Project 16 – Alternative Narratives


Find some examples of alternative narratives.

In each case try to identify the nature of the narrative.
This is best achieved by watching the film without any pre-conceptions. Don’t analyse the first time you watch, just watch. Afterwards ask yourself how you felt as you watched. What were you thinking?

  • Did the film take you on an emotional journey? Did it cause any reaction – even irritation or boredom? Why was this?
  • How was it achieved?
  • What questions were you asking yourself, what puzzled you? What strange ideas poppedinto your head?
  • Did your feelings or understanding change later when you remembered the film?It is often necessary to watch a film a couple of times before you form a strong sense of it. Of course your interpretation may be very different to someone else’s. This is how it should be. Consider it as a form of poetry.

Anima Mundi (1992)

I have just finished watching the non narrative movie, Anima Mundi and feel almost in a daze. I’ve never watched anything like it in my life and am at a loss of how to start this review.  It was so powerful, the imagery, the music, I feel like I’ve just surfaced from a warped dream that merged into a nightmare at times. I wrote down some notes and ideas or thoughts that flickered through my mind but didn’t write an actual review until it was over.

Anima Mundi is a non narrative movie, just under half an hour long, it’s a beautiful and haunting blend of music and imagery of the natural world. It made me feel like every single animal and movement were all notes in a very elaborate piece of music or even a dance the way the music rhythm took you. I felt in a stupor, I could see faces in the crashing ocean waves, monsters in the shapes of rocks, the seaweed was dancing to the rhythm,. It was so bizarre and phenomenal I couldn’t even look away.

At first with the power of the music I felt like I was almost trapped in a nightmare, not in the sense to criticise the film, far from it, but the combination of flickering images, haunting music, powerful dream beats created an incredible, disconcerting portrayal of the natural world. The course said to think about strange questions you had while watching it and my most bizarre was imagining people or life forms not from this planet arriving and before they could view the planet they would be shown this film. What would they think? Would they be amazed, terrified, perhaps they’d think it was a joke, that creatures like that couldn’t exist, or maybe they’d run wondering what type of place earth was. But thinking about it what would Victorians think, what would Ancient civilisations think? What’s ironic and interesting is that human civilisation has changed so dramatically throughout the ages and while there has been evolution, the animals from this video have not, they may have evolved slightly different but this film is Eternal in that what we see now will have been the same hundreds of years ago which makes the human race feel strangely fragile, an illusion, a flickering mirage compared to that of the steadfast natural world. Perhaps I am babbling, all I know is that this film was a whole new league.

This beautiful film was created by the director Godfrey Reggio and composer Philip Glass. I didn’t read anything about the movie before I watched it, thus the message I thought was being portrayed was showing the array and diversity of life. After watching it I read that it was created to celebrate the World Wildlife Fund’s Biological Diversity Campaign. So the message came across clear to me. I also thought there was the message of the circle of life, I suppose. How every single creature are all linked by an invisible thread that binds us all together. Animals mirrored each other to the beat of the drums. A flying fox licked its nose upside down, a frog licked it’s mouth, a lizard it’s eye.

The images were all linked by the storm clouds racing across the sky, that was probably where the nightmarish feeling came from as you stared up at the threatening time-lapse.

All of the footage was stunning especially the underwater scenes which felt more nightmarish due to the music that had a horror vibe, it felt like you were in an original remake of Dracula or Frankenstein. I absolutely love animals, which was the the reason I chose to watch this and I am most certainly not describing the creatures as unnerving, purely the whole blend of music. I imagined that with a different soundtrack it would be relaxing and beautiful and very calming.

For me, my favourite images were the beginning close ups of the mountain lion staring right into the camera with the spine tingling music and how it closed on exactly the same scene, reiterating and reinforcing the rhythm and circle of life.

I signed up to Coggle mind maps and designed the narrative in this way



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