a film by Antero Alli incorporating Rilke's "Requiem For a Friend"

Director's Project Journal
updated 12/6/05
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"Requiem for a Friend" (1991; video) Antero Alli

11/15/04. Fourteen years after producing the "Requiem For a Friend" video in Seattle, here I am in Berkeley returning to Rilke. It seems that this work is not finished with me. I am discovering a new empathy for the fate of established female artists torn between the potential fulfillment of procreation and the promise of achieved fruition in their Art.

12/06/04. I plan to re-stage "Requiem" as a performance (see STAGE SET and image above) and then, film it and incorporate the footage into my next feature length dv-film exploring Rilke's unbending conviction that certain female artists are not meant to bear children without grave consequence and that their very wombs are meant to serve as another vessel for creation: the "greater circulation" of artistic gestation. A compelling and controversial perspective. A few days ago, I received permission from my favorite Rilke translator Stephen Mitchell to proceed with this project. Preproduction research has already begun with auditions set for January. Actual production for "The Greater Circulation" will begin in mid-April and continue throughout May e of 2005. I plan to shoot in hi-rez digital video and high-speed super-8 film (also used in my 2003 feature, "Under a Shipwrecked Moon"). Post-production and editing will probably be slated for the summer months.

12/07/04. I am looking for actors to portray Rilke and his wife, German sculptress Clara Westhoff-Rilke. I will write their dialogue based on letters written to each other and to their friends about their marriage. My plan is to shoot all their scenes in one room made up to simulate Rilke's writing room, circa 1908, and from there, intermittently segway into filmed performances of the three women (in their frames) accompanied by the spoken narrative of "Requiem For a Friend". Given his availability, I have in mind a certain Lloyd Bricken for the role of Rilke.

One of Rilke's favorite writing rooms

12/15/04. After more research into the actual place Rilke wrote his "Requiem", it is clear to me that I must find a room that replicates the palatial and dilapidated Hotel Biron; thirty foot ceilings, tall French windows, lots of natural light pouring in. One of Rilke's writing rooms (see above picture) can be recreated using my living room (built in 1906), for the scene where Clara is reading Rainer's letter and flashbacks of Clara and Rainer with their six year old daughter Ruth. Sylvi (below right) has accepted my invitation to portray one of the three muses, "Artist", in the performances of "Requiem For a Friend" and in the movie itself. Sylvi has been busy painting a series of acrylic replicas of two of Paula's final works (see image below left for the original) that she will recreate -- paint -- live onstage. Perhaps this will rekindle Sylvi's previous career as an abstract painter. Paula's art appears to me simple and almost primitivist at first yet, with more reflection, an unexpected depth and elegance emerges.

art by Paula Modersohn-Beckerxxx Sylvi replicating Paula's self-portrait

12/22/04. The more I read about Rilke the man and his personal life, the more I am seeing these three feminine archetypes (mother, artist, soul/anima) as a kind of triple goddess Muse. This internal anima complex was dramatized in Rilke's many relations with actual women -- mostly platonic, some sexual -- that demanded, in various degrees, very similar things. He had a strong need for the shelter of emotional care-takers and financial benefactors (Mother). He was inspired by women artists to write poetry, as much as he encouraged their creativity (Artist); a mutual pact between artists. He also kept many women in a state of unrequited love out of a conviction that only deep longing in the woman (Soul/Anima) could cultivate her (and his) "greater circulation" for serving Art over Procreation. Not just his art but theirs.

xxxx xxxxxxx

Artist loft (Hotel Biron location); Auguste Rodin (1840-1917) and Slobodan Dan Paitch as "Rodin"

12/28/04. Today Sylvi and I visit a location, an artist loft (see above left) in Project Artaud (SF), that may very well become our "Hotel Biron". Besides composing his "Requiem" here, between 1908-09 Rilke also took up residence at the hotel while employed as Auguste Rodin's personal secretary. Rodin rented most of the ground floor at Hotel Biron to develop and store his own work. Eventually, in 1919 and two years after his death, the Hotel Biron was converted into the Rodin Museum where most of the famous sculptor's work resides today. It is clear to me now that Rodin must make an appearance or two during the days Rilke is working on his "Requiem" and that a suitable actor (in his sixties) must be found to portray the magnanimous sculptor. Slobodan Dan Paitch comes to mind. I will e-mail him right now. A few hours later, Slobodan calls me and accepts my invitation to portray Rodin.

