Face of an Angel

Ian Wiblin (Producer), Anthea Kennedy (Producer)

Research output: Non-textual formArtefact


Face of an Angel (Viso d’Angelo) was an exploratory commission from the Lucca International Film Festival, Italy. Along with my collaborator, Anthea Kennedy, I was commissioned to make a five-minute film in response to he work of the life or work of the composer Giacomo Puccini. Our film is an experimental interpretation of Puccini’s opera ‘La Fanciulla del West’ (The Girl of the Golden West). Our aim was to make an essentially visual interpretation of the opera’s central themes without literal representation of the precise story. The resulting work alludes to Puccini’s opera principally through a soundtrack constructed of a various sounds, brief ‘sampled’ fragments of opera performance and a fragmentary voice-over that references particular gestures, moments or events within the libretto.

The film is experimental, and constitutes research, through the ways in which it seeks to derive a new form through the appropriation and interpretation of other media. The film is shot is the scarred black landscape of an open cast mine at Merthyr Tydfil in south Wales, one of the original coal mining areas which fuelled the industrial revolution in Britain. Thus the film seeks to create a political and historical significance through ironic contrasts made between the source subject material and the responding created imagery and sound. Taking the theme of redemption – as a universal theme that connects the original work with contemporary concerns – the film depicts choreographed yellow dumper trucks, portraits of miners and – in more general narrative terms – an escape to “another life”, using the painterly surface of low-format video. The application of digital video in extreme lighting conditions for particular aesthetic effect forms part of the visual research of the project.

Face of an Angel (UK/IT 2008, 6 mins) Commissioned by Lucca Film Festival as part of the series Twenty Puccini. Screenings: Lucca Film Festival, Italy (2008) European Media Arts Festival, Osnabrueck (2009), Côté Court, Paris (2009), Festival de Nouveau Cinéma Montreal (2009), Traverse Video, Toulouse (2010), Musique en Images, Paris (2010) Microscope Gallery, New York City (2011), Images contre Nature Festival, Marseilles (2011), Thessaloniki Film Festival, Experimental Forum, (2011)
Original languageEnglish
Media of outputFilm
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2008


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