Commissioned by Transflux films, Roto Visage has endeavored to create a new score for classic French surrealist/expressionist/nihilist film “La Coquille et le Clergyman” (The Seashell and the Clergyman), based upon the writing of troubled playwright Antonin Artaud (who was a huge influence on Roger Watkins, director of “Last House on Dead End Street”, who was a huge influence on me) and directed by feminist writer Germaine Dulac.
Never agreeing on a final edit of the film, Artaud and Dulac parted not-so-amicably after the film was released and what you see here as a matter of cicumstance is more of Dulac’s preferred vision.”La Coquille et le Clergyman” is vague, open-ended, jarring, and hypnotic all at the same time, exactly how this long lost art of filmmaking was intended to be and what makes it worth multiple viewings. Roto Visage, true to form, provides a musical nightmare of a score that unravels splendidly with the events on the screen and is also perfect for listening to even while not watching the film, especially while trying to enter The Land of Nod.
When all is said and done, Artuad is the muse and Roto Visage is the black swan in this newly crafted perspective of a classic from the nascent era of moving pictures. Western European cinema between the two World Wars is a sight to behold, and dark soundscapes are a most befitting companion to a genre that can be musically manipulated to one’s will. Here we have the perfect confluence of both. Enjoy, and sweet dreams! (FA)KIKAPU (ROTO VISAGE), TRANSFLUX FILMS (LA COQUILLE ET LE CLERGYMAN)