‘The Shadow of the Sun’ draws upon Derek Jarman’s interest with alchemical processes as a metaphor for reprocessing Super-8 film. Jarman once described film’s union of light and matter as “an alchemical conjunction” and experimented throughout his career with creating dream symbolism through the superimposition of image and action. Originally called English Apocalypse, the film’s final title is derived from a 17th Century alchemical text that used the phrase as a synonym for the philosopher’s stone – the highly sought substance that turns base metals into gold and silver. The film was intended as a step toward the idea of an ambient video, that like its musical counterpart, was designed to enhance an environment.
Ten short pieces directed by ten different directors, including Ken Russell, Jean-Luc Godard, Robert Altman, Bruce Beresford, and Nicolas Roeg. Each short uses an aria as soundtrack/sound (Vivaldi, Bach, Wagner), and is an interpretation of the particular aria.
A film with no spoken dialogue, just follows the music and lyrics of Benjamin Britten’s “War Requiem, which include WWI soldier poet Wilfred Owen’s poems reflecting the war’s horrors. It shows the story of an Englishman soldier (Wilfred Owen) and a nurse (his bride) during World War I. It also includes actual footage of contemporary wars (WWII, Vietnam, Angola, etc.)