W.B. Yeats’ Classic Poem “When You Are Old” Gets Adapted Into a Beautiful Short Film

W.B. Yeats’ 1891 poem “When You Are Old” is wide­ly con­sid­ered a com­men­tary on his unre­quit­ed life­long pas­sion for actress, Irish Repub­li­can and suf­fragette Maud Gonne.

Yeats first met Gonne in 1889 (a meet­ing which Yeats was lat­er to describe in his mem­oirs as the day ‘the trou­bling of my life began’) and he remained in love with her for much of his life, propos­ing mar­riage at least four times. Gonne became his muse, and he drew on his tor­tured love for her, albeit unnamed, as the inspi­ra­tion for many of his works, includ­ing most notably the poem, “When You Are Old.”

Freely based on a son­net by Pierre de Ron­sard, which first appeared in Le Sec­ond Livre Des Son­nets Pour Hélène in 1578, “When You Are Old” enjoins the object of an unre­turned love to reflect–in years to come–on a love reject­ed, to remem­ber one who ‘loved your moments of glad grace’, and who ‘loved the pil­grim soul in you, And loved the sor­rows of your chang­ing face.’

Although Yeats’s poet­ry is often very dense and rich in allu­sion to mythol­o­gy, the occult and his­to­ry, in “When You Are Old” the pain and bit­ter­sweet nature of a spurned love is all too appar­ent.

Aus­tralian play­wright Jes­si­ca Bel­lamy drew on the poem and her love of W.B. Yeats’ work when writ­ing the the­atre mono­logue “Lit­tle Love,” which she then adapt­ed with direc­tor Damien Pow­er to cre­ate the short film Bat Eyes. Watch it above.

In Bat Eyes, Adam and Jen­ny (‘Bat Eyes’) Bar­rett are brought togeth­er through an inci­dent of class­room bul­ly­ing. Through the metaphor of visu­al impair­ment and an eye exam­i­na­tion under­gone by an adult Adam, Bel­lamy and Pow­er explore the poem’s themes of long­ing, insight, rev­e­la­tion and regret, and poet­ry’s capac­i­ty to pro­vide solace and awak­en empa­thy in every­day life. The script of this beau­ti­ful short film con­sists prin­ci­pal­ly of the text of the poem, with the film’s two young leads repeat­ing Yeats’ words back and forth to each oth­er, as the sto­ry flips back and forth in time, the mean­ing of the lines becom­ing more tan­gi­ble and res­o­nant with each recita­tion.

Says Jes­si­ca Bel­lamy:

‘Yeats writes about ancient mythol­o­gy and the his­to­ry of his time, but you don’t have to under­stand all that to get the feel­ing of what he has to say. There are lines, there are moments that, as a read­er, you just get and you think: I’m not alone in this world and that some­one else has felt these things as well. I hope view­ers will hear the truth of what this poem is say­ing, and that they’ll see the film as an ode to love, rela­tion­ships and to poet­ry itself.

Gonne, who died in 1953, out­lived Yeats by 14 years. She was pho­tographed by Life mag­a­zine in Octo­ber 1948, old and grey, sit­ting by a fire and read­ing Yeats poet­ry.

You can watch the orig­i­nal mono­logue, “Lit­tle Love,” here:

And read and lis­ten to the text of “When You Are Old” here. There’s also a ver­sion read by Col­in Far­rell. Find it below.

Dan Prichard is an online film and web­series pro­duc­er, based in Syd­ney, whose work explores iden­ti­ty, place, and the space between film and per­for­mance in the dig­i­tal are­na. Vis­it his web­site here.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Rare 1930s Audio: W.B. Yeats Reads Four of His Poems

Aleis­ter Crow­ley & William But­ler Yeats Get into an Occult Bat­tle, Pit­ting White Mag­ic Against Black Mag­ic (1900)

T.S. Eliot’s Clas­sic Poem “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” Gets Adapt­ed into a Hip Mod­ern Film

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Watch the Dutch Paint “the Largest Mondrian Painting in the World”

Ear­li­er this month, the Dutch unveiled “the largest Mon­dri­an paint­ing in the world.” Above, you can watch the City Hall build­ing in The Hague (some­times known as “The Ice Palace”) get paint­ed Mon­dri­an-style, with those icon­ic red, yel­low and blue sur­faces and straight lines.

