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Film, Music

The National Parks Project: Gros Morne at Ex-Centris Cassavetes Cabaret

Posted by Christine / October 14, 2009

20091010-NPP.jpg Last Saturday, The National Parks Project: Gros Morne (NPP:GM) was shown as part of the Festival du Nouveau Cinema, alongside a live set featuring members of Stars (Evan Cranley), The Stills (Liam O'Neill), Apostle of Hustle (Julian Brown), and more.

NPP: GM was shot over four nights and five days, resulting in 45 minutes of footage, after editing. However, according to director Ryan Noth, the film almost wasn't made:

"There was no budget, and the film was not supposed to exist; we only had to technically make a trailer. But, I thought I had to do something with the footage," said Noth. "The film is not necessarily finished, and that speaks to our live performance concept. In some ways the film(s) will never be finished, and the images should always be re-interpreted and juxtaposed in new ways, to discover new meanings and feelings from different contexts."

While the film played, the musicians performed unseen, in the unlit area beside the stage. The music blended in seamlessly with the images; the source of the ambient sounds revealed only by the occasional shadow of a hand strumming, or the brassy length of a trombone pushing out a note.

NPP: GM presented a series of images from different perspectives; a close-up of a dew-speckled spider's web, a wider shot of rocks so mossy, they looked like hairy, prehistoric creatures, quick panning over misty mountains, layered imaging, allowing an orange jellyfish to undulate into the sky, split-screen landscapes, and a rock, shattered into a kaleidoscope of duplicates.

While the film's beautiful nature images implicitly remind viewers about the importance of preserving our landscapes, the film also focused on the relationship between humans and the environment:

"We realized that everything was beautiful too, even the small impact humans had made, that nature had either reclaimed or adjusted to in some way," said Noth.

This point of view is punctuated by shots of rusty chains gartering a rock while strings of moss choke it in turn, footsteps crunching over the shore, and a dilapidated, abandoned shack, overrun by leaves and slinking vines.

The music attached a live narrative to the images; arching up to craft moments of anxiety, or creating layers of reverb -an eerie echo across the endless green of valleys and mountains. What made the performance extra special is the fact that it was an original score, likely never to be repeated:

"We like to work with musicians who haven't worked together before," said Noth. "For the new interpretation you get each time it happens."

Ryan Noth and NPP: GM producer Geoff Morrison are currently taking their feature film (co-directed by Sarah Lazarovic) No Heart Feelings onto the festival circuit, hoping it will play at Sundance and Rotterdam.

More information at: www.noheartfeelings.com.

Image from NPP:GM's web page: http://www.nationalparksproject.ca/




Discussion

8 Comments

laura / October 15, 2009 at 12:00 pm
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i saw this during the FNC and thought it was so beautiful i tried to plan a trip to gros morne the following day!

my only disappointment was that the musicians were hidden. i think that if there is going to be a live soundtrack we should get the pleasure of seeing it performed. i don't think it would have detracted from the film, but rather it would have added an extra visual element to the whole experience.
rachat de credit / October 24, 2010 at 02:15 pm
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I agree with most of your points, but a few need to be discussed further, I will hold a small discussion with my partners and perhaps I will look for you some opinion later.

- Henry
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