Exclusive: The Bone Echo
Exploring the coexistence of creative writing and moving image through her unbounded poetry, Jem Goulding presents ‘The Bone Echo’ a short film starring Alice Dellal, Eliza Cummings and Josh Beech.
“I wanted to write an explicitly sexual story about the seductiveness of danger, exploring how blind lust can make us. I’m into twisted metaphors but wanted to transcend the idea of comparison. In The Bone Echo, the women aren’t like animals, they are the animals.” Explaining the inspiration behind her latest work, Jem Goulding began making films with the intention of challenging the audiences’ perceptions of reality. Charting new territories with her experimental interpretation of a short personal poem written some time ago, left unpublished in a notebook, the underlying, unspoken narrative of The Bone Echo feels abstract and dislocated. Designed to provoke, intrigue and create an impact, this short piece of footage represents how art can inspire fashion. i-D Online sat down with Goulding ahead of the film’s premiere at The Lexi, London.
Why did you decided to translate your poem The Bone Echo into film? I wanted to sex up the idea of ‘poetry in motion’. To me, poetry is a form of original literature with no boundaries, no form or rules so it’s intriguing to me as narrative. As a younger poet, I was always compelled to publish my words with a single photograph on the page. Some editors questioned this as they felt it was unnecessary illustration, but to me, it has brought a different depth of expression, something more soulful.
What is the poem about? In its entirety it can be read as a kind of metamorphosis fable, it is the most surreal of all my writings; a worst nightmare and ultimate fantasy rolled into one experience. It is also a question of reality in ways and about the price one can pay for messing with something more complex and powerful than oneself. It is easy to underestimate the primal nature in us all, animal or human.
Why did you choose to cast models Eliza, Josh and Alice in the film? They are so much more than models to me, each one of them is a talented and creative force in their own right, real muses. The casting was clear to me from the start. Josh is a friend and quite a personality. I’d been lucky enough to have connected with all three cast members prior to the film, and was struck by the unique beauty of each face. There’s no-one like these three. Eliza and Alice are both mischievious… Eliza in a playful, aggressive way and Alice has more of a reptilian finesse, both are wild. I liked the unapolegetic sex appeal the girls possessed, it is other-wordly to me, almost like it is beyond their control, much like how I imagine a spirit animals unleash.
Has the experience inspired you in any other ways? The process has shown me just how important it will be to stand by film as a format, and not rely on computers to do the work for me. It was an expensive and painstaking process keeping this analogue, but worth it. The film score also inspired me, like the film, it was all recorded analogue, no rehearsals, they just watched my images and played along to them. I was lucky to have Disappears write and record the score at Echo Canyon. Sonic Youth are a crucially important band to me, so it was cool having Steve Shelley drumming on a soundtrack for my film.
Listen to The Bone Echo soundtrack from Disappears here.