Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird
Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird, 2020
Our process in making this film from Wallace Steven's famous poem, "Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird," now in the public domain, was to capture the startling images his words evoked for us using whatever crazy means necessary, and to manipulate those images in unexpected and visually poetic ways. What we hope to achieve is something like what Stevens lauded in translations of his poems in foreign languages, where what mattered to him was carrying "the poems forward without regard to the words." Williams seems generally skeptical about literary exegesis of his work. Regarding the collection including "Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird," Stevens commented that the poems were "not meant to be collection of epigrams or of ideas, but of sensations." Later, writing about a different poem ("Fabliau of Florida"), but perhaps also apropos for "Blackbirds," he insists, "it is not the sense ... that counts, because It does not have a great deal of sense; it is the feeling of the words and the reaction and images that the words create." We hope we have created a flight of fancy with our adaptation of "Blackbirds," a nonsense that carries Stevens' poem forward in a new way.
Our film is still out of the festival circuit, but you can see our promo trailer for "Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird" here.