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Genesis

Duyns, Cherry; Kanopy (Firm)
Format
Video; Streaming Video; Online
Summary
Dealing with the parallels and inter-relationships between all the arts, Genesis can be seen as a 'keynote' film in the Roland Collection. The film examines the making of works of art by the poet Ida Gerhardt, the painter Armando, the choreographer Hans Van Manen, the composer Reinbert de Leeuw and the sculptor Carel Visser. With enormous subtlety and dignity, the director intertwines the thematic threads that make up the fabric of her film. The poet's opening works speak of stones being taught to dance - and we see the choreographer guiding dancers through an extemporization as he evolves a new work. We see too the feet of the painter enacting an unconscious shuffle across the studio floor as his canvas progresses. On his tape recorder the painter plays jazz improvisations, while elsewhere a sculptor, improvising a piece from found objects and car parts, is whistling meditatively to himself. Meanwhile, a composer mulls over problems of tempo and melody, working toward a choral composition. Cutting between the parallel activities of its five creative protagonists, all of whom share in a kind of fellowship, though they never meet, the film gradually lingers longer on each artist, thus increasing the effect of surprise and revelation as each time we suddenly switch again to 'catch up' with the choral work, the painting, or the poem in progress, and are left in suspense over the delicate balancing act of the sculpture, or the tense development of the dance. Very discreetly the director allows the sound track from each sequence to carry over into the next, in which another artist is being shown, thus enhancing the sense of creative parallelism. The film is full of suggestive details. The creators' hands are a point of focus - the poet's with its pen, the painter's with brush or spatula, the composer's, directing with a conductor's baton, the sculptor's with a welding rod, the choreographer's with its perpetual cigarette. Metaphorical images relating to the creative process recur subtly through the film. The road - along which the poet walks and the sculptor cycles (and it is car parts he uses in his work) - suggests the journey of artistic creation. 'How can I get him over there?' agonizes the choreographer, considering the passage of a dancer across the stage. It is perhaps too literal to suggest that when we see the poet's road blocked with flooding water, a 'creative block' is being alluded to. But another recurrent image is certainly that of the bridge - the poet is seen standing on bridges; one dancer's body creates a bridge supporting another's; the sculptor's work itself is a kind of bridge; and when the painter (supported on the arches of his clogs) squeezes paint out on newspaper, it is on to a picture of a bridge or aqueduct. The symbolism of the film is not literal or heavy, but within the reflective silence of artistic activity which is conveyed so well, the potential creative charge of every aspect of the artists' environments is brought home to the viewer. Another issue which emerges is that of collaboration in the creative process. The choreographer and composer work respectively with dancers and vocalists, who are in some way the 'raw material' that they manipulate. The sculptor visits scrap merchants and blacksmiths, even abattoirs (and consults his faithful 'assistant', Moses, a bull terrier), yet he appears quite solitary. The poet and painter work in isolation. All these artists, however, are involved with interaction, at first with their chosen media, then with the wider world when their works are performed, published or exhibited. 'This quality program could be used in art classes or in community art programs as well as being enjoyed by individuals' program Rating Guide for Libraries, USA Credits Awards Golden Calf, Dutch Filmdays
Release Date
1988
Language
In English
Notes
  • Title from title frames.
  • In Process Record.
Published
[San Francisco, California, USA] : Kanopy Streaming, 2015.
Recording Info
Originally produced by The Roland Collection in 1988.
Publisher no.
1058768 Kanopy
Related Resources
Cover Image
Description
1 online resource (streaming video file)
Mode of access: World Wide Web.
Technical Details
  • Staff View

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