Dedicated to the lives of my Great Grandparents, brutally murdered by the Nazi’s during the Holocaust in 1945, the film is a poetic meditation on the intergenerational transmission of trauma. Created during the spring lockdown of 2020, the film became imbued with the current horrors of the Covid pandemic. My Great Grandparents were shot in a forest at some point during their transportation to Auschwitz. My daily ‘lockdown walks’ in the local Queen’s Wood in North London, became associated with both events and the location and inspiration for much of the footage. Queens Wood, had been a burial ground for victims of the Plague of 1660. The wintery, gnarled trees growing above their corpses adding further, haunting poignancy to my musings.
Using drawings of the wintery trees layered with moving imagery of myself as a wandering figure, I bring past and present together; a theme repeated with filmed footage of the woods projected onto my body, and the use of cine film of myself as a child taken by my Grandfather. I am also seen sewing and cutting – the repeated acts of my creative endeavour, mirroring the psychoanalytic notion that we are doomed to repeat that which remains unconsciously hidden. The title refers to the first lines of ‘Winterreise’, Schubert’s enigmatic song cycle of a young man’s wandering through the forest, symbolic of an internal gaze and the sense of being a stranger to oneself, haunted by trauma. The film is divided in two halves, marked by two gunshots and the transformation of white chalk trees and white lit figure to black shadows of trees and figure on a white background, the traces of things departed. The film can be watched as a single complete ‘visual poem’, but also experienced as an ever-repeating cycle. There is an intended technical naivety, merging and collating of artistic methods that reflect unconscious thought as it nips at the heels of present reality.
Directed by Alison Darke (UK)