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"In Apollion's Shadow"


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#1 Natella Speranskaja

Natella Speranskaja

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Posted 24 April 2011 - 11:42 PM

This year I am planning to shoot the film "In Apollion's Shadow" ("A l'ombre d'Apollyon") dedicated to Antonin Artaud and Unika Zurn. It's going to be an international project (Russia-France-Japan-Germany) concerning European heritage, but Antonin Artaud himself admired traditional Bali theatre, so my project is going beyond European culture's limits and concerning the world's culture. In the basis of the screenplay (nominated for Grand Prix Sopadin du Meilleur Scйnariste) there are two texts: one of them (Dark Spring) written in the middle of the last century by Unika Zurn, the painter and poet, a friend of famous Hans Bellmer; the other one, Chasing Black Shadows - by Jeremy Reed, a modern British writer.

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I've got a task to take a decisive step towards the renaissance of the author's cinema in Russia and creation of new cinema language.
We've already got the agreement for cooperation from French sculptor, painter and performance-man Olivier de Sagazan (he will act as Antonin Artaud). Besides, Artaud's nephiew and successor Serge Malaussena showed great interest in our project. Now we are negotiating with several French actors and camera-men .

The film consists of two parts. Destiny of Unika Zurn is shown in black and white, like her many paintings left as the reminder of her fatal meeting with Henri Michaux, The Man of Jasmine.

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Paris - it is here, in the capital of France that Unika Zurn started down her way in 1950s, and put a point to it just a decade later, cyphering her psychic disease in numerous anagrammes and paintings. Time is intentionally reversed, and we can see a little girl standing in front of a mirror in which, just like on a famous picture by Rene Magritte, her specular twin turned her back to her. Mirrors, doors, windows, stairways - symbols of entry and exit, of inner voyage and maybe of an invitation to take journey to a country with no name. Life of Unika Zurn - from playing with dolls and her first visions till meeting Man of Jasmine and incarceration in asylum under observation of doctor Gaston Ferdiere - stays before us as the chronical narration about plunging into abyss, psychic inferno, and not accidentally the film begins with the scene when an old man impersonating Inferno, looks too alike to Ferdiere, who in 1937 treated Antonin Artaud, too.

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The second part of the film, shot in colour, is dedicated to great Antonin Artaud, the Theatre of Cruelty's founder. Ferdiere is the uniting character for both parts. Artaud's world appears as the search for transgressive breakthrough of reality; the latter displays as the huge Shadow blocking any possibility of mutual contact. Anaїs' character embodies this paradoxical play of plentiful vitality in the thinnest immersion into deep psyche, clearly determining her limits by refusing to cross the abyss. Everyone engaged in Artaud's thirst, appears to be bound by their own souls' silver ropes and has no force to follow him - for he has torn them apart long ago, staying with his skin bleeding. His spiritual quest's culmination is climbing up the black rainbow, final denial of the silver bell's jingling, calling the world to listen to the greatest mystery; the human nature has justified his "impossible" only and lost blindfondly forever.

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--
Natella Speranskaja
Director ("À l’ombre d’Apollyôn"), Screenwriter;
philosopher, essayist
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