A new film by Anna Tchernakova for which Gavin has done the music. The film has just been completed (May 2010). More information to follow.

Visit the official website at theseasonofmists.com

Visit The Seasons of Mists on imdb.com

Feature Drama
35mm, 90 minute
Kinoglaz, Russia, Zaleski Enterprises Ltd and McCartney Media, UK


© AT and ET 2006-2007

Marina, a forty-something Russian woman lives in a small village in South Leicestershire. A few years ago she married Gregory, a village garage owner, a collector of Morris Minor cars and an Ipswich Town supporter.

A journalist and a writer in her previous life, she now works at a local hairdressers and in her spare time writes for the village parish magazine. Gregory loves her, and Marina's daughter seems to flourish in English school, but Marina doesn’t feel happy and satisfied with her life - and can't really explain why. A chance encounter with a touring string quartet from Moscow throws her out of her daily routines, and unexpected love opens up all the questions, which Marina has been hiding deep inside…

It's a story about people who are moving from place to place in search for home, and can't find it anywhere. It's also a story about middle age - the age when one has already (or not) achieved something in life, but when there is still time to start everything anew. And it's a story about a Standing Stone on the outskirts of a small English village where, as some of the villagers believe, Aliens might land one day...


Written, Directed, and Produced by Anna Tchernakova
Evgenia Tirdatova and Petr Cherniaev (Kinoglaz, Russia) / Producer
Neil McCartney (McCartney Media, UK) / Producer
Anna Tchernakova (Zaleski Enterprises Ltd, UK) / Producer
with the participation of Elena Badamiants and Olga Kennedy

For information about the soundtrack for The Season of Mists, visit the Discography section.

50 minutes, colour, DigiBeta
© GB Productions, 2003
distributed by GB Productions, UK
PO Box 6353 Leics. LE7 9YH England


A 50-minute arts documentary detailing a latest solo dance ‘Writings On Water’ by the renown dancer/choreographer Carolyn Carlson as performed by her in Teatro Malibran, Venice, in March 2002.

Featuring absorbing music by Gavin Bryars, the film encompasses Carolyn Carlson’s diverse and captivating style. A short interview with Carolyn filmed in the same settings gives an insight into her unique and charismatic persona.


Produced and directed Anna Tchernakova
Camera: Rod Baker-Benfield, Dylan Moore
Location sound: Rod baker-Benfiled
Editor: Anna Tchernakova
Sound Mix: DVA studios
Production Assistant: Suzie Jackson
Researches: Suzie Jackson, Rod Baker-Benfield
Music by Gavin Bryars
Music published by Schott Music Publishers
Dance by Carolyn Carlson
Performed in Teatro Malibran, Venice, Italy
March 2002

The film is produced with participation of La Biennale di Venezia Fondazione Teatro La Fenice (Italy) Blue Bear Productions University of Lincoln (England)

Produced by
GB Productions
PO Box 6353 Billesdon Leics.
LE7 9YH England

Note : Carolyn Carlson, choreographer and performer

Carolyn Carlson, choreographer and performer

Carolyn Carlson was born in California in 1943. She studied at San Francisco Ballet School under Alwin Nikolais and was invited to create a piece for the Paris Opera Ballet in 1973. The resulting Density 21.5 was so well received that a special post was created for her.

Since then she has directed her own company at Teatro La Fenice, Venice, and now at the Teatro Malibran, which has resulted in the creation of internationally acclaimed pieces such as Undici Onde (1981), L’Orso e la Luna (1983), and Blue Lady (1985/86). Synonymous with the dance and choreography world, she spends half of her year in Venice, where she heads Dance at La Biennale di Venezia) and the other half in Paris – the surrogate homes of contemporary dance.

Aged sixty, she continues to innovate and create pieces charged with the personal emotion that is exclusive to her name.