12/30/04. This afternoon I realized that the live performance of "Requiem" and the version I plan to shoot for "The Greater Circulation" do not have to be identical. Both will feature the three women in their simultaneous rituals, however, I now see a fourth male figure in the live performance. Inhabiting the space between the audience and the women, this man performs a series of silent physical responses and movement motifs communicating his relationship to each of the three women. Though the women see and react to each other, they do not see him. In the version shot for "The Greater Circulation", only the three women will be featured until the very end, when Rilke appears in the mirror space after the women have exited together. Several male performers come to mind for this role in the live performance and I will have to reflect further on its demands before approaching anyone.

1/6/05. A breakthrough in story development. A small theatre troupe prepares a performance of Rilke's "REQUIEM FOR A FRIEND". The director chooses to treat the text as an intimate confession of Rilke's convictions around love, art and death; I see Lee Vogt as the director (he played the priest in TRAGOS). We come to know the performers through their dilemmas and real life parallels with the material. Meanwhile, we see scenes of Rilke, circa 1908, writing "Requiem" in his Paris hotel room. When the actual performance finally begins, Rilke's text flows uninterrupted as footage of the four performers (3 women, 1 man) is gradually meshed with Rilke struggling with the creation of his "Requiem." Images of the three women act as muses coming and going in Rilke's altered consciousness.

Lee Vogt as "the director"

1/9/05. Another breakthrough day. Lee Vogt paid me a visit today and accepted my invitation to portray the director in this story. I told him I was writing the part especially for him(true) based loosely on myself and what I do (also true); a kind of hybrid of our personalities. I could not imagine anyone more resourceful to play this aspect of myself. I am thrilled to be working with Lee, again; a consummate professional and a great guy.

1/16/05. Since I first began making films in 1991, all my projects have been produced by inhouse funding: myself, Sylvi and two others who also acted and co-scripted for us (Rob Brezsny in THE DRIVETIME and Jakob Bokulich in HYSTERIA). This current film project is the first one where we are reaching out beyond this inner circle for financial support and so far, I have been very touched by the positive responses. Here is the proposal web page I made for prospective Associate Producers and Producers. This outside support allows me to breathe easier while raising the stakes of my responsibilities, both which I am grateful for.

Felecia Faulkner as "the Mother" of the triple goddess muse

1/21/05. An acceleration is happening. Felecia Faulkner (above) has accepted my invitation to portray one of the three feminine muses, "Mother", in the "Requiem For a Friend" performances and in the movie itself. We enjoyed working together in "Under a Shipwrecked Moon" (she played the mother, "Rakel") and I am especially pleased that she is joining us here. Felecia is also in the process of becoming one of our producers. The auditions listings I posted at craigs list and tentacle list are paying off. I have been fielding inquiries from a dozen or so potential "Anima" women (to complete the triple goddess muse) with many more to come I'm sure. Though the role of "Anima" may be the most demanding of the three I trust that it is an irresistable vehicle for the right performer.

Leah Kahn as "Anima" of the triple goddess muse

1/26/05. The acceleration continues. After many auditions for the role of "Anima", I have finally found her in the dynamically talented Leah Kahn (see above right). I really like her. Over my last three features, I have learned more and more how sound is equally important to image in the filmmaking process; sometimes, even moreso. I feel fortunate to be working again with Malcolm Sherwood ("Under a Shipwrecked Moon"), who will record sound for the DV scenes (the film scenes will be shot w/o audio). My plan for casting the mute male role of "Embryo" is to invite Nick Walker and Paradox Pollack (from "Orphans of Delirium"), to perform on alternate nights. Nick and Paradox are fully capable of meeting Embryo's challenges but through such entirely different styles that I simply cannot resist finding out where both would go given the opportunity.Forunately they have both agreed, relieving me of the unbearable task of choosing between them.


