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Fri, Aug 23

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Epsilon Spires

ENYS MEN + Neonach

“What if the landscape was not only alive, but sentient?” Our Folk Horror Of The British Isles Film Festival ends with the beguiling 16mm meditation on memory and place, “Enys Men” (Cornish for “Stone Island”). Neonach opens tonight's poetic time-warp with trance-inducing ambient soundscapes.

ENYS MEN + Neonach
ENYS MEN + Neonach

Time & Location

Aug 23, 2024, 8:00 PM – 11:00 PM

Epsilon Spires, 190 Main St, Brattleboro, VT 05301, USA

About the event

FOLK HORROR OF THE BRITISH ISLES FILM FESTIVAL!

PENDA'S FEN + Magic Tuber Stringband, Sunday, August 11th, 8pm

THE WICKER MAN + Beverly Ketch & Friends! Friday, August 16th, 8pm

ENYS MEN + Neonach, Friday, August, 23rd, 8pm

“What if the landscape was not only alive, but sentient?” Our Folk Horror Film Festival ends with the cryptic and beguiling, Mark Jenkin’s 2022 film “Enys Men” (Cornish for “Stone Island” and pronounced “Ennis Main”) is a seductive, stylistically bold meditation on place and memory. 

Off the Cornish coast in the days before May Day, 1973, an unnamed volunteer is stationed alone on a small island. Her life is ritual: walking the rugged cliffs, taking temperature readings around an outcrop of rare flowers; listening to a stone drop down a mineshaft; writing the day’s findings (“no change”) in her botanical diary. Back at the cottage, she fires up the growling generator (fuel supplies are low), makes the tea (also running out), and takes to bed with a copy of A Blueprint for Survival, an environmentalist text whose cover is emblazoned with the promise that after reading it “nothing quite seems the same any more”. The same could be said of this film.

The volunteer’s primary connection with the mainland is via radio, that mysteriously conjures voices like spirits in a seance: fragmented conversations with a distant presence (“are you there?”); a distress signal (“Mayday! Mayday!”) from a wreck foretold; the heart-piercing voice of Brenda Wootton singing The Bristol Christ (from a poem by Cornish bard Charles Causley).

Meanwhile, the island seems to breathe the mysteries soaked into the dreamy, tactile landscape and history of Cornwall – from the miners still haunting the darkened shafts below, to the Bal Maidens stomping the ground above, and the children who sing outside the volunteer’s cottage. Presiding over this time-slipping strangeness is a giant standing stone with a profound living-rock connection to the volunteer. No wonder the lichen that appears on those rare flowers also colonises her body, linking us back to an earlier trauma...

"The earth remembers what the sea has taken"

With a narrative that slips between the Temporality of dreams and reality, it’s easier to describe Enys Men in terms of color (red and yellow are primal elements) than plot, since its distinct brand of clockwork-cranked, luxuriously saturated cinematic poetry, with an exceptional sound design. Some will be left confused – even frustrated – it's best to let Enys Men drown you in its intensely sensory spell; to feel it rather than watch and it.

CRITICAL ACCAIM:

"A richly authentic portrait of Cornwall, far removed from any tourist-friendly vision – a land defined by rugged industry locked in an elemental struggle with the sea (a force that can both give and take life) and driven by a palpable sense of the past underpinning the future. I’ve seen the film three times so far, and I can’t wait to dive into it and be swept away again. Bravo!" 

-The Guardian

"Drawing from the region’s deep vein of Celtic mythology, Jenkin summons the ghosts of lost fishermen and long-gone female mine workers, (known as bal maidens) stoking an atmosphere thick with ancient anguish. At times, Jenkin’s bold, experimental style can perplex; but his vision is so unwavering and beholden to local history that his message is clear: On Enys Men, the earth remembers what the sea has taken". -NY Times

Before the film will be a performance by Neonach, A solo project by Craig Douglas, a songwriter, producer and improviser from Western Massachusetts. In 2019 he released two albums of structured music that crossed various genres of music exploring black metal, ambient, prog, and pop rock. For live performances he uses the moniker to create tranced out, improvised, ambient soundscapes. Psychedelic droning vocal layers, electronic textures, classical guitar noodlings swell and swirl during live sets eventually leading to screaming sonic tiers.

Tickets

  • ENYS MEN + Neonach

    Admission for one to ENYS MEN + Neonach! Popcorn & refreshments will be provided! Please choose your seating with respect for others and let us know if you require special arrangements. Thank you for your support! Enjoy the program!

    $20.00
  • SLIDING-SCALE TICKET

    Ticket for one to ENYS MEN + Neonach! General admission is $20. Thanks to a generous grant from the Ben and Jerry’s Foundation, subsidized sliding-scale tickets are available for those who self-identify as experiencing financial hardship. In order to make this program accessible for all, we are offering tickets by sliding scale. Taking equity and inclusion into account, please pay what you can to help support the venue.

    $
  • SUPPORT FUTURE EVENTS!

    Would you like to see more programming like our FOLK HORROR OF THE BRITISH ISLES FILM FESTIVAL? Please add a donation to your ticket to express your support and appreciation of the adventurous and intellectually-engaging programs at Epsilon Spires. Thank you & keep up the good work! Admission for one to ENYS MEN + NEONACH! Bring cash for the bar. Please let us know if you require special arrangements. Looking forward to seeing you there!

    $

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