Note : Carolyn Carlson's Interview Transcripts

Carolyn Carlson's Interview Transcripts

Carolyn Carlson Interview transcript (I)
Master Time Code 00:01:25-00:03.25
Duration 02:00

This project started with the collaboration of the Teatro La Fenice and La Biennale di Venezia. We had a big experience in the eighties here; I created a company in my four years here with very young Italian dancers. They are all consequently now choreographers and great teachers and video artists. So the Fenice asked if I would do a memory of these years in collaboration with the Biennale. So I was thinking of this idea of memory… and then who are we in the memory of the Universe, in Cosmos? I mean what is our connection in this… who were we before we were born? I am very much… attracted to these mystic states that I have often… because I feel like I am from somewhere else… I think this is not unique; I think we all have these mystic experiences. There is somewhere a memory that we come from somewhere else and we are something else other than this Earth memory, this cultural environment we live in… For the choice of the music immediately I said Gavin Bryars is the composer to support this idea. It’s interesting you don’t know where [his] music comes from and where it’s going, it’s one constant flow… This is the third time I work with Gavin but first time live music, which has been an extraordinary experience… because usually in the contemporary world you don’t have possibility of performing with live music, it’s usually on tape. Gavin has I think there are eleven Italian musicians… and that’s what makes this piece special also because everything is transparent: the music is there at the moment, the dance is at the moment, you see it now and everything disappears.

Carolyn Carlson Interview transcript (II)
Master Time Code 00:47:19 – 00:48:11
Duration 01:52

I had a wonderful Zen teacher when I was in New-York and the test was: you do a gesture in the space… and he says: no I don’t see, it did not stay, do it again. So we would do this for hours, and the precision of absolutely stuck… getting this gesture in space till you knew you stepped back and gesture was still there… I don’t know how long… But it’s a very nice way of also perceiving life… so when one says something or does something you known it might stay… so you better be careful! It’s what I call being a spiritual warrior… This is what I teach when I talk to dancers: you are like spiritual warriors, you do a gesture in space, the gesture lasts forever, so you have to do it as if forever.

Note : Writings on Water

Writings on Water

The music for Writings on Water falls into five parts - being five self-contained pieces which are played without a break to form a single, whole work. The pieces, for a small orchestra of 11 strings and piano, are:

1. Introit - for piano and strings

2. Lauda 2 - "Laude novella"  for unaccompanied solo soprano (Anna Maria Friman)

3. The North Shore - for solo viola, piano and strings

4. In Nomine (after Purcell) - for strings

5. Violin Concerto, ("The Bulls of Bashan") - for solo violin and strings

The first two of these were written specially for the dance and the others were modified substantially. In Nomine, for example, was originally for a 6-part consort of viols and is transformed when arranged for a larger ensemble of modern strings.

The work started when Carolyn chose to put the last three pieces together as a possible sequence and evolved into the work as it now stands little by little. At first a mediaeval "Lauda" was used to open the work, which was at that time half of an evening's work, but then Gavin Bryars wrote an original Lauda of his own to give greater coherence to the music. In fact, this started him out on his extensive project of writing a large volume of Lauda for Anna Maria Friman - probably more than 50 - of which 21 are already written. When it was decided to extend the piece into its present full evening form, the opening instrumental work, Introit, was added (to accompany a projected video of water) but using the same instrumental forces and making reference to other parts of the music.

35mm, 11 minutes, colour
National Film Board of Canada, Canada


An ordinary fisherman lives on a small island off the coast. He fishes year-round in his small boat without any questions, complaints or boredom. But one day a young mai-mai fish sees him and falls in love, thinking he is the most beautiful creature in the world! She offers him a gift, and, unknown to him, her love changes the way he perceives the world...

Set to original music by composer Gavin Bryars, Sea and Stars tells a romantic story of the transforming power of love — even without a happy ending.


Technique: Drawings on paper with computer rendering
Length: 11 minutes 1 second
Story, editing, design and digital graphics Anna Tchernakova
Direction Anna Tchernakova and Georgine Strathy
Animation and design Georgine Strathy
Narrator John Neville
Original music  Gavin Bryars 
Executive producer David Verrall
National Film Board of Canada,  2002

Note : Original Text of Sea and Stars by Anna Tchernakova

Original Text of Sea and Stars by Anna Tchernakova

© 1995 Anna Tchernakova

Mistake or Sea and Stars

a sea tale

People might think that water cannot hold the words and that  stories are best stored in the books, but in fact, it is the ocean which carries all the old yarns, writing and rewriting them  on the wet sand. Sometimes one can see fading words in the seconds  between one wave, oozing away on the shore, and the following one, foamily rushing forward.