Nick Walker (left) and Paradox Pollack (right)

1/30/05. Over these past several weeks I have been meeting at the French Hotel Cafe with my friend, fellow writer and perceptive human being, Page Nelson, to speculate on Rilke's consciousness. During our last meeting Page mentioned something so obvious that I had totally overlooked it: Rilke's dreams. Upon awakening in the morning, Rilke wrote fresh from his dreams. He didn't write down his dreams per se but images and ideas his dreams triggered in him about Paula and "Requiem". At least, that is how I see it now. This one idea has opened up a previously locked door to hereto unknown treasures. Page's onscreen credit will read "Brainstorm Assist".

2/6/05. The first draft of the script is near completion. I expect four or five more drafts before reaching my Shooting Script. I have scheduled a test readthrough for next Saturday afternoon when we'll also start blocking out the production schedule.Another character has found its way into the story, a young drama critic, whose failed attempts to interview the director unexpectedly catapults him into the arms of one of the women. I have cast Gabriel Diamond as the critic for his naturally inquisitive qualities and his bright shiny persona. Gabriel will join me, Sylvi, Felecia, Leah, and Lee at the Saturday readthrough. The performances of "Requiem For a Friend" are now booked for May 21, 22, 28, 29 at Finnish Brotherhood Hall.

Lloyd Bricken as "Rainer Maria Rilke"

2/8/05. Another big day. My first choice for an actor to portray Rainer Maria Rilke is Lloyd Bricken (above) and today he arrived from Birmingham to embrace the challenge. On March 21st, Lloyd will join me, Sylvi, Nick, Paradox, Leah and Felecia (plus five others) for an 8-week paratheatre training process. Lloyd and I will also meet twice a week in April to create the Rilke scenes (to be filmed May 7 and 8, noon to midnight). This is the first time Lloyd and I have worked together and I am excited by our fluid rapport, his depth of talent and the adventure before us. I am also thrilled with using the music of Arnold Schoenberg and Anton Webern (solo cello, cello & piano and solo piano) for all of Rilke's scenes. Tonight, Sylvi ordered the sheet music online and we have only to find the cellist to record it (with Sylvi on piano). In addition to this music, we'll also feature the amazing songs and music of Myshel Prasad and Space Team Electra , Robin Coomer and Loop!Station , Jackie Gratz and Amber Asylum and Sylvi Alli.The final role to cast is Rilke's wife, the German sculptress Clara Westhoff-Rilke. The auditions page is now up and running. Clara, Clara, where are you, Clara ?

2/12/05. Today's scheduled readthrough was cancelled and postponded due to two illnesses, which is just as well. There are other preproduction elements to tend to and, in hindsight it was too early for that meeting anyway. In the last four days over twenty actresses have contacted me about playing Clara Westhoff-Rilke. Among these, maybe two or three seem like a good fit. I will know more in the following week when I meet them. I had two good meetings today, one with Nick Walker and the other with Sylvi, to discuss the psychic architecture of Rilke's dream sequences. These dreams are to be visitation dreams, not just Rilke's psychological regurgitations but numinous archetypal appearances of Otherness. I will not go into detail here except to say Nick will portray a singing statue but it will be Sylvi's voice we hear; an 18th dynasty Egyptian sandstone statue (see below). In a letter to his wife Clara, Rilke wrote that seeing such a statue at the Louvre reminded him of an earlier bust she had sculpted of Paula, a memory that also startled the forces in him to write "Requiem For a Friend."

Egypt; 1350 BC (click image for historical details).
I think this statue's face resembles Nick Walker

2/15/05. Last night I saw "HEX", a very impressive Super-8 film with great sound design composed, written and shot by my friend, Sean Blosl who I will be meeting in Seattle on Feb. 26th to discuss his possible collaboration with us. Today the burdens of preproduction have been significantly alleviated by the arrival of our Production Manager the effervesvent, optimistic and gleefully down-to-earth JoJo Razor, who will tend to the various phone calls and organziational details so important to this stage of our project evolution. What a relief. Thanks JoJo.

