County of Production
John Allen (Actor), Leon Kavanagh (Actor), Noelle Luque (Actor), Dean Kavanagh (Actor), Shane Vernon (Actor)
Upon the discovery of an ancient artefact a small community dissolves in darkness.
Polar Nights is an experimental found-footage film that melds the personal and the profound. The undulating and shifting rhythms of image and sound conjure a bleak existence for a small community on the brink of madness within the remotely inhabited folds of Antarctica. Through a bespoke digital process of re-capturing images, Kavanagh merges archival material from British Pathé and abandoned footage from his own filmography to create a spectral and symphonic coruscation of light, shadow and noise.
Created over a three-month period with a zero-budget, Polar Nights re-appropriates archive material and decomposes narrative into its most primordial elements in order to create a physical and tactile digital cinema. At the world premiere in 2013 at Triskel Christchurch Cinema, Cork, Kavanagh stated that he envisioned the project as being something like "Garrel in outer space".
In an interview for Film Panic magazine in 2019 Kavanagh writes: "With found and archive materials we recompose, deconstruct and propose a second death for the images. This is quite appropriate when you consider the very fantastic and eerie descriptions of early cinema as a ‘train of shadows’ or as ‘motion’s soundless spectre’. With cinema (in particular when working with archival material) there is the idea of making visible what is not or inventing a series of possible histories. In this sense I believe that the cinema is a séance with a shadow world and the filmmaker is the medium."
Phantoscope at Triskel Cinema Cork (2015)
Poster art by Rouzbeh Rashidi