Thursday, November 22, 2018

Random film review: Circle of Light

Circle of Light: The photography of Pamela Bone
Dir: Anthony Roland | Sound: Elsa Stansfield and Delia Derbyshire | UK | 1972 | 32mins.

From the director's website, where you can also rent and watch Circle of Light: “This film without words is composed of Pamela Bone’s unique photographic transparencies. Her talent has been said to ‘push photography beyond its own limits, liberating it to the status of an entirely creative art form’. Inspired by nature, and being more responsive to feeling than to thought, Miss Bone has sought to express the mystery and beauty of the inner vision through photographic means alone: landscape has the quality of a dream; children on the sea-shore have a sense of their own enchantment, trees are foreboding and strange when night moves in their arms. It took Miss Bone twenty years to find the right technique and so overcome the limitations that photography would impose."

Delia Derbyshire, who died in obscurity of renal failure in 2001, has become something of a cult figure in early electronic music. Her pioneering work with the BBC Radiophonic Workshop spawned the Dr Who theme. Since her death there have been plays, dramas and exhibitions about her life and work (her posthumous recognition reminds me somewhat of Alan Turing, mathematician and computer scientist, who remained unknown for many years due to his homosexuality; in Derbyshire's case it was partly due to being a woman in a male-dominated industry).

Trunk Records released the soundtrack to Circle of Light on vinyl in 2016. Consisting of natural sounds combined with the odd Dr Who-esque drone, it works best with Bone's mysterious and sometimes beautiful images of nature, parts of which come across as a slower version of Stan Brakhage's Mothlight.


Previously on Barnflakes:
The Putney Shed Synth

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