It was 100 years ago, in 1917, that the Dutch art move­ment called “De Sti­jl” (The Style) took flight. Led by the artists Theo van Does­burg and Piet Mon­dri­an, “De Sti­jl” embraced, notes The Art Sto­ry, “an abstract, pared-down aes­thet­ic cen­tered in basic visu­al ele­ments such as geo­met­ric forms and pri­ma­ry col­ors.” To mark the cen­te­nary of “De Sti­jl,” the Hague is now stag­ing a cel­e­bra­tion, which includes 300 Mon­dri­an works, all brought togeth­er for the first time, in an exhi­bi­tion called “The Dis­cov­ery of Mon­dri­an.” It runs from 3 June to 24 Sep­tem­ber.

If you would like to sign up for Open Culture’s free email newslet­ter, please find it here. Or fol­low our posts on Threads, Face­book, BlueSky or Mastodon.

If you would like to sup­port the mis­sion of Open Cul­ture, con­sid­er mak­ing a dona­tion to our site. It’s hard to rely 100% on ads, and your con­tri­bu­tions will help us con­tin­ue pro­vid­ing the best free cul­tur­al and edu­ca­tion­al mate­ri­als to learn­ers every­where. You can con­tribute through Pay­Pal, Patre­on, and Ven­mo (@openculture). Thanks!

Relat­ed Con­tent:

The Guggen­heim Puts Online 1600 Great Works of Mod­ern Art from 575 Artists

Rijksmu­se­um Dig­i­tizes & Makes Free Online 210,000 Works of Art, Mas­ter­pieces Includ­ed!

Down­load 100,000 Free Art Images in High-Res­o­lu­tion from The Get­ty

The Nation­al Gallery Makes 25,000 Images of Art­work Freely Avail­able Online

Down­load 448 Free Art Books from The Met­ro­pol­i­tan Muse­um of Art

How James Joyce’s Daughter, Lucia, Was Treated for Schizophrenia by Carl Jung

The life of James Joyce’s schiz­o­phrenic daugh­ter Lucia requires no par­tic­u­lar embell­ish­ment to move and amaze us.  The “received wis­dom,” writes Sean O’Hagan, about Lucia is that she lived a “blight­ed life,” as a “sick­ly sec­ond child” after her broth­er Gior­gio. As a teenag­er, she “pur­sued a career as a mod­ern dancer and was an accom­plished illus­tra­tor. At 20, hav­ing aban­doned both, she fell hope­less­ly in love with [Samuel] Beck­ett, a 21-year-old acolyte of her fathers.” He soon end­ed their one-sided rela­tion­ship, an inci­dent that may have trig­gered a psy­chot­ic break. Beck­ett was one of the few peo­ple to vis­it her lat­er in the men­tal hos­pi­tal where she died in 1982 after decades of insti­tu­tion­al­iza­tion.

Before suc­cumb­ing to her ill­ness, Lucia was a high­ly accom­plished artist who worked “with a suc­ces­sion of rad­i­cal­ly inno­v­a­tive dance teach­ers,” notes Hermione Lee in a review of a recent biog­ra­phy that “prove[s]… Lucia had tal­ent.” (See her above in Paris in 1929.) Her promise ren­ders her fall that much more dra­mat­ic, and her tragedy has inspired var­i­ous­ly sen­sa­tion­al biogra­phies, plays, a nov­el and a graph­ic nov­el. Lucia also inspired an unflat­ter­ing por­trait in Beckett’s Dream of Fair to Mid­dling Women and, most famous­ly, per­haps pro­vid­ed a mod­el for the lan­guage of Finnegans Wake. As Joyce once remarked, “Peo­ple talk of my influ­ence on my daugh­ter, but what about her influ­ence on me?”

The rela­tion­ship between father and daugh­ter has pro­vid­ed a sub­ject of dis­turb­ing spec­u­la­tion, pos­si­bly war­rant­ed by Lucia’s “father-fix­at­ed… men­tal ago­nies,” as Stan­ford’s Robert M. Pol­he­mus writes, and by “eroti­cized father-daugh­ter, man-girl rela­tion­ships” in Finnegans Wake that weave in Freud and Jung “with sexy nymphets on the couch­es of their sec­u­lar con­fes­sion­als.” At least in the excerpt Pol­he­mus cites, Joyce uses the pruri­ent lan­guage of psy­cho­analy­sis to seem­ing­ly express guilt, writ­ing, “we gris­ly old Sykos who have done our unsmil­ing bits on ‘alices, when they were yung and eas­i­ly freudened….”

