The Language of Eden
Film in two parts
Research begun 2014
Part One completed 2018
Part Two scheduled for filming Summer 2019

 
Abandoned house on the Isle of Lewis

“The Language of Eden” is a film in two parts, exploring love and its consequences.

“Part One, A Memory”, is a sung dialogue between two women, a mother and daughter, shot at Callanish, Island of Lewis. While the ancient landscape conveys the fundamental nature of the women's experience, an abandoned house, once a home, becomes a powerful metaphor for how love, or our expectations of what love might be, can both shape and destroy our lives.

The idea emerged from the artist's first visit to Lewis in October 2014. Intending to make a film exploring the relationship between men and women as a primary unit of human social organisation, Lynn MacRitchie had gone to Lewis to research potential locations. Callanish, site of a prehistoric stone circle but also a modern village, and a place where human habitation has continued since ancient times, seemed particularly suitable, and an abandoned house close by proved prefect for her purpose. In Stornoway, the artist attended a concert given by local schoolchildren about to compete in the important Gaelic festival The Mod. The performers included a teenage boy and girl, singing a duet. Struck by the purity of their voices and the intensity of their unaccompanied singing, the artist realised that that was how she should present the content of the film - as a sung performance, unaccompanied, in Gaelic, filmed in the abandoned house. Despite support for the project from the art centre An Lanntair, a funding application to Creative Scotland was not successful.

By this time, the artist had written the songs and, working with her musical director Charlie Skelton, adapted traditional Gaelic melodies to fit her new words. She determined to make the work anyway, using the visual material she had assembled on her several trips to Callanish and recording the lyrics sung in English by Amanda Mcmanus and Kate Denny. In the finished film, the simple, sparse visuals and the pure voices of the women singers come together in a powerful metaphor of love and loss.

The second part of the film is in development and is scheduled to be shot at The Othona Community, Bradwell on Sea, Essex, in August 2019. It will bring together a cast of professional actors and local volunteers in a contemporary take on the Adam and Eve story, based on John Milton's “Paradise Lost”, realised in music and song.

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