2/20/05. Lloyd Bricken (who plays Rilke) and I are reading several Rilke biographies together and he pointed out an interesting fact I had overlooked. Mimi Romanelli visited Rilke in his hotel room on October 30th, the night he began writing "Requiem". Mimi was a beautiful young heiress who met Rilke when her father invited him to stay at their Venice Italy villa a year earlier in November of 1907. In fact, the very day Paula Modersohn-Becker died (Nov. 19, 1907) Rilke was openly professing his love for the lovely Mimi. As with his other romantic interests Mimi acted as a powerful creative catayst for Rilke's "Requiem" and other works. True to his code, Rilke transformed his passions for her into Art. Though biographers are highly doubtful Rilke and Mimi consummated their love, there are documents stating Mimi purchased a large estate with the idea she would live there with Rilke as "guardian of his solitude". This never happened.


Amber Collins as "Mimi Romanelli" and Laura Jane Coles as "Clara Westhoff-Rilke"

Mimi was important to Rilke and so she is now a character in "The Greater Circulation." She will appear in two dream sequences and once in Rilke's hotel room. German sculptor Clara Westhoff, Rilke's wife and mother of their daughter Ruth, also played an important role in Rilke's life. Though separated less than two years after their marriage (but never divorced), they continued to share a common bond of respect and support for each other's artistic processes. Their many letters of written corresponence show such an understanding, despite the difficult absence of daily emotional support (Rilke sent financial support for Ruth when he could). They remained friends until Rilke's final years of seclusion and the leukemia that killed him. While auditioning actresses for the role of Clara, I met the delightful Amber Collins. Though she wasn't quite right for the role of Clara, Amber was very right for the role of Mimi Romanelli, a bright light, a yearning burning inside. Yesterday Laura Jane Coles arrived to audition for Clara. Though she didn't look like Clara in the history books, Laura Jane conveyed to me Clara's strong inner faith, understanding and resolve. Laura Jane is, however, my Clara, the Clara I have known in my own heart and mind. Fortunately, these talented women are both available to play these roles and so now, everything is cast save for six-year old Ruth Rilke.

3/6/05. Sylvi and I return from a two week road trip to Seattle (911 Media Arts Center) and Portland (Hollywood Theatre) where "Tragos" and "Orphans of Delirium" screened. En route some intriguing script development occurred. I will not divulge anything here but convey it to the actors this Thursday when we meet for our first official rehearsal. Suffice to say, the present-time plot has thickened and Rilke's dream sequences have fevered wilder. I have also decided that we must rent an actual hotel room for Rilke's scenes, a room that reflects late 1890's architecture, and so I have released the loft studio idea (see 12/18). There are such hotels within a 100 mile radius of San Franicsco and finding the right one is now our top location hunting task.

3/11/05. Our first cast readthrough went very well and we are on our way. I felt that the writing was terse and not overdone, allowing for that critical element of space to show (not tell) what is going on (with pictures, not words). Rehearsals start in April and shooting in May. The paratheatre techniques lab begins March 21st and runs eight Monday nights; a time and place to discover the ritual actions of the three women/muses and a place for everyone else to hone their movement craft. Ten participants in all; five of them preparing for the four May performances of REQUIEM FOR A FRIEND and all of them people I love to work with. Perhaps this weekend, we will go Hotel hunting.

Chapel of the Chimes (Oakland)

3/15/05. Shooting has officially begun. A visit to the CHAPEL OF THE CHIMES mausoleum in Oakland netted some handsome footage (see above and below) that I will incorporate into Rilke's dream sequences, along with special CGI treatment requiring a blue screen. After this breath-taking visitation, we drove to west Oakland and met with JoJo's friend who -- surprise, surprise -- just happens to own a blue screen room that he has generously availed to us for this very purpose. Synchronicity is definitely in the air. Rehearsal schedules are now set to start April 4th. We will shoot for about fifteen days in the month of May (includes principal photography, super 8 film scenes, dream sequences, performances). This journal started exactly four months ago with a single idea and now: we are making the movie.