With­out infer­ring the worst, we can see the rest of this unset­tling pas­sage as par­o­dy of Jung and Freud’s ideas, of which, Louis Menand writes, he was “con­temp­tu­ous.” And yet Joyce sent Lucia to see Carl Jung, “the Swiss Twee­dledee,” he once wrote, “who is not to be con­fused with the Vien­nese Twee­dledee.” His daughter’s behav­ior had become “increas­ing­ly errat­ic,” Lee writes, “she vom­it­ed up her food at table; she threw a chair at Nora [Bar­na­cle, her moth­er] on Joyce’s 50th birth­day… she cut the tele­phone wires on the con­grat­u­la­to­ry calls that friends were mak­ing about the immi­nent pub­li­ca­tion of ‘Ulysses’ in Amer­i­ca; she set fire to things….”

After a suc­ces­sion of doc­tors and diag­noses and an “unwill­ing incar­cer­a­tion,” Jung agreed to ana­lyze her. He had become acquaint­ed with Joyce’s work, hav­ing writ­ten an ambiva­lent 1932 essay on Ulysses (call­ing it “a devo­tion­al book for the object-besot­ted white man”), which he sent to Joyce with a let­ter. Jung believed that both Lucia Joyce and her father were schiz­o­phren­ics, but that Joyce, Menand writes, “was func­tion­al because he was a genius.” As Jung told Joyce biog­ra­ph­er Richard Ell­mann, Lucia and Joyce were “like two peo­ple going to the bot­tom of a riv­er, one falling and the oth­er div­ing.” Jung also, writes Lee, “thought her so bound up with her father’s psy­chic sys­tem that analy­sis could not be suc­cess­ful.” He was unable to help her, and Joyce reluc­tant­ly had her com­mit­ted.

Much of the rela­tion­ship between Joyce and his daugh­ter remains a mys­tery because of the destruc­tion of near­ly all of their cor­re­spon­dence by Joyce’s friend Maria Jolas. (Like­wise Beck­ett burned all of his let­ters from Lucia). This has not stopped her biog­ra­ph­er Car­ol Loeb Shloss from writ­ing about them as “danc­ing part­ners,” who “under­stood each oth­er, for they speak the same lan­guage, a lan­guage not yet arrived into words….” What is clear is that “Joyce’s art sur­round­ed” his daugh­ter, “haunt­ed her from birth,” and was part of the cir­cum­stances that led to her and her broth­er often liv­ing in extreme pover­ty and insta­bil­i­ty.

Lucia resent­ed her father but was nev­er able to ful­ly sep­a­rate her­self from him after sev­er­al failed rela­tion­ships with oth­er promi­nent fig­ures, includ­ing Amer­i­can artist Alexan­der Calder. Whether we char­ac­ter­ize her sto­ry as one of abuse or, as Lee writes of Shloss’ biog­ra­phy (Lucia Joyce: To Dance in the Wake), one of “love and cre­ative inti­ma­cy,” depends on what we make of the lim­it­ed evi­dence avail­able to us. The era­sure of Lucia from her father’s life began not long after his death, and hers “is a sto­ry that was not sup­posed to be told,” writes Shloss. But it deserves to be, as best as it can. Had her life been dif­fer­ent, she would doubt­less be well-known as an artist in her own right. As one crit­ic wrote of her skills as a per­former, lin­guist, and chore­o­g­ra­ph­er in 1928, James Joyce “may yet be known as his daughter’s father.”

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Carl Jung Writes a Review of Joyce’s Ulysses and Mails It To The Author (1932)

James Joyce: An Ani­mat­ed Intro­duc­tion to His Life and Lit­er­ary Works

When James Joyce & Mar­cel Proust Met in 1922, and Total­ly Bored Each Oth­er

Josh Jones is a writer and musi­cian based in Durham, NC. Fol­low him at @jdmagness

Marcel Proust Plays Air Guitar on a Tennis Racket (1891)

