~ The Poetry Movement ~

The Art of Poetry Film with Cheryl Gross: “Death And Co”

Death And Co
Poetry by Silvia Plath (“Death & Co.”)
Directed by David Lobser
Produced by Troublemakers.tv for The Poetry Movement, the Josephine Hart Poetry Foundation

Death And Co is so damn creepy and disturbing that it makes my skin crawl. I love it. The animation is awesome. I’m still trying to figure out how it was done. My guess is the artist(s) used Maya or Cinema 4D. The dark, atmospheric quality gives the viewer a feeling of being in a dreadful, unearthly place. Plath leads us into this strange and unsettling world where there’s no turning back. Like it or not, we must deal with living in her bitter reality.

Sylvia Plath’s prophecy offers us a disturbing glimpse into a place where suffering is the only feeling that exists. It’s both sad and enlightening, but unless you’re a lover of darkness and dystopian forecasting, this is a very hard place to sit and digest. It’s as if we were able to insert a camera into Plath’s mind and capture her nightmares. This video is successful in exposing just that.

Is Plath a soothsayer? Possibly. As we know, she suffered from depression and committed suicide at the age of 30. The Vimeo description of this poem states that she suffered from postpartum depression. I’m not a mental health clinician but upon reading a bit about her history, she had made several attempts at suicide. This leads me to believe she was bi-polar. However, at the end of the day Plath was and still is one of America’s greatest poets regardless of what demons haunted her. Perhaps without this infliction, or inspiration if you will, the world would have been robbed of a literary great.

I also would like to give credit to Troublemakers.tv. They did a fabulous job in capturing the unsettling genius Sylvia Plath is known and admired for.

High Windows by Philip Larkin

An animation of Larkin’s famous 1974 poem—knowing the date is key to understanding what now seems like a somewhat dated text. And yet this is the first of three films that the Paris-based studio Troublemakers.tv have produced so far for a futuristic poetry-film project called the Poetry Movement, whose creators appear to believe they’re breaking new ground:

The Poetry Movement is the ‘adolescent’ chapter within The Josephine Hart Poetry Foundation. It stands as the next logical step in terms of the way we consume verse and will grow and develop into a creative space that encapsulates the beauty of imagination and inventiveness. Within today’s technology lead landscape now sits a place in which timeless literature can be reborn and set free. The Poetry Movement is a radical and accessible platform for brilliance, creativity and vision.

Acting as if they’ve invented the genre is of course not unique; the folks at Motionpoems too are often guilty of that. But there is definitely something different about the three films produced for the Poetry Movement so far. Watch their adaptations of Plath’s “Death & Co.” and a section of “The Wasteland” and you’ll see what I mean. The idea I guess is to appeal to a generation raised on video games. “High Windows,” literal as it may be, at least does not make me laugh uncontrollably, and treats the poem with respect. Onur Senturk directed. The recitation is by Harold Pinter. (See Vimeo for the rest of the credits.)