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Derek Jarman & Coil - A Journey to Avebury
31-07-2020, 05:39 PM
Post: #1
Derek Jarman & Coil - A Journey to Avebury
'A Journey to Avebury' is a short super 8mm film made by the film-maker Derek Jarman in 1971 that details the scenery he encountered on the titular journey, a walking holiday in Wiltshire. The film consists of a series of snippets of varying length of the landscape, flora and fauna of the county along with occasional glimpses of the paths that are leading him and us to the stones of Avebury along routes akin to those trodden when the monument was freshly built..

Almost completely missing from the film are any other humans. With very few exceptions, some kids sat on a wall and a distant car, Jarman is uninterested in them and is instead documenting their absence and their detritus, his footage showing a land existing outside of humanity, a timeless landscape still potentially recognisable to those near mythical builders.

A Journey to Avebury was originally presented as a silent film but following Jarman's death in 1994 Coil, who had contributed music to several of his films ("The Angelic Conversation" and "Blue"), were asked to provide a soundtrack to accompany screenings of the film. For this they chose a distinctly electronic soundtrack filled with rolling, burbling tones contrasted by a spattering of birdsong.

The film quality and the colour palette give the film the quality of a hazily distorted memory - defining the distorted snapshot aesthetic of the hauntology movement some forty odd years in advance - and both filmaker and musicians play games with our perceptions as both images and sound are filled with motion yet both evoke a sense of stillness; the frozen moment of an extended dawn.

We are indebted to Phil Barrington for his fabulous remaster of the poor quality copies that have long circulated online.
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