Was “air gui­tar” a thing back in 1891, when a pho­tog­ra­ph­er cap­tured young Mar­cel Proust in this play­ful pho­to­graph? Prob­a­bly not. Maybe it’s anachro­nis­tic to read the pho­to­graph this way. But you have to admit, it’s worth sus­pend­ing dis­be­lief for a moment and imag­in­ing what song Mar­cel was play­ing. Any clever guess­es?

via The Atlantic

Relat­ed Con­tent:

The First Known Footage of Mar­cel Proust Dis­cov­ered: Watch It Online

An Intro­duc­tion to the Lit­er­ary Phi­los­o­phy of Mar­cel Proust, Pre­sent­ed in a Mon­ty Python-Style Ani­ma­tion

When James Joyce & Mar­cel Proust Met in 1922, and Total­ly Bored Each Oth­er

16-Year-Old Mar­cel Proust Tells His Grand­fa­ther About His Mis­guid­ed Adven­tures at the Local Broth­el

Mar­cel Proust Fills Out a Ques­tion­naire in 1890: The Man­u­script of the ‘Proust Ques­tion­naire’

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Walt Disney Creates a Frank Animation That Teaches High School Kids All About VD (1973)

The com­i­cal­ly plain­spo­ken, tough-guy sergeant is a heav­en sent assign­ment for char­ac­ter actors.

Think R. Lee Ermey in Full Met­al Jack­et

Louis Gos­set Jr. in An Offi­cer and a Gen­tle­man

Even Stripes’  War­ren Oates.

Keenan Wynn, who strove to keep Amer­i­ca safe from “devi­at­ed pre­verts” in 1964’s Dr. Strangelove, was award­ed the role of a life­time nine years lat­er, when Dis­ney Stu­dios was seek­ing vocal tal­ent for VD Attack Plan, above, a 16-minute ani­ma­tion intend­ed to teach high school­ers about the scourge of vene­re­al dis­ease.

Wynn (son of Ed) threw him­self into the part with gus­to, imbu­ing his bad­ly-com­plect­ed, Kaiser-hel­met­ed germ com­man­der with the sort of straight-talk­ing charis­ma rarely seen in high school Health class.

A risky maneu­ver, giv­en that Viet­nam-era teens did not share their parent’s generation’s respect for mil­i­tary author­i­ty and VD Attack Plan was the first edu­ca­tion­al short specif­i­cal­ly aimed at the high school audi­ence. Pri­or to that, such films were geared toward sol­diers. (Dis­ney wad­ed into those waters in 1944, with the train­ing film, A Few Quick Facts No. 7—Venereal Dis­ease, the same year Mick­ey Mouse appeared in LOOK mag­a­zine, wag­ing war on gon­or­rhea with sul­fa drugs.

Gon­or­rhea was well rep­re­sent­ed in the Wynn’s Con­ta­gion Corps. The ranks were fur­ther swelled by Syphilis. Both pla­toons were out­fit­ted with para­mil­i­tary style berets.

The Sarge pumped them up for the com­ing sneak attack by urg­ing them to maim or bet­ter yet, kill their human ene­my. Shaky recruits were reas­sured that Igno­rance, Fear, and Shame would have their backs.

Scriptwriter Bill Bosche had quite the knack for iden­ti­fy­ing what sort of sug­ar would make the med­i­cine go down. The Sarge inti­mates that only a few of the afflict­ed are “man enough” to inform their part­ners, and while Igno­rance and Shame cause the major­i­ty to put their faith in inef­fec­tu­al folk reme­dies, the “smart ones” seek treat­ment.

Ele­men­tary psy­chol­o­gy, but effec­tu­al nonethe­less.

Today’s view­ers can’t help but note that HIV and AIDS had yet to assert their fear­some hold.

On the oth­er hand, the Sarge’s mat­ter of fact deliv­ery regard­ing the poten­tial for same sex trans­mis­sion comes as a pleas­ant sur­prise. His pri­ma­ry objec­tive is to set the record straight. No, birth con­trol pills won’t pro­tect you from con­tract­ing the clap. But don’t waste time wor­ry­ing about pick­ing it up from pub­lic toi­let seats, either.

A word of cau­tion to those plan­ning to watch the film over break­fast, there are some tru­ly gnarly graph­ic pho­tos of rash­es, sores, and skin erup­tions. Help­ful to teens seek­ing straight dope on their wor­ri­some symp­toms. Less so for any­one try­ing to enjoy their break­fast links sans the specter of burn­ing uri­na­tion.

