~ Poet: Peter Verhelst ~

Witte Vlag/White Flag by Pat van Boeckel and Pieter van de Pol with Peter Verhelst

Belgian poet Peter Verhelst is the author of the four lines of poetry recited in the film, but I had to include the filmmakers in the title as well because their symbolic, Tarkovsky-influenced style is at least as central to the poetry of the film. Pat van Boeckel is a regular at Moving Poems, and many of his best films spring from other artists’ projects or exhibitions, as this one did. His fellow Dutch artist Pieter van de Pol, who’s the actor in the film, I think, is involved in something called the White Flag Art Project based in Essen, Germany and coordinated by artist Katharina Lökenhoff: “An international art project exploring the white flag meeting global contemporary challenges.” Peter Broderick composed the music.

As an older white male poet myself, watching this led me to ponder the relationship between the Romantic ideal of a heroic lone creator with the larger capitalist culture, its production of ruin in the course of a consumerist atomization of society, and how the apocalypses we conjure in our imaginations have their own daimonic power. None of these lessons are necessarily implicit in the film; I bring them up merely as a way of saying how thought-provoking I find this contemplative style of poetry filmmaking.