Traum’ by Sophie Reyer
Concept, camera, editing & add. arrangement: Marc Neys
Words, voice, composition: Sophie Reyer
Choir: voicesandgraces
Conductor: Antonia kalechyts
Footage: Andrew Arthur Breese & Lodewijk Van Eeckhout
thanks: Mazwai

ein traum

den hageputten blättern
aus einem traum winkend:

rot zwischen kahlem
ader geäst. du hast

die vogel perspektive wieder
gefunden. sitzt in den

baum gerippen und erzählst
dir die welt: märchen in

wintergrau. laub.

a dream

waving to hibiscus leaves
from inside a dream:

red between bare
veins, branches. you’ve regained

the bird’s eye
view. sitting in the

tree’s frame and telling
yourself about the world: fairytales in

winter’s grey. foliage.

Moment by Matt Dennison

A new film by Marc Neys, with music of his own composition, for the poem ‘Moment’ by Matt Dennison. Marc used the U.S. Army’s footage of an atomic bomb test, leaning into the distressed quality of the film stock digitized by the Prelinger Archive.

Childhood’s End by Howie Good

I LOVE this new videopoem! Belgian artist-composer Marc Neys (aka Swoon) is of course a Moving Poems regular, as is retired journalism professor Howie Good — one of the most productive poets I know. The fit of images to words hits that sweet spot half-way between random and literal, and the font seems chosen for maximum contrast in feeling with the dark content of the text.

The video does double duty as a trailer for Good’s new collection, a chapbook/pamphlet from Laughing Ronin Press called Heart-Shaped Hole.

Mirror by Sylvia Plath

Belgian artist Marc Neys adapts Sylvia Plath’s Mirror for this videopoem from mid-2022. He narrates the poem from a Dutch translation by Lucienne Stassaert, giving the video the bilingual title Spiegel/Mirror. As with most of his other films, he composed the ambient music as well.

Regular readers of Moving Poems will know the work of Marc Neys very well from the large number of posts of his work over the past decade. This video from Plath’s poem appears in some ways to be an updated version of one he made in 2014.

Plath’s writing has been adapted for film by other artists here.

Verkeerd Verbonden / Wrong Number by Marc Neys

Verkeerd Verbonden / Wrong Number is an hypnotic, author-made videopoem from renowned Belgian artist, Marc Neys. In slow, hushed tones he narrates his poem in Dutch. The English is given as text-on-screen and visually designed around a divided trio of screen-compartments. These also contain abstract images in flickering motion, with transient glimpses of recognisable people and objects, the whole rendered in unusual and shifting colours.

Marc is a marvelous experimental film-maker and composer. The graphic rhythms of the English text on the screen, and the way they interact with the sound of the voice in Dutch – both contribute to the deep mood, as does his sophisticated ambient sound design. The language of the poem is pared back, with a mysterious allegorical quality. The dramatic simplicity of word and image is strangely moving.

and they whisper softly
stories that are not meant for me

This is a new film from Marc Neys, uploaded only two weeks ago. Moving Poems has featured well over 100 videopoems from him since 2011.

De Sluis / The Sluice by Marc Neys

As I said when I shared Eduardo Yagüe’s Oscura the other week, it’s always interesting to see a long-time poetry filmmaker stepping into the poet role himself. Especially one like Marc Neys (aka Swoon), whose style is in many ways closest to avant-garde videopoetry, where author-made films are the norm.

Poem, voice, music and film
Marc Neys

Text editor and translation
Willem Groenewegen

Footage right panel
David Samiran’s ‘Mems First Steps’, 2011

Flush by Luisa A. Igloria

This recent videopoem by Marc Neys may be one of my favorites of his to date, exploring each line of a text as one might explore a new beach on holiday, with several lovely and joyous surprises amid the contemplative flow. The text is from Night Willow, a 2012 collection of prose poetry by Fil-Am poet Luisa A. Igloria, who just concluded her second term as the Commonwealth of Virginia’s poet laureate. (The poem originally appeared at Via Negativa, a daily poetry blog that Luisa and I both contribute to.)

This is, by my count, Marc’s sixth film with Luisa’s poetry, though I may be forgetting about one or two. Nor is Marc the only filmmaker to work with Luisa; here’s her page at Moving Poems. So many brilliant films there (plus two of mine).

Tattoo by Wallace Stevens

Belgian composer and artist Marc Neys (A.K.A. Swoon) is back making videopoems after a lengthy hiatus, with a new website for all his output. For a sense of just how prolific he used to be, and how central his lyrical, idiosyncratic approach to filmmaking has been to the development of contemporary poetry film, this recent adaptation of a Wallace Stevens poem appears to be the 159th video of his we’ve shared at Moving Poems. Here are the credits:

film, voice & music: Marc Neys
Footage: Jan Eerala
translation: Peter Nijmeijer


Přehlídka / A Parade by Jaromír Typlt

A new videopoem by Marc Neys in response to a text and reading by Czech poet Jaromír Typlt, translated for the English subtitles by David Vichnar. The footage is from Jan Eerala, and the music is Neys’ own. He quotes Typlt in the Vimeo description:

The central image of the poem is the “postcard rack”, but the second meaning is now also the meaning of corona-restrictions of the international movements: I wrote the poem in my Paris isolation (confinement).

Typlt added this in a blog post (adapted from a Google translation):

There are two dangers to “filmed poems”: either they illustrate the text too literally with a picture, or they are so loose that they are interchangeable with anything else. And that is why for me SWOON (Marc Neys), a video artist from Belgium, is such a remarkable phenomenon: he can open a space free enough for the text, and at the same time close-fitting. […] The film A Parade is our third collaboration after In the Sign (2013) and Instincteia (2014). This time the voice recording was not made in the studio, but in makeshift conditions at the same window in Paris where the whole strange vision was born on April 10, 2020…

Bees in the Eaves by Bill Yarrow (2)

In 2014, Belgian film-maker, Marc Neys (aka Swoon), made a video of Bill Yarrow‘s poem, Bees in the Eaves. Five years later, Marc has just released a new video for the same poem, with new images and music.

Watching the two very different treatments of the same text suggests the changes in sensibility an artist may undergo over time. Even the voice performance, from the same recording by Nic S., has a distinctly varied aural quality, pace and mood in this new version.

The disturbing images in the 2014 video display a directly metaphorical relation to ideas in the poem. In a way akin to the horror genre, the earlier film evokes a strongly emotional response.

In this latest video, the connection between image and word is much more oblique, creating a more contemplative, yet still dynamic, meaning of the poem. While both videos employ repetition to great effect, the 2019 version is more graceful in its approach to film form.

Marc’s striking approach to editing, and his surprising rhythms, remain evident in both videos. This new video is further testament to his unique and masterful work in video poetry.

Stone Life by Lucy English

Words and voice are by Lucy English; film, grading, editing and music by Marc Neys AKA Swoon — his most recent contribution to The Book of Hours project. It features orphaned home movie footage from IICADOM (The International Institute for the Conservation, Archiving and Distribution of Other People’s Memories).

Fairytale Romance & Fear of Monsters by R.A. Briggs

A new videopoem by Marc Neys A.K.A. Swoon uses text and voiceover from the American poet and philosopher R.A. Briggs. Other credits include:

Concept, editing, grading & Music: Marc Neys
Field recordings and footage: Jan Eerala
Extra Footage: FKY (from ‘The Sea Also Rises’)
webpage: vimeo.com/fky – Licence: ATTRIBUTION LICENSE 3.0
Thanks to Mazwai & Ray Hsu