So here’s to the sergeants of the sil­ver screen, and the hard­work­ing actors who embod­ied them, even those whose cre­ations resem­bled Pillsbury’s Fun­ny Face drink mix mas­cots. Let’s do as the Sarge says, and make every day V‑D Day!

VD Attack Plan will be added to the ani­ma­tion sec­tion of our col­lec­tion, 4,000+ Free Movies Online: Great Clas­sics, Indies, Noir, West­erns, Doc­u­men­taries & More.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Watch Fam­i­ly Plan­ning, Walt Disney’s 1967 Sex Ed Pro­duc­tion, Star­ring Don­ald Duck

The Sto­ry Of Men­stru­a­tion: Watch Walt Disney’s Sex Ed Film from 1946

Sal­vador Dalí Cre­ates a Chill­ing Anti-Vene­re­al Dis­ease Poster Dur­ing World War II

Ayun Hal­l­i­day is an author, illus­tra­tor, the­ater mak­er and Chief Pri­ma­tol­o­gist of the East Vil­lage Inky zine.  Her play Zam­boni Godot is open­ing in New York City next week. Fol­low her @AyunHalliday.

A Free Short Course on How Pixar Uses Physics to Make Its Effects

A new com­put­er-ani­mat­ed spec­ta­cle that makes us rethink the rela­tion­ship between imag­i­na­tion and tech­nol­o­gy seems, now, to come out every few months. Audi­ences have grown used to var­i­ous com­put­er ani­ma­tion stu­dios all com­pet­ing to wow them, but not so long ago the very notion of enter­tain­ing ani­ma­tion made with com­put­ers sound­ed like sci­ence fic­tion. All that changed in the mid-1980s when a young ani­ma­tor named John Las­seter breathed life into the CGI stars of such now sim­ple-look­ing but then rev­o­lu­tion­ary shorts as The Adven­tures of André and Wal­ly B. and Luxo Jr., the lat­ter being the first inde­pen­dent pro­duc­tion by a cer­tain Pixar Ani­ma­tion Stu­dios.

We know Pixar today as the out­fit respon­si­ble for Toy Sto­ry, The Incred­i­blesWALL‑E, and oth­er ground­break­ing com­put­er-ani­mat­ed fea­tures, each one more impres­sive than the last. How do they do it? Why, with ever-larg­er and more high­ly skilled cre­ative and tech­no­log­i­cal teams, of course, all of whom work atop a basic foun­da­tion laid by Las­seter and his pre­de­ces­sors in the art of com­put­er ani­ma­tion, in the search for answers to one ques­tion: how can we get these dig­i­tal machines to con­vinc­ing­ly sim­u­late our world?

After all, even imag­i­nary char­ac­ters must emote, move around, and bump into one anoth­er with con­vic­tion, and do it in a medi­um of light, wind, water, and much else at that, all ulti­mate­ly under­gird­ed by the laws of physics.

Thanks to Pixar and their com­pe­ti­tion, not a few mem­bers of the past cou­ple gen­er­a­tions have grown up dream­ing of mas­ter­ing com­put­er ani­ma­tion them­selves. Now, in part­ner­ship with online edu­ca­tion­al orga­ni­za­tion Khan Acad­e­my, they have a place to start: Pixar in a Box, a series of short inter­ac­tive cours­es on how to “ani­mate bounc­ing balls, build a swarm of robots, and make vir­tu­al fire­works explode,” which vivid­ly demon­strates that “the sub­jects you learn in school — math, sci­ence, com­put­er sci­ence, and human­i­ties — are used every day to cre­ate amaz­ing movies.” The effects course gets deep­er into the nit­ty-grit­ty of just how com­put­er ani­ma­tors have found ways of tak­ing real phys­i­cal phe­nom­e­na and “break­ing them down into mil­lions of tiny par­ti­cles and con­trol­ling them using com­put­er pro­gram­ming.”