4/2/05. A major coup. My old friend, cinematographer Chris Rasmussen, will be shooting the Berkeley scenes with his new Sony HVR-Z1 HD camera; that's High Definition! Chris and I first met in the mid-seventies when we were working at Berkeley's best cinema, the UC Theatre (now defunct). My job was to change the movie titles on the marquis every night. Chris went on to become one of the regions most knowledgeable projectionists. I am very psyched to have Chris onboard. He has a great eye, a smashing sense of humor and is one of the more geniuinely positive people I know.

Lloyd Bricken as "Rilke"

We'll be shooting the dream sequences (in DV) and the Rilke hotel room scenes in B/W Super 8 film (we're still searching for the "hotel room" location to shoot the Rilke scenes). Speaking of dream scenes, Sylvi created these three stunning paintings that are featured in the dream gallery scene we shot last night at 21 Grand (photo above), courtesy of Darren and Sarah who graciously availed their space to us. This footage will be treated with a slightly underwaterish look. Tomorrow, Jakob Bokulich ("Hysteria") and I go Urban Ore to buy materials for constructing the set of windows for the "Requiem For a Friend" performance. Rehearsals begin this Monday and run twice a week through April. I have also been meeting with Lloyd Bricken once a week about the Rilke scenes. The updated movie project page is now up at "The Greater Circulation". We are now approaching the runway for take off. Fasten your seat belts.

4/5/05. Another major coup! We have found the ideal location for the Super-8 film shoots of Rilke's scenes in an 1880 Victorian in San Francisco complete with 19th century French furnishings and art; see image below. It is the best possible simulation of the "Hotel Biron, Paris circa 1908" I could have imagined. Shooting will commence there on the weekend of April 23/24 with my friend, Sean Blosl, who will fly down from Seattle to help shoot it with his Super-8 film cameras. Sean's excellent super-8 film, "HEX", will have its Berkeley premiere on Sunday May 1st as part of a fund-raiser for this project. Also screening that night is my 2003 feature, "Under a Shipwrecked Moon" (click movie title for details).

"Hotel Biron, Paris circa 1908"

4/25/05. There has been too much happening to write anything down but here are a few words. Sean Blosl flew down from Seattle this past weekend to help me shoot the Rilke scenes (Hotel Biron, 1908). Pending the return of the developed film, we both felt things went exceedingly well. Sean was on camera and light meter, allowing me time and space to structure the shots and block the scenes with the actors. For me, directing is about creating all these plans with the idea that I'm probably going to throw away most or half of them on the set. Though I am seeing my initial vision manifest before my eyes, I am also seeing how my plans are more like points of departure, rather than any final destination. My favorite parts are these happy accidents where life itself upstages my plans. There has been much character, ritual and movement development in the rehearsals and the Monday night paratheatre labs, which will contribute immensely to the upcoming shoots and performances scheduled throughout May.

5/1/05. As the core story behind this film surfaces, certain elements that I previously believed essential have been revealed as superfluous. I have chosen to drop the role of Clara Westhoff-Rilke. To really do her life justice would require a subplot that, as important as she was in Rilke's life, would distract from the core story of Rilke writing "Requiem". Along with this change, I have released the Egyptian sandstone bust image. The role of Mimi Romanelli, however, has been further developed insofar as the muse she symbolizes for Rilke in the dreams her likeness appears in. Also, Sean Blosl will be contributing his "hardcore ambient" music to the "Requiem For a Friend" performance and maybe the film soundtrack too.

5/8/05. The Super-8 film footage of the Rilke scenes returned from the developer and most of it turned out better than expected, thanks to the prep work of camera-operator Sean Blosl and his handy little orange filter. Last night we shot all the BLUE SCREEN footage that will be transformed into the special FX dream sequences to be treated by my friend in Austin Texas, Michael McWhirter (who also composited the FX work on my other features: TRAGOS, HYSTERIA and UNDER A SHIPWRECKED MOON).