A middle-aged fisherman lived on a small island  near Newfoundland. He fished year round in his old boat, without any questions, complaints or boredom. It was as natural for him as breathing, and no more difficult than life itself .

However, from time to time an inexplicable longing for something (he could not imagine what for) weakened the fisherman’s hands and eyes. He  would stop fishing and stare motionlessly to the horizon, as if he were trying to discern distant unknown worlds. On these days the best fish would safely remain in the ocean.

On one such day, a young mai-mai fish (her name was Fai-mai-sai-ouf, which means “she who always escapes”, and friends called her fondly Fa-Ma), jumped out of the water, saw him and  fell in love.

If you ask me why it happened, I couldn’t explain. At that moment the fish thought this man was the most attractive creature in the world - an obvious mistake, because he was no more than an ordinary fisherman. And this first misunderstanding led to all the following mistakes and confusion.

Fa-Ma, lost and shocked, stayed near the boat till dusk. Then the fisherman picked up his catch and went back to the shore, and Fa-Ma dove to hide herself in a coral cave. She wanted to take a long deep  breath and think. She always tried to apply logic and be clear in her thinking. 

So, at first, she acknowledged that her fate and her entire future were now dramatically predetermined by what had happened. Second, it was pointless to cry (especially in the middle of the sea). Third, love was as hot and big as a fallen meteor, and its invisibility did not refute its undeniable reality. It was a gift she wanted to offer to the fisherman; the problem was how to find a suitable medium...

Lost in thought, she was slowly drifting over the coral shelf full of human garbage. Suddenly something unusual sparkled in the darkness. She approached. A beautiful shining fish looked at her with astonishment. Fa-Ma  stopped. The fish did the same. Fa-Ma turned her head in a greeting. The other fish imitated her movements, staring at her with a strange intensity. Fa-Ma came closer.  It was not a fish. It was a thin piece of something broken stuck in the brown seaweed. From the other side it was gray and ugly. But the front... Fa-Ma had seen different human pictures before, while visiting cabins of sunken boats, but she never saw anything so beautiful and alive. She didn’t guess that the gorgeous fish was herself in the piece of broken mirror. Love glowed from within her, and she was no longer the unnoticeable gray shadow from before. But she didn’t know it.

She decided she could not find a better present for the fisherman than that portrait of the scintillating fish, an amulet which would bring him luck in his catch. Since she had fallen in love, she forgot about an important moral aspect of fishing, affecting her friends and relatives. It’s a common consequence of falling in love.  I dare to say that to some extent she had became more of a fisherman than a fish. That’s why she wished to help him catch as much fish as possible. So she picked up the mirror and floated to the surface.

The sun appeared on the horizon. The sea was covered with a tender fog. A distant boat seemed to be a formless dark point, ink on a sheet of rough watercolor paper. It was her fisherman - he was always the first to start work. Fa-Ma swam towards him , carrying her present as if it were her soul. Indeed, it was.  She didn’t know that there was no longer a fish in the mirror. Now it reflected the high pale sky with a fading moon in the middle of it.

The fisherman started to prepare his net and hooks. He looked around the boat, trying to figure out where the fish were gathering today. But instead he saw the moon. He did not believe his eyes and moved closer. Now he saw a little star, lost in the deep quiet water. Fa-Ma was carrying the mirror with all her fins, balancing slowly near the boat. She carefully peeked at the fisherman. His eyes were full of surprise, and he smiled. He loves my fish amulet, decided Fa-Ma.

This day the fisherman did not catch any fish. He kept staring into the waves, transfixed. A mysterious bliss-like smile stayed on his face. He thought that in a strange way he had become capable of seeing the essence of things. Which was again a mistake. What he was looking at was no more then a piece of broken mirror, taken by the confused Fa-Ma for a portrait of a beautiful fish.