It all comes down to devel­op­ing and using par­ti­cle sys­tems, pro­grams designed to repli­cate the motion of the real par­ti­cles that make up the phys­i­cal world. “Using par­ti­cles is a sim­pli­fi­ca­tion of real physics,” says Pixar Effects Tech­ni­cal Direc­tor Matt Wong, “but it’s an effec­tive tool for artists. The more par­ti­cles you use, the clos­er you get to real physics. Most of our sim­u­la­tions require mil­lions and mil­lions of par­ti­cles to cre­ate believ­able water,” for instance, which requires a lev­el of com­put­ing pow­er scarce­ly imag­in­able in 1982, when Pixar’s own effects artist Bill Reeves (who appears in the one of these videos) first used a par­ti­cle sys­tem for a visu­al effect in Star Trek II. These effects have indeed come a long way, but as any­one who takes this course will sus­pect, com­put­er ani­ma­tion has only begun to show us the worlds it can real­ize.

For more Pixar/Khan Acad­e­my cours­es, please see the items in the Relat­eds below.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Pixar & Khan Acad­e­my Offer a Free Online Course on Sto­ry­telling

Take a Free Online Course on Mak­ing Ani­ma­tions from Pixar & Khan Acad­e­my

Pixar’s 22 Rules of Sto­ry­telling … Makes for an Addic­tive Par­lor Game

Free Online Physics Cours­es

A Rare Look Inside Pixar Stu­dios

The Beau­ty of Pixar

The First 3D Dig­i­tal Film Cre­at­ed by Ed Cat­mull, Co-Founder of Pixar (1970)

Based in Seoul, Col­in Mar­shall writes and broad­casts on cities and cul­ture. He’s at work on a book about Los Ange­les, A Los Ange­les Primer, the video series The City in Cin­e­ma, the crowd­fund­ed jour­nal­ism project Where Is the City of the Future?, and the Los Ange­les Review of Books’ Korea Blog. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall or on Face­book.

Watch Earth, a Landmark of Soviet Cinema (1930)

Today we’re adding to our list of Free Movies a 1930 Sovi­et silent film by direc­tor Alexan­der Dovzhenko. It’s called Earth, and it’s the third install­ment in Dovzhenko’s “Ukraine Tril­o­gy.”

When The Guardian cre­at­ed its list of the Top 10 Silent Movies of all time, it put Earth in the #9 slot. About the film writer Pamela Hutchin­son said:

Earth, capped by that avowed­ly sec­u­lar title, is a lyri­cal, car­nal movie about birth, death, sex and rebel­lion. Offi­cial­ly, this Sovi­et-era Ukrain­ian silent is a paean to col­lec­tive farm­ing, craft­ed around a fam­i­ly dra­ma, but its direc­tor, Alexan­der Dovzhenko, was a born rene­gade, for whom plots were far less impor­tant than poet­ry…

Earth is the final part of Dovzhenko’s silent tril­o­gy (fol­low­ing the nation­al­ist fan­ta­sy Zvenig­o­ra (1928) and the avant-garde anti-war film Arse­nal (1929), and is brim­ming with exu­ber­ant youth, but haunt­ed by the shad­ow of death.…

Sketched as trib­ute to the boons of col­lec­tivi­sa­tion, but released as those schemes were falling out of favour, Earth was con­demned on its home turf on polit­i­cal grounds. It was also snipped by cen­sors who object­ed to the nudi­ty, and the infa­mous scene in which farm­ers uri­nate into their trac­tor’s radi­a­tor. But while there was dis­may and cen­sure in the Sovi­et Union, crit­ics else­where were over­awed…

It’s the lat­ter impres­sion that endures. Dovzhenko’s sym­bol­ism is both rich and auda­cious. His scope com­pris­es vast pas­toral land­scapes, and inti­mate fleshy naked­ness. Per­haps its most cel­e­brat­ed sequence is the mag­nif­i­cent open­ing scene: the painful coun­ter­point between a dying man, his infant grand­chil­dren and the burst­ing fruit of his orchard. This is liv­ing cin­e­ma, as refresh­ing and vital as the film’s own cli­mac­tic down­pour.

You can watch Earth above, and find it list­ed in our col­lec­tion of Free Silent Films, a sub­set of our meta col­lec­tion, 4,000+ Free Movies Online: Great Clas­sics, Indies, Noir, West­erns, Doc­u­men­taries & More. Below you can watch a ver­sion of Earth with a recent sound­track pro­vid­ed by the amaz­ing Ukrain­ian ensem­ble, DakhaBrakha. Enjoy.

If you would like to sign up for Open Culture’s free email newslet­ter, please find it here. Or fol­low our posts on Threads, Face­book, BlueSky or Mastodon.

