PADDINGTON PICTURES, London / LEICA / 2020
Write a short summary of what happens in the film.
An evocative nocturnal journey, set to Byron’s poem ‘She Walks in Beauty Like the Night’. The story is told through the eyes of seven female photographers in different cities and landscapes as they each move through the night, capturing the unexpected worlds that come alive after dark where they are.
The film interprets “She Walks” as applying to the journeying of the female street photographers, and interprets the “beauty” of night-time inclusively – to include the sad, the sinister, the suggestive, the confrontational.
Shot around the globe in Berlin, Bucharest, New York, Los Angeles, New Orleans, Paris, Lesotho and Johannesburg, the scenes in the film range from mountain landscapes to city life, from glimpses of crime to moments of romance.
The film gathers pace and builds more and more tension, culminating in a Blood Moon and engaging the viewer directly, asking: What will you see in the dark?
Cultural / Context information for the jury
The spoken words are the famous 1814 poem by Lord Byron - "She Walks In Beauty Like The Night', which was written to describe a darkly beautiful woman. It is one of the most widely known English poems and will be familiar to many in the English-speaking world.
Taking a fresh angle, however, this film reverses the direction of the gaze when compared to the poem. The female photographers it features define the visual perspective, while the beauty that they walk in is the mysterious dark beauty of the night, not their own beauty.
So the film recasts a poem which was originally about looking at a woman to be, instead, about women looking, and what they see in the dark.
Tell the jury anything relevant about the cinematography.
The cinematography was integral to the concept, this being a film for an imaging brand, about the capabilities of their equipment in low light.
The camerawork and lighting were designed to:
- capture the low-light aesthetic of nocturnal street photography.
- give the viewer the feeling of going on a journey into the night.
- embody the mystery and intrigue of the night.
- convey the experience of hunting for photographs, out in the world at night.
So a ‘found’ quality was an important element in visuals, alongside an evocative visual style to captivate the viewer with only hints at narrative.
The film was made with a small crew and minimal lighting package. We didn’t feel limited by this. It felt true to the nature of the film we were making, and inherently linked to the task of embodying what’s magical about walking the streets at night alone, taking pictures.
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