Marie Craven is a film-maker in Queensland, Australia, who has been making shorts for 35 years. Her films have exhibited extensively at international festivals and events, and gathered many awards. She creates video poems collaboratively, often via the net, with other artists around the world. Over the decades, she has been a sessional teacher at universities, technical colleges and community centres, a reviewer of films and books, an arts administrator, and curator.
In early January 2020, Dave Bonta invited me to participate in his Poetry Without Borders program at the REELPoetry Film Festival in Houston, USA. The challenge was to make a remix of his 2016 video, A Glimpse from the Gutter, from three poems by Argentinian poet, Alejandra Pizarnik (1936-1972).
I speak only English. Nonetheless, this is the sixth film I’ve made involving different languages. Despite being in my late 50s, I retain a child-like wonderment that our single human species communicates in so many richly varied ways. As an Australian, I have a desire to somehow transcend racism and xenophobia, and know that we are all related on the face of this Earth. I also simply love the expressive sounds of different languages as a kind of music.
Dave translated Pizarnik’s poems with advice and in discussion with Jean Morris, a poet and professional translator. Jean voiced the poems in Spanish, while Dave spoke them in English. For my video remix of Dave’s original film, I kept only the text and voices, which I re-arranged and mixed with new music and images. I have remained true to Dave’s impulse in his earlier piece to make a truly bilingual film, spoken in both Spanish and English, and therefore without the need for subtitles.
My overall impulse was to create a series of moving images that might form a kind of visual poem in themselves, while remaining connected to the resonances I found in the text and in the qualities of the voices.