A lot of the films we feature as part of our Video Spotlight are difficult to classify. Some could be called documentaries, others are more journalistic in nature. A couple of items we’ve shared have been experimental, but very few could be considered ‘art’ in the more formal sense.
This week’s entry into the Video Spotlight archive changes things. It’s a short film that would be equally at home being projected in a gallery as it is shared on a blog or on Tumblr.
Canadian photographer and filmmaker Marty Mellway has produced some remarkable footage, filmed during his most recent travels. With advances in technology – particularly with respect to portability and cost – the barriers to producing high-quality travel footage are now lower than ever. What sets apart the work of individuals like Mellway is the treatment of the footage.
The images are not just crystal clear, they’re carefully manipulated. Time and location shift with the complexity of a differential equation. Clouds boil like steam in one shot, humans move as if underwater in the next. Reality is altered, but it is this alteration that makes things more accessible and appealing. The strange familiarity draws the eye and wakes the wanderlust, as scenes of exotic destinations are presented like memories.
The monochrome gives way in places, hinting at vibrant colour lying just beneath the surface, and the accompanying delivery of a poem by Byron provides additional enigmatic meaning to the film. So, we’ll go no more a roving, a classic meditation on our ultimate limitation as humans: age prompts both reflection and a desire to make the most of our current opportunities.
Mellway operates under a combined online handle and mantra of Returning to Nomadism. This, his latest films, sets out that stall clearly. A life of wandering and travel is not a life wasted, it’s a life lived to the fullest.