For about another week, the Australian Centre for the Moving Image is home to The Nightingale and the Rose, a short film and exhibition reinterpreting the story by Oscar Wilde. The film is an animated lyrical piece featuring the art work of Del Kathryn Barton with filmmaker Brendan Fletcher. You don’t need to be familiar with the story, but it won’t hurt. This is a decidedly Australian interpretation, with Australian actors voicing the piece, including Mia Wasikowska as the Nightingale, David Wenham and Geoffrey Rush. Be prepared to feel things.
The music is by Sarah Blasko and only further enhances the haunting quality of this deceptively simple tale of love and truth, sacrifices and relationships and things that are ‘meaningless,’ according to overly dramatic students who lament in gardens about their supposed great love.
It is gorgeous and unsettling to watch in this intimate space. Anyone familiar with Barton’s art (she is an Archibald winner) will immediately appreciate her trade mark line work and jewel like water colours (they look like water colours anyway) as they move. There is almost no relief from them. Barton doesn’t really believe in white space, except for people’s faces, this is in great contrast to my next post (hopefully tomorrow) about the National Gallery of Victoria’s quilt exhibition.
This is a short work, (running at 14 mins), but it manages to be both moving and technically accomplished, and to help appreciate the many hours of labour that went into each tiny paper moving part shot for each sequence, is the exhibition. This features the early drafts and plans for the work, and the individually hand crafted paper pieces that are combined and rearranged for every single scene.
If you visit the ACMI website here you can read the story of the collaboration of Fletcher and Barton, which is also interesting.
The Nightingale and the Rose, ACMI: Price: free. Worth: all your tears. If you’re in Melbourne, see it now, as it ends soon.