animated poetry-FILMS EXPLAINED

Mon Pays

Mon Pays was created in a very direct, intuitive manner with the principle of metamorphosis at its very core. The poem transformed into an animated film, as in its soundtrack, the poem transformed into a song. These transformations seem effortless due to the inherent qualities of time, rhythm and metre shared by animation, poetry and music. Metamorphosis not only functions as a process of creation, but also as one of conceptualisation. Conscious control over the creative process was relinquished to chance and improvisation through the concept of automatism and stream of consciousness. The production relied on the immediacy of the process of image making and the performative nature of intuitive animation.

The evolution of the picture plane during the first 20 seconds of the film. Traces of the process (in the reflection of light on the still wet paper, and the alteration of colour in the last frame as the water evaporates) is left intentionally to reveal the presence of the animator.
Production stills of Mon Pays (2017): screengrabs of different stages of the gradual transformation of the landscape. The frames were created with gouache on paper using the process of straight ahead animation on a solid base.

Parys Suite

Parys Suite is a personal film, expressing a personal experience of the city of Paris. I constructed a complex film in which a variety of options for the combination of moving imagery in the editing process were explored. This spirit of experimentation and the lack of adherence to prescribed formulas on animation production, and existing conceptions of poetry-film, opened up new possibilities and challenges on both technical and conceptual levels.

Parys Suite is episodic in format and consists of five movements.


Screen grabs from a time-lapse sequence which makes up the prelude to Parys Suite: It shows time passing in an empty studio at the Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris.

Movement 1

Movement 1 consists of a poetry-film of the poem Piaf by Carina van der Walt. Using hand-drawn animation based on pixelated footage, the visual style chosen to depict this poem reflects its romantic nature.

Piaf is a melancholic poem about time, freedom and loneliness centred around the romanticised view of the famed singer. The visual style chosen to depict this poem reflects this romantic cliché in its use of a hand-painted Parisian cityscape and hand-drawn animation of sparrows.

Movement 2

Paris in circles consists of a 60 second flicker film of circular shapes as found all over the city.

Movement 2: Parys in sirkels is a flickerfilm that paints a portrait of Paris through the rapid display of circular shapes photographed in a myriad of locations all over the city.

Movement 3

In the poem Amon L’isa, Carina van der Walt expresses how her romantic illusions of the Mona Lisa were shattered when she visited the artwork for the very first time, and was confronted with a throng of rowdy tourists clamouring for a quick selfie with the painting.

“An orgy of scrutiny”: Even though the standard concept of the male gaze is hinted at ironically in the text of the poem, the gaze of the subject(s) towards the painting is autoerotic. The aim of the gaze is not to see or to objectify the seen, but rather to see the self being seen by extending the gaze to the camera.

Movement 4

Movement 4 is a 60 second flicker film using the concept of sign language to comment on our commonalities and our differences as expressed through statuary hands from Parisian public sculptures.

Movement 4: Gebaretaal (Sign language) consists of a circular flickerfilm using 64 individual photographs of hands from religious and political statuary. Due to the colouring of the photographs, the viewer is never certain at which point the saints turn into sinners.

Movement 5 

The poetry-film of nagwaak was inspired by the Nuit Debout public protests of March/April 2016 on the Place de la Republique in Paris. Instigated by a range of social issues, the protests were very civilised, organised, and even poetic, its aim a social revolution by peaceful, non-disruptive protest.

Makeshift shrines for the victims of the 2015 Paris bombings at the base of the Monument to the Republic on the Place de la Republique.


The credit sequence of the film shows the Concorde Metro station, filmed using time-lapse technology.