Every day, since this morning, as soon as the fisherman left the port and approached clear deep water, Fa-Ma would come with the mirror and follow the boat everywhere till dusk.  

And the fisherman. . .  He didn’t care anymore about his net and hooks. Hypnotized, he looked into the waves, where the mirror was reflecting something he had never known, but always longed for: stars and clouds, angels and aliens, and fleeting images of other worlds we all dream about. On the third day he took out of his pocket a small notebook and started to write. He wanted to describe what he was seeing in the waves, because he wanted to remember it forever.

By the end of the first week he lost his job—he didn’t bring in a single fish. He did not care. He was busy writing, and his poems came out so beautifully that soon they were published in the three major literary magazines of the country, and he became very, very famous. He barely noticed it. He did not look for an explanation of what he was witnessing. He just tried to document it as carefully and precisely as he had handled his hooks. His obsession made him handsome in a way he had never been before. And Fa-Ma, looking at him from bellow the waves, was fully and foolishly happy.

Every evening, however, he returned to town. And something logical and inescapable happened quite soon. He fell in love. . .

He looked at her selling fish and thought that never in his fisherman's life had he seen anyone so aristocratic and gracious. He wanted to give her everything he had: his soul, his life and the arcane world which he was seeing beneath the waves.

The woman was surprised that the fisherman had started to talk to her, breaking his usual solemnness. She thought that, perhaps, it had not been not solemnness, but merely shyness. She thought that, perhaps, he had always liked her but had not dared to approach. She liked the fisherman, too, and would not mind to spend with him the rest of her life.

He asked her if she believed in miracles. Yes, she answered. He asked if she would believe in one if she saw it. Of course, she replied with a sincere enthusiasm. . .

He invited her on to his boat. They left the dock early, before sunrise, sailed far from the coast and dropped anchor. The fisherman looked over the side into the water. Fa-Ma was there.

The mirror reflected a high sky with white long threads of horse tail cirrus clouds. The fisherman forgot that these clouds were nothing but the sign of an approaching storm. He saw there a fairy tale written in an unknown language. He wanted to tell the woman this fairy tale, he thought that he had guessed what it was about. “This is the miracle,’ he said.

This very moment, impatient, the woman approached the stern of the boat and looked into the waves. From her angle she didn’t see a reflection of the sky. Instead she saw herself. She burst out laughing. “It’s not a miracle, it’s just a mirror!” - she said. 

She was not mistaken. And the chain of all the previous mistakes was finally broken.

The fisherman’s heart stopped. His face paled. He moved forward, keeping his eyes on the mirror. Then suddenly, with all his clothes on, he jumped into the water. The impact hit Fa-Ma. For a moment she lost consciousness. The fisherman dove and grabbed the piece of mirror. He surfaced, looked at his own stunned reflection in it, then hurled it and returned to the boat. He turned around and headed back to the coast. All the way the woman laughed and teased him. He did not say a word.

. . .

The next morning the fisherman threw away his notebook and picked up his net and hooks. He went to the sea to fish. His eyes did not sparkle any more, his lips did not smile, and he looked like an ordinary, middle-aged fisherman, which in fact he was. Nothing more.

            The fisherwoman returned to selling her fish, sneezing and coughing after her unfortunate miracle trip, and now blaming the fisherman for all the unhappiness of her life.

And Fa-Ma... Fai-mai-sai-ouf, “she who always escapes”... Blinded by an incredible pain she had never known before, she approached the fisherman’s boat and hooked herself on one of his hooks. She did not notice the moment of death. She thought she was falling asleep, and in her dream the fisherman was a dolphin, swimming and jumping around her.


It would be a desperately sad ending if I did not mention one detail. The fisherman’s poems, however, never die. They float and fly around the Earth, scintillating like little mirrors, reflecting nonexistent wonderlands, more real that the real life.


Delta - Montreal - Boston - etc.

