I made Freitreppen in response to a poem by German poet Alexander Gumz as part of the Continental Drift project. The project connects and presents poems and poetry films on the internet. It is based on the »Chinese Whispers« parlour game, but in this case the poet writes a poem to which the filmmaker responds. The next poet writes a poem based on this film – and so on. The idea is to produce an unbroken chain of poems and poetry films. My film (visuals only) has now been given to a Belgian poet to continue the chain.
I was inspired by a scene from the film '5x2' by Francois Ozon in which a couple go to a hotel room to end their relationship. The poem 'Freitreppen' evoked a memory of this haunting scene of a relationship in free-fall. The poem compelled me to think about that moment when they closed the door to the room and to their relationship.
Original poem 'Freitreppen' written and spoken by Alexander Gumz
Freitreppen (Stairs without bannisters)
hotels languidly leaning into cliffs,
flights of steps in hand.
couples yearning for an arm,
wet, helping the other into a bathrobe.
they exchange evening gowns,
in mean weather shrouding the sea.
when the couples move their skin
against each other and finally begin
to count together, a stone splits
from the roof, falls between them.
no apple tree in view, only their dance,
unsteady, through the theatre.
Translated by Sabine Berendse and Paul Clements