“Plague”, 8:15 minutes running time, 2020; filmed in Italy, post-production in UK
Having found myself in Venice when the coronavirus outbreak enveloped Italy in late February 2020, I chose to use my interests in both fictional and documentary approaches to dialogue and the visual image to create the short film Plague. Venice has, of course, a long historical association with the plague; the city’s lazzarettos were an attempt to keep disease away from the city and were places of isolation, of longing.
My research process focused on the World Health Organization’s coronavirus press briefings, which began in January 2020 and have — sadly — continued even to the present day. In modern times, Venice’s poetic landscape is often just seen as beauty and ornament, of luxuriousness. But the city’s actual historical sites are reminders of a more melancholy reality: the lazzarettos in the lagoon… the site of Titian’s tomb (filmed in my work) where the great painter was buried after dying of the plague… and the inherent finality of the human lifespan.
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