Note : Making of SEA AND STARS by Anna Tchernakova

Making of SEA AND STARS by Anna Tchernakova

I found myself making an animation film almost by accident.

I trained as a film director having spent five years studying at VGIK, the Moscow State Film School founded by Sergei Eisenstein. My first encounters with film-making happened in the context of the great tradition of Russian cinema and my teachers were those who had taught Mikhalkov, Tarkovski and Sokurov. I worked in 35mm, and edited on a Steenbeck, and spent long hours in pre-production rehearsals with drama actors from leading Moscow theatres.

I left Russia in 1994 after having made my first feature, The Cherry Orchard, and planned to continue pursuits as a fiction film director. Although this background might seem inappropriate for someone making animation film, the respect for craft, technique and aesthetic judgement serves as a preparation for any form of film making in the long run. I should also add that I came to the film school with my experience as an artist having first graduated from an Arts College in St. Petersbourg in Interior Design and therefore could paint and draw.

It was a winter in Montreal. I felt disappointed after my Canadian feature project did not get all the required financing and after two weeks of filming in the midst of January I had to stop the production. Something strange happened then to my left knee which made me bed-bound on antibiotic injections (administered at home by myself) for ten days. The whiteness of the street and the disappearing silhouette of the Mont Royal drew me, motionless, into writing.

In a week I wrote a collection of fairy-tales for grown-ups. The stories came with drawings I made with black ink and toothpicks. The greatest number of drawings were produced for a tale called Mistake or Sea and Stars. This tale told the story of a fish who fell in love with a fisherman, and had a very sad ending.

One of my friends who were saving me from starvation by supplying me with bagels from a Jewish bakery on St. Aviateur and veggies from now extinct supermarket called Warsaw, said I should show the text and the drawings to the National Film Board of Canada because ‘it would make a nice little film’.

At this moment I knew little about the NFB (and, to my shame, nothing about their animation studio) except that it was divided into two parts, a French and an English one, in my imagination separated by a grey concrete wall.As soon as my knee started bending again, and the snow melted, I bicycled to a remote part of Montreal where a dull red-brick building of the National Board of Canada stood, facing a busy highway.

I found the atmosphere of the studios rather friendly and the Anglophones and the Francophones pleasantly mingling together. The executive producer of the English Animation studio, then Barrie Angus McLean (who I later learned had a few Oscar nominations for animation films he had produced at the NFB) took an unusual, for an executive, step: he read the tale and looked at the drawings in my presence. He said that he loved them. Would I like to make an animation film? He asked. Well, I thought, perhaps I can do it while in between my main feature projects?

In September 1997 the film officially went into production. As my animation experience was non-existent I was given an old animation savvy, Georgine Strathy, to help to convert my drawings into moving images. We spent a couple of months researching, and accumulating possible visual references, designing our characters, trying different techniques of animation.

My inspiration came from old black and white wood engravings and this characterised the opening scenes. The appearance of love in the story, however, brought about the appearance of colour. At the same time my original drawings had to be simplified to allow for the movement to be created in 6 to 12 drawings per second. To understand the craft I learned the basics of pencil animation, (and even my five-year old daughter learned how to animate a bouncing ball).

By the end of the development period I produced a detailed, short by short, storyboard. While I had to use my own text as the backbone of the story (we recorded a draft shortened version of the story as our guide-track narration) I wanted to explore the same approach I developed in my fiction work: ‘improvisation’ on the outskirts of the story, introduction of the characters via incidents, floating metaphors etc.

Georgine time-mapped my story-board with her sketched ‘a frame a second’ animation. Ultimately it was agreed that our responsibilities would be split in the following way: Based on my story-board, Georgine was to produce pencil animation using a separate layer for every moving object. Often an object would be divided in separate levels: our fisherman, for example, was often composed of four to five layers: his face, his hands, his body, his hair and his clothes. I was to scan the drawings (using SGI Toonz software), combine different layers into a single frame, produce and add watercolours where necessary, add effects and camera movements, and render the final sequence so that it could be output to 35mm.

