Festival 2021
Declan Clarke

SATURN AND BEYOND

Ireland / 2021 / 60’
World Premiere

The beginning of the film is strikingly austere: it looks like an educative documentary based on still frames, diagrams and photographs, with a didactic voice-over, about the invention of electricity and early long-distance communication. But that grim start is a ploy, and is actually a launching pad to many other dimensions. You may remember the singular and so beautiful We are not like them (FID 2013) and Wreckage in May (FID 2016), the last two chapters of what Declan Clarke called his “Geist Trilogy”. These almost mute films noirs investigated, respectively, modern history and modernist urban-planning utopias, and the Paris Commune upheaval. Once again, “progress” and the unruly herd of its ghosts are summoned in this film. Except there is a major difference this time: Declan Clarke shares a part of his autobiography, more specifically his father’s passion, in a film playfully structured in four chapters and one interlude. He recounts his early childhood, the holiday trips following the fatherly pilgrimages, up until the closing down of the museum founded by his father (the Irish Museum of Broadcasting), and the story of the man’s mental breakdown. That is indeed an unusual journey to talk about science. The journey also includes, in a deeply touching interweaving, first a reflection on the exponential growth of Alzheimer’s in our society, and second, a meditation on the history of famous Cassini orbiter. Such is the unique and bold challenge of the film: connecting the stubbornness of one individual with cosmic vastness, the only thing that could ever match it. Therefore, a serious tone was actually required to deal with elegy, and with the director’s will to make this film an ode to human making of brand-new tools, to transmission of knowledge as a passion, to the upholding of the utopias of dialogue, to refusing to forget, to his own father and to the whole universe.

(Jean-Pierre Rehm)

Technical sheet

Original Version : English.
Subtitles : French.
Script : Declan Clarke.
Photography : Andreas Bunte, Jaro Waldeck, Declan Clarke.
Editing : Declan Clarke. Son : Adam Asnan, Jamie Lemoine.
Casting : Declan Clarke, Paddy Clarke.
Production : Declan Clarke.
Filmography : The Hopeless End of a Great Dream, 2016. Wreckage in May, 2015. The Most Cruel of All Goddesses, 2015. Group Portrait with Explosives, 2014. We Are Not Like Them, 2013. Cologne Overnight, 2010.

 

INTERVIEW WITH THE DIRECTOR

Director

Declan Clarke

Festival

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