A still from the film ( near the end of the story)

5/15/05. Besides shooting the "Requiem For a Friend" performance nights (May 28/29), our final shoot day is this Monday the 16th. I can hardly believe how swiftly these shoots have passed. Including the 80 minutes or so of Super-8 film footage we have shot around ten hours for this feature-length production, giving us about a 6/1 shooting ratio. I am feeling the exhaustion and have just enough energy to complete the schedule. It's been fascinating just watching this production transform, from plan to manifestation, with the aid of so many "happy accidents upstaging my best thought-out agendas. I feel encouraged towards more fluidity in the editing or rather, a greater circulation. Always moving towards a greater circulation. I think this will be my final production journal entry. My next phase is reviewing hours of footage and dreaming on how to best arrange the best work of everyone into the best movie I know how to make.

6/15/05. Whose voice will portray the private thoughts and poetry of Rainer Maria Rilke ? For a long while I coveted this role for myself. Though I have a good resonant speaking voice, I recently had to accept that it sounds too mature for someone in their early thirties. And so, I posted a Call for Voice-Over Talent on craig's list and 24 hours later over fifty male voices are recorded on my voicemail speaking Rilke's words. Of these, perhaps five show strong potential. Before I call them back I will audition Gabriel Diamond tomorrow night in the hopes he will nail it. Gabriel and I have been wanting to work with each other since we met earlier this year and this may be our chance.

Sylvi is now busy practicing piano so she can play all the works by Scriabine, Brahms and Schoenberg we have chosen for soundtrack of the 1908 Rilke scenes. She will also be composing vocals to mix with her own ambient industrial music we have decided on for the present-time "REQUIEM" performance scenes. With all the shooting behind us, I am now busy in the cave reviewing all the footage and making my Shot Selection list while proceeding to edit my Offline Rough Cut. Creating the rough cut allows me to make 90% of my edit decisions at home before entering the online, non-linear computer world of Final Cut Pro. It also saves me a lot of money. This time intensive process involves dubbing VHS copies of all the HD footage (with timecode recorded onscreen) and then, with two VHS VCRs and my thirteen year old Panasonic MX-12 A/V mixer, I manually edit the first version of this movie by myself. It looks and sounds like crap (compared to the finished product) but it shows me in a very concrete way: how things flow (or don't), where things are going and what to leave out or add. By mid-July, the rough cut should be done and I will be ready to start editing the Preview Print with my online editor, Chris Odell. The preview print is the version I first screen to cast, crew and friends to get feedback before returning to finish the Final Premiere Cut. I hope to show the Preview Cut in September sometime and the Premiere on November 1st, exactly 97 years after Rilke completed writing "Requiem For a Friend" (click the previous link to read the text).

6/23/05. After much thought and careful review (and excitement), I have decided to portray the voice of Rilke myself. As a result of this responsibility (and to make this process my own), I have rewritten the opening scene and added two new Rilke voice-overs to open up the humanity in this historically exalted poet. Amidst Rilke's pervasive poetic genius I have discovered specific human weaknesses that, when revealed, make him more accessible to me and hopefully, to others. When I say "weaknesses", I don't mean to bring the man down but rather to show different sides of the man and what might have been something of his internal thought processes during those two Paris nights in the late autumn of 1908 when he wrote his "Requiem For a Friend". I have also asked Sylvi to portray the voice of Paula Modersohn-Becker in three instances: in Rilke's dream, in his memory of a letter she wrote him and in her visitation.

6/28/05. After more thought and dreadfully careful review (and disappointment), I have decided not to take on the role of Rilke's voice afterall. Though I feel my grasp of his words and thoughts are true, the tone of my voice betrays a maturity that I don't believe is credible for someone in their early thirties, as Rilke was in 1908 when he wrote "Requiem For a Friend." And so, I am back on the search for the voice of Rilke...where are you ?

7/24/05. Up and down, back and forth, round and round and who am I now ? I AM THE VOICE OF RILKE. Well, at least, in this production. After many differing options, the die has been cast and my voice-overs recorded (with more to come). Every time I embark on a feature film project I am reminded what extraordinary metamorphosis occurs, or rather, I remember how receptive I am to evolve and grow with a project that means something to me. It seems like the more it means, the greater the metamorphosis. So may directions, images and ideas have surfaced through the foundation of plans laid many months ago, plans that have either collapsed or galvanized depending on how true they have been to this story. And this story, like all my favorite stories, continues to unfold on its own time, under its own pressures, ripening and going to seed, rotting and sprouting anew. It's alive.

