September 2020, distribution news

"The Two Sights"

by Joshua Bonnetta, release postponed to 2021

The closing titles say The Two Sights was “collected” on various islands of the Outer Hebrides from 2017–19, but what does the film gather? There are the images, captured on a 16mm camera, which survey all this ravishing landscape contains, taking in its rocky cliffs, beaches and plains, alighting on its flora and fauna and the houses and ships sprinkled over it, picking out currents, reflections and shifts in light. Then there are the sounds, recorded with the mic visible in the first shots, keening birds, the roaring wind, the crashing, gurgling, trickling of the water.

In voiceover, a whole anthology of tales can be heard, narrated in both English and Gaelic, stories of dog skeletons, drowned villages, and family members passing away, although songs, silence and the shipping forecast are just as at home there. But like any great collection, it’s not about the individual elements, but how they overlap, about how the crow hanging on barbed wire conjures up another story never told, about how the ripples seem to reverberate along with the woman’s harmonies, about how each anecdote floats over the rushing air. Sight by eye, sight by ear, two sights that ripple and flow together.

Joshua Bonnetta (b. 1979) is a Canadian artist and filmmaker working in sound and moving image across installation, performance, and theatrical exhibition. Films: selection: 2012: American Colour (25 min., Video installation, Forum Expanded 2012), Remanence I – (Lost, Lost, Lost, Lost) (2 min., Forum Expanded 2013). 2013: Strange Lines and Distances (Video installation, Forum Expanded 2013). 2017: Lago (Sound installation, 44 min., Forum Expanded 2017), El mar la mar (94 min., Forum 2017).

Interview with Joshua Bonnetta

Director's Homepage

"The Outer Hebrides was ​long ago once thought of as a place of seers​,​ who were known to have the gift of Second Sight​:​ an ability to foretell future events. These prognostications were revealed to the seer in the form of visions or otherworldly sounds. Sometimes they took the form of portents derived ​by augury read from animals, bones, or weather patterns foretelling what has yet come to pass. ​ Using these stories as a starting point​, THE TWO SIGHTS, ​​is a portrait of a rapidly changing maritime environment​ with its acoustic ecology and culture in flux in a time of uncertain futures​​​. Long take Super 16mm cinematography, interwoven with site-specific field recordings and interviews​ collected from ​the disappearing oral histories​​ of several Hebridean communities​ are collaged to explore the relationship between place narrative​, ​environment​,​ and the reciprocal influences they exact upon one another."

Canada, UK 2020. Length: 90 Min. Shot on Super 16mm. Available as DCP or file. Languages: Gaelic, English. Language version: OV with German subtitles. Writer, Director, Cinematography, Editing, Music, Sound & Sound design: Joshua Bonnetta. Sound mixing: Josh Berger.