to the Preproduction Site for
"The Greater Circulation"
a forthcoming feature dv-film by Antero Alli
based on Rainer Maria Rilke's "Requiem For a Friend"
(translated by Stephen Mitchell)
Rilke at the Hotel Biron, Paris, 1908
The Starting Point for This Project
timelines collide when a small theatre troupe in
present day Berkeley
prepares to stage Rilke's lyrical lament "Requiem For a Friend", while simultaneously
the poet is writing his "Requiem" a hundred years earlier in a Paris hotel room.
Past and future intersect when images of the staged performance
infiltrate the fevered dreams of the transported poet.
"The Greater Circulation" is my next feature length dv-film based on Czech poet Rainer Maria Rilke's epic lament Requiem for a Friend, his tribute to good friend and painter Paula Modersohn-Becker who died suddenly after birthing her first child. This will be my second visit to Rilke's "Requiem" as a staged and video production (see images below) and my sixth dv-feature project.
-- Antero Alli, dir.
For a Friend" (1991; 40 min.) video by Antero
(click any image for details)
Kia Sian as "mother", Camille Hildebrandt as "soul torn between", Jadina Lilien as "artist"
THE 1990 PERFORMANCE. In October 1990 (Seattle), ParaTheatrical ReSearch staged Rilke's "Requiem For a Friend" as an intermedia performance ritual involving the symbolic portrayal of three facets of one woman (Paula Modersohn) -- mother, soul torn between and artist. Rilke's text was spoken live and amplified behind the audience. The performance was also accompanied by live cello improvisation.
THE STAGE SET. All three women inhabit a specific set of one large black wall (40ft wide x 8ft high), through which each could be seen in her own light behind a large framed opening: the mother rocking an infant to sleep (behind a large painting frame), the soul torn between slowly unfolding a ritualistic dance (behind a large "mirror" frame) and the artist creating an actual painting (behind a large window frame). See above images for reference. The two wings of this large black wall -- mother and artist -- are slanted towards the audience, allowing all three women to be seen by, and react to, each other. Towards the end of the performance, all three women gather in the center mirror space -- the realm of the "soul torn between" -- step out of its frame and exit the set together.
Cut to 2005: "The Greater Circulation"; the feature dv-film project
"The Greater Circulation" is a story set simultaneously in two worlds; two eras. In present time Berkeley California, three female performers portray facets of Rilke's Muse -- Mother, Anima, Artist -- enacting their separate rituals inside three separate windows (see STAGE SET section above) in their staging of Rilke's REQUIEM FOR A FRIEND. Their performance will be filmed before a live audience and then, edited into other scenes of Rilke writing his "Requiem" alone in his Paris hotel room in 1908.
Throughout "The Greater Circulation", these two timelines gradually overlap and coincide until eventually meshing during the final twenty minutes of the film. Here, the theatrical performance of "Requiem" doubles as a chain of images and visions passing through Rilke's altered consciousness and fever dreams. During this image-rich sequence, the text of Rilke's "Requiem" is heard in its entirety amidst the shifting dreamscape of the three women. Are they figments of Rilke's enflamed poetic imagination? Aspects of his own psyche ? Or is Rilke invoking the powers of his muse, a terrifying angel ? Or, perhaps it is Paula's ghost calling to him. Is that her in the room ?
"...I'm sure you have gone astray if you are moved to homesickness for anything in this dimension. We transform these Things; they aren't real, they are only the reflections upon the polished surface of our being. I thought you were much further on. It troubles me that you should stray back, you... who have achieved more transformation than any other woman. That we were frightened when you died...no; rather: that your stern death broke in upon us... darkly... wrenching the till-then from the ever since -- this concerns us: setting it all in order is the task we have continually before us..."
REQUIEM FOR A FRIEND
translated by Stephen Mitchell
Rainer Maria Rilke and Paula Modersohn-Becker
THE STORIES BEHIND THEIR MEETING
deep background in paratheatre production (since 1975)
has informed his
filmmaking processes (since 1991) with a unique theatrical aesthetic and a
cinematic language all his own. "The Greater Circulation" will be his sixth
feature fiction work. For more extensive background details, please refer
to the "paratheatre bio" and "filmography" links below.
production updates and personal notes
completed works produced onscreen and stage