I learned some programming basics for Unix but mainly used Adobe AfterEffects: scanned images were imported and assembled, additional watercolours scanned and added, the test Quick Movie would be viewed and evaluated by our producer, Marcy Page, before being approved for 35mm shooting.

While I could not quite control the drawings themselves (and inevitably they sometimes differed from the exact models of my storyboard) I had the total control over the composition and camera movements, and the final responsibility for the output.

By that time I already lived in Victoria, British Columbia, and communicated with my producer and Georgine Strathy by email and Fedex.The visuals were finally completed in 2001, after many re-renderings and re-shooting.

I moved once more, this time to England, where I did the rough assembly of the film using Adobe and went to Montreal in September 2001 to do the final editing on 35mm Steenbeck using the narration I had recorded with an English-born Canadian actor John Neville.

Coming from fictional and factual background I did not hesitate to cut off seconds of footage to help the pace and coherence of the story which at first did not win me favours with Georgine as each second equalled hours and hours of her (and mine!) work!

For a fiction film which I had directed in Canada, in parallel with this animation film, I had worked with the English composer Gavin Bryars. We subsequently married and I turned to him for the music for Sea and Stars. Recognising that a texturally rich and complex score would be inappropriate for such a film he produced music of great charm and simplicity, using only guitar and viola – with some rudimentary multi-tracking. The viola was partially suggested by the fact that, at one point, one character in the animation plays a series of chords on a violin, rather in the manner of the opening of a Bach Chaconne – the viola, being more sombre in tone and with a greater sense of melancholy.

The music was recorded in England and sent over to Canada in time for the mix. When I went back to Montreal for the final sound mix I discovered that the sound engineer had created very complex follies and effects tracks, much of which was ultimately discarded during the mix, in favour of a more transparent sound.

The mix itself was a luxury – we had three 8-hour days which we used in full. The marriage between the sound, the music and the image on a big screen was magical, my dreamt characters came to life, and there was a wonderful sense of completion of the work, which had gone on for five years!

Would I want to make another animation film? I found animation a solitary occupation requiring incredible persistence and single-mindedness, far away from the excitement and inspiration of a live action shoot. In the same time the total control which can be executed over a frame, and the very act of creating movement and, therefore, time itself, from frame-by-frame drawings has something irresistibly enticing about it. I was very much a scholar of a new medium in this first animation film. By the end of it I think I learned what the animation is about. Perhaps it is time to start drawing?

(originally written for the Direct Magazine, Directors Guild Of Great Britain)

Note : Orginal Drawings for Sea and Stars

Orginal Drawings for Sea and Stars

© Anna Tchernakova


44 minutes/DVCAM/DigiBeta
Produced and directed Anna Tchernakova
© GB Productions 2002
distributed by GB Productions
PO Box 6353 Leics. LE7 9YH England


A documentary about a joint musical endeavour of a small village in the Midlands and internationally acclaimed British composer Gavin Bryars.  Three years ago the inhabitants of a small village, where Gavin Bryars lives, asked if he would agree to compose a piece of music which could be performed together by people of all ages and all abilities  - farmers, workers, children, retired folks - in the village hall on the Millennium Eve. The documentary, comprising footage shot over three years, shows what happened next and how the music project transformed the life of the village – a fascinating story about ordinary people united in an extraordinary communal creative effort.


53 minute film
original story by PK Page
film story by Anna Tchernakova
music by Gavin Bryars
produced by Hilary Jones-Farrow
directed by Anna Tchernakova

PK Page as Babe
Henry as Dexter

and musicians:
Gavin Bryars (bass, conductor), Yariv Aloni (viola), Nic Eugelmi (viola), Paula Kiffner (cello), Eve Egoyan (piano), Keith MacLeod (bass-clarinet), Salvador Ferreras (percussion)


(The title of the film was changed for the CBC broadcast to 'Last Summer.')

The title of PK Page's story 'Unless the Eye Catch Fire...' is a quotation from a poem by Theodore Roszak's Where the Wasteland Ends ('Unless the eye catch fire The God will not be seen...).

