Art Cinema and Marquee TV are proud to announce the digital release of War Work: Eight Songs with Film, Michael Nyman’s creation commemorating the centenary of the First World War. A total artwork, it combines various visual, poetic and musical archives.
Eight songs form a song cycle inspired by the Belgian Gaston de Ruyter’s Chansons Vieilles sur d’Autres Airs (old songs to other tunes). Poems written by poets who all died during the war, except David Bomberg, are set to music based on emblematic tunes by Beethoven, Rossini, Schubert, Chopin and others.
Without a voice-over, War Work reveals the potency of images from German and French First World War film archives which have rarely been seen. The film element, edited by Max Pugh, unearths the bodies of war – mutilated and disfigured soldiers – which have too often been forgotten. War Work does not show the slaughter but the effects of war and its memory: the psychological trauma and the physical wounds caused by a humanitarian disaster after which nothing would be the same again.
“It’s a film without any dialogue, commentary or interviews, and it is basically raw visual material and raw sound material. It’s a thrilling way of making a film and a thrilling way of using images with intelligence.
“This kind of stream of consciousness approach of being a quasi-documentary maker I think has been the most thrilling film project I’ve ever been involved with, and now I have a real appetite for taking this approach and making other films with available documentation.” Michael Nyman 2018
Digital release: Marquee TV, December 15th 2018
Download the press release