If you would like to sup­port the mis­sion of Open Cul­ture, con­sid­er mak­ing a dona­tion to our site. It’s hard to rely 100% on ads, and your con­tri­bu­tions will help us con­tin­ue pro­vid­ing the best free cul­tur­al and edu­ca­tion­al mate­ri­als to learn­ers every­where. You can con­tribute through Pay­Pal, Patre­on, and Ven­mo (@openculture). Thanks!

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Watch Inter­plan­e­tary Rev­o­lu­tion (1924): The Most Bizarre Sovi­et Ani­mat­ed Pro­pa­gan­da Film You’ll Ever See

Watch Dzi­ga Vertov’s A Man with a Movie Cam­era, Named the 8th Best Film Ever Made

Watch Sovi­et Avant-Garde Com­posers Cre­ate Syn­the­sized Music with Hand-Drawn Ani­ma­tions (1934)

Eight Free Films by Dzi­ga Ver­tov, Cre­ator of Sovi­et Avant-Garde Doc­u­men­taries

You Can Have Your Ashes Turned Into a Playable Vinyl Record, When Your Day Comes

Even in death we are only lim­it­ed by our imag­i­na­tion in how we want to go out. There are now ways to turn our corpse into a tree, or have our ash­es shot into space, or press­ing our ash­es into dia­monds–I believe Super­man is involved in that last one. And now for the music lover, a com­pa­ny called And Viny­ly will press your ash­es into a playable vinyl record.

You like that pun­ny com­pa­ny name? There’s more: the busi­ness lets the dear depart­ed to “Live on from beyond the groove.” Hear that groan? That’s the deceased lit­er­al­ly spin­ning in their grave…on a turntable.

The UK-based com­pa­ny has been around since 2009, when Jason Leach launched it “just for fun” at first. But a lot of peo­ple liked the idea and have kept him in busi­ness.

It will cost, how­ev­er. The basic ser­vice costs around $4,000, which gets you 30 copies of the record, all of which con­tain the ash­es. How­ev­er, you can­not use copy­right-pro­tect­ed music to fill up the 12 min­utes per side, so no “Free Bird” or “We Are the Cham­pi­ons,” unfor­tu­nate­ly. But you can put any­thing else: a voice record­ing, or the sounds of nature, or com­plete silence. For an addi­tion­al fee, you can hire musi­cians through the com­pa­ny to record a track or tracks for you.

Oth­er extras include cov­er art either sup­plied by the deceased or their fam­i­ly or paint­ed by James Hague of the Nation­al Por­trait Gallery in Lon­don and/or street artist Paul Insect; extra copies to be dis­trib­uted world­wide through record shops (has any­one seen one? Let us know.); and a £10,000 “FUNer­al,” where your record will be played at your funer­al, sur­round­ed by loved ones.

Jok­ing aside, the ser­vice can pro­vide com­fort and a mem­o­ry trig­ger for those left behind. The above video, “Hear­ing Madge” is a short doc about a son who took record­ings of his moth­er and used And Viny­ly to make a record out of them. It’s sweet.

“I’m sure a lot of peo­ple think that it’s creepy, a lot of peo­ple think it’s sac­ri­le­gious,” the man says. “But I know my moth­er wouldn’t have. She would’ve thought it was a hoot.”

Jason Leach, a musi­cian and vinyl col­lec­tor him­self, talks of the imme­di­a­cy of sound and what it means to many.

“Sound is vibrat­ing you, the room, and it’s actu­al­ly mov­ing the air around you,” he says. “And that’s what’s so pow­er­ful about hear­ing someone’s voice on a record. They’re actu­al­ly mov­ing the air and for me that’s pow­er­ful.”

via Men­tal Floss/Aeon

Relat­ed Con­tent:

John Cleese’s Eulo­gy for Gra­ham Chap­man: ‘Good Rid­dance, the Free-Load­ing Bas­tard, I Hope He Fries’

John­ny Depp Reads Let­ters from Hunter S. Thomp­son (NSFW)

Watch Carl Sagan’s “A Glo­ri­ous Dawn” Become the First Vinyl Record Played in Space, Cour­tesy of Jack White

Ted Mills is a free­lance writer on the arts who cur­rent­ly hosts the artist inter­view-based FunkZone Pod­cast. You can also fol­low him on Twit­ter at @tedmills, read his oth­er arts writ­ing at tedmills.com and/or watch his films here.

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