Thursday 22 January 2009

Taylor Rain is Dirty Girl in Velvet - Dionysos Andronis


The latest short film from Aryan Kaganof is a precious, allegorical jewel of a film lasting 11 minutes and 32 seconds. Poetry is central to this film, firstly in the form of lines being composed, and then in the poetry of the female body, a favourite theme in Kaganof’s work. The poet celebrated here is Gary Cummiskey, one of the most promising poets of his generation in South Africa. The poetry of the female form comes from Taylor Rain, an exceptional performer who offers us her radiant and photogenic body.

The film is divided into four parts. In the first part, a blank screen serves as a point of anticipation. You’ll see why a little further on in the text.

The poems being written by Gary Cummiskey appear in the second part, accompanied by improvised music from the group Matmos. Even though we don’t understand the poems in their entirety (they scroll down the screen quickly, word by word), it creates a sensation of mounting excitement which becomes aesthetic and sensual. The words are not merely groups of letters, but carry an emotional charge. The suspense is accentuated by the sound of a typewriter off-screen providing a second, eerie music. We have the feeling that something is about to happen. This part lasts six minutes.

In the third part, the actress Taylor Rain starts masturbating in front of the camera. She caresses her vagina and anus. Gary Cummiskey’s poems now scroll down in the centre of the screen, becoming the true stars of the film in the foreground, while the actress provides a very beautiful background motif multiplying the wealth and interaction between the themes. A small white bear is sitting next to the beautiful young girl. It serves as an element of explanation. This significant section lasts three minutes.

The caption “Yes, that’s velvet” appears in the fourth and final part lasting 32 seconds. It is a sweet, short conclusion of exemplary grace. The background is black, in harmony with the opening image, and the artificial velvet of the little teddy bear is a metaphor for the forgery of the second body-poetry in the film. The truth lies in the words and written poetry. The body is beautiful, extremely beautiful, but the aspect of our human lives which is most alive is in the written lines.

(translated from the French by Lucy Lyall Grant)

Friday 16 January 2009

Poetry Africa 2008


At Poets in Media at the University of KwaZulu-Natal.
(Photo: Monica Rorvik)

Poetry Africa 2008


With Allan Kolski Horwitz and Mxolisi Nyezwa

(Photo: Pravasan Pillay)

Poetry Africa 2008


Poetry Africa 2008

With Kobus Moolman's creative writing students at the University of KwaZulu-Natal.
(Photo: Pravasan Pillay)

Saturday 03 January 2009