Emily Richardson

2002 | 00:04:56 | United Kingdom | English | Color | Mono | 4:3 | 16mm film

Collection: Single Titles

Tags: Architecture, City, Environment, European Film/Video, Experimental Film, Photography

Nocturne is a 5-minute film shot entirely at night in deserted streets of London. The film attempts to find images of the city that reveal the presence of the past, or the presence of the dead, hinting at a concealed history. The deserted streets around the east end of London and Docklands reflect an echoic city filled with shadows. Nocturne is composed of long static viewpoints, each shot slowly unfolding in time as though by looking long enough the city's secrets will be revealed. The film is shot on 16mm, using long exposures and time-lapse techniques that together give the film an intensity of color and a sense of fleeting or historical time. The drab, deserted streets are transformed as they appear in hyper-real color, devoid of traffic and human activity. The film has a neurotic, electric quality as the only signs of life are lights turning on and off in buildings, the occasional ghost image of passing cars and the pulse of overhead trains. On these forgotten streets the sounds of the night puncture the silence with more frantic, desperate outbursts until the silence itself becomes an active element. The film soundtrack recreates the teeming silence, full of the sounds we tend to filter out, such as the faint rumble of cars in the distance, planes flying overhead, the footsteps of people passing by, occasional voices and the wind blowing litter along the street. "Composed of a series of twilight images of empty streets, Nocturne is a mesmerizing and tonally expressive work that similarly recalls the seminal tone poem Koyaanisquatsi, with the rigorous symmetry and urban desolation of Chantal Akerman’s News From Home." --New York Video Festival 2003 Program Notes

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