Narrative: Spoken-word poetry in the form of a letter. Influence: Letter from Siberia - Chris Marker
Video: edited for intensity - rapid cutting, jump cuts. Hand held camera. travel documentary. Influence: Reminiscences of a Journey to Lithuania - Jonas Mekas
Video and words by Richard Brownlow
Sound: sounds of Tuva.
Drone track by Michael Salerno
On Kupala day, youth jump over the flames of bonfires in a ritual testing of one's bravery and faith. A couple in love's failure to complete the jump while holding their hands is a sign of their destined separation.
Girls would float wreaths of flowers often lit with candles on rivers and would attempt to gain foresight into their relationship fortunes from the flow patterns of the flowers on the river. Men may attempt to capture the wreaths, in the hope of capturing the interest of the woman who floated the wreath.
There is an ancient Kupala belief, that the eve of Ivan Kupala is the only time of the year when ferns bloom. Prosperity, luck, discernment and power would befall on whoever finds a fern flower. Therefore, on that night village folks would roam through the forests in search of magical herbs and especially the elusive fern flower.
Traditionally, unmarried women, signified by their garlands on their hair, would be the first to enter the forests. They are followed by young men. Therefore, consequent to the quest in finding herbs and the fern flower may be the blooming of relationships between pairs of men and women within the forest.
It is to be noted that biologists have held the persistent scientific fact that ferns have never and will never bloom.