Traces of Didda 2

During the recent film festival Zone Portuaires at Saint-Nazaire, dedicated to Scandinavian film, Ollivier Moreels, Jean-Louis Vincendeau and I had the honour to colloborate with the Icelandic actress and poet Didda Jonsdottir. We filmed in the port of Saint-Nazaire where Didda wrote some of her poems on the rusty buoys as part of The Film without End by Moreels and Vincendeau.

The movie recordings have now been edited and subtitled. You can find them here.

The text by Jean-Louis Vincendeau is a poetic description of the film shooting with references to the wonderful film Back soon by Solveig Anspach in which Didda Jonsdottir plays the lead role. The text also makes allusion to the follow up project by Currer Bell College in which the relation between Saint-Nazaire, Nantes, Rouen and Iceland will be further explored. To be continued.

Rusty sea buoys deposited there as in a cemetery have known a more enviable destiny. Essential to pilots to carry the ships to port, they have saved many lives without looking like it, and there, after being painted and repainted, they are faded, rusty and considered to be end-of-life, discharged on this unfrequented part of the basin.

They saw ships throughout these years of good and loyal service, they are now distanced from currents and storms and thus form a gallery of endearing portraits on their flanks, especially for a female poet like Didda Jonsdottir on a sighting walk in the port.

These buoys or rusty beacons, empty shells, become the support of poems written in Icelandic by Didda with chalks and therefore ephemeral. A poetess actress at the same time tender and a fighter, sharp and almost fierce, she imposes an eruptive tongue; words that flow like the lava of her island, irrigated by a life force, an urgency.

Walk among the rusty buoys of our passenger, both puzzled and resolute about the fate of offensive and offensive beauty. In this context one could repeat Paul Valéry’s sentence: “I feel every word in all its strength, for I have waited for it indefinitely”.

We can come back on ‘brazen’ in one of her poems, the bones struck by the cold, the floor creaking, later the young woman fighting with language, there to hold the chalk, here to clear the snow in the middle of the day in the living matter. The mute that comes to dig her words in memory of a paralysed raven, the drop in its beak. Landscape cloudy waiting, the word “sprout”.

In 1864, according to Jules Verne, a neighbour from Nantes, three explorers found the entrance to the centre of the earth; on 20 June 2019, the eve of summer, 155 years later, three other daring explorers return to the same path.* Following the discovery of an ancient Runic manuscript, it is necessary to return to the foot of the famous volcano Snæfellsjökull, the “glacier of the snow mountain” and to find the passage…

* The first three were Otto Lidenbrock, his nephew Axel and Hans Bjelke, the next three were Edith Doove, Ollivier Moreels and Jean-Louis Vincendeau


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