'WHEN FOREVER DIES' IS 'A CASCADE OF FOUND-FOOTAGE IMAGERY' EDITED INTO COHERENT STORY
Our old friend Peet Gelderblom, who famously re-cut Raising Cain back to something resembling Brian De Palma's original idea for that film, has been working on a new project for the past couple of years: When Forever Dies, described as "an archival fiction film assembled from fragments of hundreds of largely forgotten movies, most of which are rarely seen today." The film will have its world premiere next month at the Imagine Film Festival in Amsterdam, and they've started a crowdfunding page for the final stages of production. You'll find a compelling trailer posted there. Here's more from the crowdfunding description:
Writer/director Peet Gelderblom joined forces with the prestigious Eye Filmmuseum and production company Tangerine Tree to repurpose a treasure trove of moving images into a genre-bending found-footage fantasia, 125 years in the making.
Silent movies, propaganda, animation, newsreels, advertising, trick films, burlesque, educational shorts and experimental cinema unearthed from dusty archival sources were painstakingly curated and cleverly re-mixed to create an immersive sensory experience. Held together by a compelling narrative, anonymous strips of celluloid were combined with nitrate prints of long-lost classics and given new meaning. Fully enveloping sound design was added to cast the vintage imagery - often color-tinted, sometimes degraded, but always gorgeous - in a different light.
The film features original music by Pieter Straatman, Kettel and Man After Midnight, classical pieces and an eclectic mix of existing tracks.
The page also includes Gelderblom's Director's Statement:
This film, made of 125 years of film, is dedicated to all of the artists, producers and technicians before the lens and behind the scenes who gave cinema light and shadow. And to the archivists keeping the magic alive when movies are sometimes forgotten.
Archival footage is usually deployed to document the past: to create a time capsule of what once was and is no more. That’s the traditional approach and perfectly legitimate, but the vast creative possibilities that film archives offer are rarely explored in full.
For this particular project I was not interested in what Werner Herzog has called “the truth of accountants.” I don’t see these largely forgotten moving pictures as ancient relics, but as living things. In a recycled context, pieces of old film have the power to open doors of perception—at once timeless and relevant to our times.
The tools of the digital age allow filmmakers as myself to clash perspectives, combine wildly different sources in unexpected ways and overlay a contemporary point of view. When these antiquated images are used as building blocks for archival fiction or other experiments, they offer a vintage lens through which one can see the world of today more clearly.
In the age of sampling and recycling, it’s only logical to consider the potential of a circular cinema: a second chance for orphaned reels of film to find a new home. When Forever Dies is my attempt to take this concept as far as I could, but I never expected the end product to feel so personal.
As I dived into the archives, the archives also dived into me. I chose to work only with images that really spoke to me, and much to my surprise, the images I found demanded a discussion. What started out as my ode to cinema became a manifestation of all I hold dear and fear of losing, as alluring as it is distressing.