PK's text describes the actions and thoughts of an elderly woman living in a quiet garden suburb during the final few months when the Earth warms up.

The story suggests that during this time certain individuals have visions accompanied by vivid colours and a sense of well-being. The protagonist of the story is one of these visionaries, and as the temperature rises, her visions become more complex and more real. Eventually, sealed in her home with its many recent layers of thick insulation against the heat, the old lady and her dog unite, in her mind, joyously, with a universal cosmos.

While on one level an example of poetic science-fiction on ecological issues, the story unfolds the metaphysics of the transient human existence and deals with death as a transition dissolving borders between the human soul and universe.

The film 'Unless The Eye Catch Fire...' featuring PK Page as the author as well as the protagonist of the story, is a blend of documentary, live-action drama and computer transformations of the image. The border between 'real' and 'invented' is blurred from the very start when the first vision of colours occurs before the story is written/read on the screen. At this point PK is not identified as Babe, the protagonist, and the visionary experience becomes her own. . . reality? a dream?

Another level of interpretation is suggested almost immeadiately: the spectators are invited to a concert, the first world performance of music 'Unless The Eye Catch Fire...' written by Gavin Bryars. The music, wrritten and performed for the film, becomes a part of it. The performance, started with on-stage reading of an extract from the story by PK Page, happened in Victoria, B.C. in June 1999. It is documented in the film where after first several minutes of the recital the music yields to the image becoming an audio backbone upon which the visuals form. PK Page (whose narration continues as a voice-over) becomes Babe. When the narrative is interrupted by our return to the concert hal

l to see the performing musicians, the music is brought on the foreground to comment on the story, to transpose it into a different dimension, but also to serve as a frame within which the story happens. There are no final answers, no final truths; while the world is burn out and the earth ceases to exist, Babe/PK transcends into a different level of existence (dissolved into colours), the musicians leave the stage, the public disappears and there at the end is only a little girl who picks up the manuscript (the text? the music?) left on the empty stage and exists the hall...

What can reassure us that the world is still continuing and our vision is not suffering ( why is it always suffering, never enjoying? asks Babe in the story ) from any abnormal colour perception?

Anna Tchernakova

Note : Programme note by Gavin Bryars

Programme note by Gavin Bryars

Unless The Eye Catch Fire (1999)

I was very struck by the material sent to me by film director Anna Tchernakova relating to her film based on the short story by PK Page. I read the story, I saw some early footage, I became acquainted with other work by PK and by Anna and I was very happy to make what is my first serious foray into writing music for a film.

Music is central to the film, indeed the film itself opens and closes with images from the concert performance. We agreed that the music should have an autonomous existence as chamber music and should not be merely a sequence of musical cues. It does, of course, endeavour to be at one with the poignancy of the text and the eloquence of its filmed realisation and ultimately forms part of an overall sound design.

The music is in 6 parts each having a relationship - sometimes clear, sometimes oblique - to a simple chorale which appears in different guises. The first part is a short and simple statement of this chorale. Some sections begin with a statement of this material but then lead to different developments from it. In two sections (sections 2 and 4) the theme is not stated but rather covered by its development. The last variation, which features the unison double bass and bass clarinet, ends with a brief coda, reminiscent of a pipe lament.

The instrumentation is close to that of my own ensemble which tends to feature the darker, richer sonorities of the lower strings, supported by the bass clarinet, allied to the brighter sounds of keyboard and tuned percussion.

This instrumental balance and contrast - between darkness and light, richness and austerity - is intended to be at one with both text and film.

The six parts of Unless The Eye Catch Fire are as follows:

I Chorale

II Variation 1 - covered

III Variation 2 - major/minor

IV intermezzo

V Variation 3 - waltz

VI Variation 4 - minor/major

Gavin Bryars.

Note : For all inquires about the film

For all inquires about the film

Unless The Eye Catch Fire (1999)

Please write to the producer:

Hilary Jones-Farrow,
The May Street Group
1274 May Street
Victoria, B.C. V8V 2T2

e-mail: maystreet@pinc.com