I am really pleased to announce that my new short film, "Sur les Fleurs la Nuit" will premiere at the 34th Festival of Instants Video on the 11th of November
This video was born from a text I had written aged 18 with the idea to initially present it as a two-person play. At the time I had dreamt of having my own tender Vladimir and Estragon duo, in a folly of darkness and surrounded by endless bouquets of flowers. I had written the text in a feverish state of excitement, and sent it as an email to Sam, who at the time was living in Canterbury. He replied later on that same night with "This is really good!!!" and that was enough to fulfil me and have me move on to other things for some 10 years, before I picked it up again last year. While I have not completely ruled out the theatre idea, I moved on to translating the text to French and adapting it as a monologue to accompany a montage of flowers I had shot in the last two years in Malta and France.
The original text was initiated by my night-time walks back home in Marsaskala. The neighbour had a jasmine bush whose perfume would always successfully interrupt my thoughts or mood after whatever activity I was engaged in (whether an exciting or a boring one). The scent served as a form of sensory checkpoint that affirmed my existence at that very moment. I can not help but compare this feeling to falling in love, when one’s thoughts are constantly consumed by an impenetrable feeling of presence, so it was natural for me to articulate my feeling at the scent of the jasmine bush in the same way I articulate the feeling of love: as one laced with equal parts affection and eroticism.
All flowers at night are nothing short of intense or beautiful, and in my attempt to capture them in low-light conditions I am visually isolating them from their surroundings to demand attention from the viewers and remind them of the attractive force and strong effect these flowers have on all living creatures. As Iris Murdoch once said, “People from a planet without flowers would think we must be mad with joy the whole time to have such things around us.”
some stills from "Sur les Fleurs la Nuit" 2021
Make haste, make haste! I could not care less for good introductions, no need, no need! I must write the reportage for this dream down before its memory drains out from me, as is wont with most dreams when met with the dictating auto-compiled schedule of the day, which is more ruthless (yet certainly more rewarding) than any 9-to-5 work plan can ever be. So here we go, and in case it was not clear, I am not even sorry for the effortless introduction as I know it will all be merited once I finish this.
In my dream my uncle invited me to join him on a space mission as I was the only one in the family without commitments to a “real job” and therefore I could afford to go to space. The last time my uncle and I had spoken was on my birthday, when he wished me a day “devoted to what you love doing- living”. Perhaps it was this devotion he mentioned, matched with my more-than-usual flexible state, thanks to covid, that made me a good space candidate. I was thrilled at this opportunity, although at the time of the dream the excitement was more akin to a fun road trip rather than a space mission. As my excitement grew I realised that I might have not had enough preparation for this mission, but with everyone around me bearing so much trust in me, I felt in the good hands of fate. The mission was- we would go to space, my uncle and I, and then return soon after. It was straightforward enough. As time neared, I realised that I was growing concerned about one particular aspect of the trip, which was the return. Would it be hard, I wondered? Would the crash be difficult, even dangerous? Would I need to dedicate a long time to recovery from the PTSD that comes with crashing back to planet earth?
In my wakened state I laughed at the reason for my space mission and it made most members of my family laugh too. I kept thinking about the anxiety I had felt at returning to earth, and I linked this fear to birth-both for a mother and for the child. Birth too is a necessity to the mission of life that requires devotion and flexibility from both candidates, yet it is never an easy feat for either. I then thought about the movie we had watched the night before; Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s “Uncle Boonmee who can recall his past lives,” a magical movie with a cave sequence as moving as the one I saw not long ago, from Herzog’s immense documentary poorly named “Cave of forgotten dreams.” In Weerasethakul's cave sequence, the dying man being guided through the cave by the ghost of his deceased wife, calls the cave a uterus and likens it to a distant memory he had in which he did not remember whether he was animal or human, woman or man. As I stem all these thoughts from my dream, it becomes more honest, unlike the usual trashy nightmares I have of having my belongings strewn everywhere and having to pick them all up and pack them before my departure is due. I suppose my writing it all here, and sharing the sequence from "Uncle Boonmee" is a good example of my stubborn enthusiasm to show what I've seen and experienced to an audience that didn't necessarily ask for it. This sums up my image-riddled, story-weighted work and ideas.
From which, emerges the most flaming new ("ġdid fjamant") idea of them all (this is a lie- I have been thinking about it since my visit to the Cosmonaut Museum in Moscow two years ago, but I've only had the headspace to let it ferment as of late) which is a script that indulges completely in equal parts cave and space travel (read, space return).
images I wish I'd made....stills from the cave sequence in "Uncle Boonmee who can recall his past lives."
The excitement never ceases.