The main inspiration for our first film was the project’s theme of embracing multiple personalities within each of us - it featured music from Robert Schumann’s Davidsbündlertänze which were a huge catalyst for me whilst conceptualising the project - the cycle is as brilliantly mercurial in its kaleidoscopic moods as I imagine Schumann to have been in real life (and as he has been documented to have been!), slipping often without warning into a new personality, and gripping in its rawness. It offers one that mind-blowing glimpse into the inner world(s) of Schumann´s soul. The film opens with excerpts from Felix Leuschner´s “leftovers 1”, written for me and premiered in August 2018 - this was the perfect modern take on the many soliloquies we all know so intimately, with Felix´s amazing electronics undertaking the role of my mind's many other selves.
If the project´s theme takes centerstage in the first film, then this second film draws its ideas directly from the music that make up my programme, with the limelight on György Ligeti and Maurice Ravel, the distinctly constrasting musical styles and individual personalities of each composer as well as the stories behind each work, essentially allowing the music to guide our visuals. We hoped to capture that sense of time coming to a standstill, that otherworldly grace and meditative stillness (ingeniously evoked by completely clashing rhythmic lines!) in Ligeti´s En Suspens, and that nervous, unpredictable energy that´s omnipresent in Ravel´s Noctuelles - inspired by these lines by the french poet and friend of Ravel, Léon-Paul Fargue´s: “The nocturnal moths in their barns launch themselves clumsily into the air, going from one perch to another”.
Meanwhile, Isaac Albéniz´s Corpus Christi - a celebration of life and death in unbridled, primitive energy and passion - literally frames the entire film - setting the stage at the beginning, and bringing us back to reality at the end.
Whilst the shots in the first film required much more in-depth brainstorming on how best to visually represent the inner multitudes as well as preparation of props and costumes, the second film was all about creative spontaneity and being able to adjust to all kinds of conditions (all Isabel!!!) whilst getting a good work out (thank you piano muscles and yoga!)..tricky business!
We shot the lake scenes at the Kletterwald Nord with Lady Luck very much on our side in so many aspects - timing, logistics, weather, lighting, permissions, wonderful crew… I was given a crash course for the parcours and then off we went. The images were well worth the insane amount of climbing in concert attire (yes…high heels!! plus creative hiding of those bulky zipline equipment!), and flying over that gorgeous lake was simply incredible. I´m definitely returning again - this time with just normal climbing outfits ;)
All other scenes were shot at the idyllic Stechinelli Carré which came complete with a private piece of forest, a barn (which we used for the Ravel shots…too literal..? but who cares! it was perfect! ), a grand piano, and everything else one could ever wish for working on a project like this. Once again, we were incredibly lucky and just thinking back fills my heart with immense love and gratitude to everyone and everything that made this not just possible, but a joy to work on together and bring to life.
here it is, the second film!
much love, Yun Qi
Filmmaker / Isabel Robson
Sound Engineer / Oliver Rogalla von Heyden
Music / Isaac Albéniz, György Ligeti, Maurice Ravel
Texts / Agnes Chew, “The Desire for Elsewhere”
Make-up / Maria Schwerdtfeger
Assistants / Chun Yi Yeo, Claus Blänkner, and Yvonne Peckmann-Haarstick