Today I have finally finished my offline editing homework and having completed my final edit list, I am ready to meet with Chris Odell tomorrow at noon to begin the online edit of the final version of this movie. We are still on schedule and I still expect to arrive at a preview print by mid-September that I will test before cast, crew and friends before consolidating the premiere print for the November 1st public screening.

8/3/05. Another whooshing acceleration. With the exception of some color correction, two dream sequences and a twenty-minute musical score for the performance at the end of this film, the First Cut is almost done. It looks like I will have the PREVIEW PRINT ready to show by mid-September (a private screening for cast & crew) and then, by November 1st All Soul's Day (97 years to the night that Rilke finished his "Requiem"): the World Premiere. Editing is a very high experience, it's where all the elements come together and something magical takes place. It's very creative, probably moreso than any other aspect of filmmaking as I know it (writing, directing, producing, shooting); OK, well, maybe shooting can be almost as creative. I feel as if I have been in a cave of my own design for the last two months and I am starting to see the light beyond the entrance I came here through.

8/21/05. I've decided that the working title for this film project has served its function very well as a leverage into the subtext of Rilke's REQUIEM FOR A FRIEND. Now it is time for our film to be re-titled for its launch into the public marketplace. The new title, "RILKE'S REQUIEM" expresses for me the all-important marketting "hook" of this film (Rilke himself) and an honest representation of what this movie is actually about (his "Requiem"). Please note that we have a new webpage for this project (update everybody):




8/31/05. One final big change. It took all but ten days of living with the changed title for me to realize that the true name for this film is actually THE GREATER CIRCULATION. And so, I am returning to it during the final editing (which may have been today). Though the story in this film involves Rilke's "Requiem", the film as a whole is more honestly and, perhaps more importantly, poetically emblemized by its original title. I must confess that as a title "RILKE'S REQUIEM" was a lame attempt to conform to what I thought might be a more "sellable" title. What was I thinking ? As a title, its energy (and all names are containers for energies) is heavy, restricting, and sobering. "RILKE'S REQUIEM" also refers to a fact (thud), an epic piece of literature, whereas THE GREATER CIRCULATION refers to a living process and reflects a kind of mystery or perhaps even, an association of mysteries. To me, the energy contained in THE GREATER CIRCULATION expresses large cycles of movement, dynamic and shifting, like the wind or the blood racing through our veins. And the wonderful way this completed film is flowing, in its rhythms and cycles, more precisely symbolizes a greater circulation. And so the original name remains; let the chips fall where they may!

10/27/05. Waiting, waiting, waiting. I think that until the general and impersonal public sees my film (not just those who appear in it), I shall continue floating in this weird state of uneasy suspense. There is something latent that only becomes active during the objective force of an audience's unique kind of attention. It's like the difference between watching a film at home on your television and seeing the same film in a dark theatre full of virtual strangers. It's almost as if you're watching a different film! Even though I personally love this film, I will not assume that anyone else will, too. To pass the time I have started booking future screenings at venues and towns that may be receptive to this work, especially to the poetic and literary nature of it. And so, the die is cast and I say again, let the chips fall where they may.

12/6/05. The two public screenings we've held so far, the world premiere (11/10) at 21 Grand and the one (12/1) at Berkeley Art Center, went exceedingly well and with the five-star review garnered from, I am pinching myself a little bit. Is this a dream ? Of course, it is. Life is a dream. And this chapter of the dream has opened with a bang which, I might add, was much needed given all the waiting and pointless fretting. So far, the review has also caught the attention of venues and festivals in NYC, LA and Australia all of which I am either negotiating with or contemplating potential involvement. I am in contact with venues in Los Angeles and other towns along the west coast and will know within a week or so, where we go from here. Until then, check the screening schedule for updates.


Project updates posted here as they emerge.


-- Antero Alli

electronic mail link

the mainpage for this film project

More On Rilke

The subtext of "Requiem For a Friend"

The stories behind their meeting (1900-1907)

two samples of writing by R.M. Rilke

multiple samples
of writing by R.M. Rilke

Rilke's later (1920) views on Christianity


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