Words and images

a scene from a book “Winter in the morning”
written by Janina Bauman

Nina Chrzanowska as “Janina”
director Pawel Kuczynski

An upcoming documentary on Zygmunt Bauman will include a few scenes from “Winter in the morning” by Janina Bauman. The book inspired “Modernity and the Holocaust”, hence an attempt to explore the relationship between the two titles: the Warsaw Ghetto memoir and the ground breaking sociological treatise.

In staging the “Winter” scenes we wanted to pay tribute to the written word. At the same time we knew that the exact presentation of that which the off screen voice reads would result in a mere illustration. This would diminish both worlds and images and produce a lame scene.

While playing with the footage it became clear that any slight gap between the voice and the corresponding images would open up the scene, allowing for some air. It would trigger the imagination and make the perception active.

Perhaps such “non illustrative” approach is healthy not only when one has to join a text off screen with its visual representation but also when any text, any script has to be manifested visually.

That would mean that a goal of a narrative visual storytelling is not to show the content but to trigger imagination so it can enter the content.

The shot above by Andrzej Belina Brzozowski. Some "making off" material from the production is here.

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