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 direction. Do not name the director.
This film was conceived, created and executed by the director - in collaboration, of course, with the brand.
The film had a low budget, but the resulting small crew size and limitations on equipment were embraced as they suited the available-light aesthetic of the kind of night photography which the brand - being famous for their small, lightweight cameras and ultra-light-sensitive lenses - is noted for.
The director took an unconventional approach to casting - often using non-professionals - and used an experimental and improvisatory process during the shoot to find/create the moments which became the film.
The underlying structure of the Byron poem and the places where the words match the images gave shape to the film, while the director also strove during shooting and postproduction to preserve an element of what feels like the 'found'.
In about 80% of the scenes, the director was also the cinematographer.
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