The biannual ZEBRA Poetry Film Festival in Berlin has established itself as an international forum for a new genre of short films that deal with the content, aesthetic or forms of poems. The coordinator of the festival Christiane Lange spoke with Romain Maitra about the ways of getting poetry back into peoples' quotidian lives:
How is the genre of poetry-film evolving in Germany and in other parts of the world when poetry is significantly losing its importance in the overall global readership?
Although poetry books are losing more and more their readership, they are less and less sold, and publishing houses do not publish them any more, there is the doubt whether the book is the right medium to bring poetry to the people. In ancient times, poetry was spoken and sung. The word 'lyric' comes from the Greek instrument, the lyra. Poetry has never really lost these connections to the other arts. In every time artists were interested in working with poems. We are convinced that poetry has to be read, but also to be listened to. The voice (of the author), the breath of the speaker is rhythm, music and images in the head of all those who read and listen and recite it, set them into music, into dance or into film.
These very old and very young 'bridges' between poetry and the other arts mark the future of poetry itself apart from the book. And the films we receive from all over the world affirm this and although the 'poetry-film' is a young genre in cinema, there is a lot of interest. Go to www.lyriklien.org to hear and read more than 700 poets in the original and in translation.
The scope for distributing 'poetry-films', as a genre, is very limited. How has this problem being dealt with by Literaturwerkstatt Berlin?
To bring 'poetry-film' in discussion and to an audience in Germany and worldwide we started the ZEBRA Poetry Film Festival in 2002. It is a biannual festival. For the 2010 edition we have got about 1,000 films from about 70 countries. And the festival in Berlin developed towards a vivid international meeting point for filmmakers and poets, for artists and journalists, with debates and a lot of exchange. Often we get the chance to present the films outside Berlin or Germany, or get invited by poetry festivals or institutions like the Goethe-Institute.
It is a seminal problem to treat, in cinematic terms, the significant adjectives or metaphors found in poetry. How can a creative filmmaker deal with this issue?
There are several criteria. It has to be a good film and a good poem and together there should be something new. A good poetry-film is neither an illustration of a poem, nor a poetic film, a documentary, a portrait of a poet. A poetry-film is an approach between two art forms and a filmmaker translates his understanding of a poem into his way of expression. Ideally, something new emerges out of that combination.
Or a poet tries to overcome boundaries of words and that has happened already in concrete and visual poetry. With poetry-film, a new genre has appeared that offers new artistic possibilities. And to deal with the metaphorical in poetry, a poetry-film should embrace the challenge to provide a kind of answer from another
FONTE: Times da Índia
Read more: 'Poetry has to be read, but also to be listened to' - The Times of India