Sentinels of Silence
directed by Robert Amram
Folded wrinkles of reddish rock are wrought into focus. At times, the camera stays close, almost grazing the carved square grooves that it captures. At others, it breaks concentration, reeling away and panning out. A frieze becomes a single, small detail within a vast open-air formation. The geometric fractal is lost to the expansive surrounding topography, shrouded in the encircling spritz of a precipitous sky. We remain muted as we observe the hushed, hypnotic cinematography.
One of the film’s first credits goes to the crew’s helicopter pilot. Ascending into the atmosphere, flying low to skim the grass, it seems only fair that our guide is given such high billing. We imagine what it must have been like to shoot each take, performing an aerial choreography, surveying the site’s acres from all angles against the racket of the aircraft’s propellers. As the blazing blue sky gives way to a storm, the soaring strings of the soundtrack fall silent, while thunder clashes above the faintly acknowledged hum of propellers.
Words by Elizabeth Brown
The camera swoops over a dark, foreboding landscape. Sunlight pierces the black shadows. Eerie music sounds as old ruins approach, overgrown with parched vegetation. We are taken on an aerial tour, guided up steps and shown around structures as if we are walking among them ourselves. We are reminded of the lens’s presence with every arc upwards and outwards, in bird’s-eye views and panoramas.
The constant motion enables the viewer to study the architecture from every angle. Rather than simply recreating a single first-hand view, Robert Amram and his crew seek to capture these structures in their entirety. As the camera twists and turns about, it compiles for us a document of these sites that extends beyond the capabilities of a human visitor. It takes flight, winging its way almost as soundlessly as the sentinels that it surveys.
Words by Sophia Martin-Pavlou
More to discover
You can watch the film here.
Question of the day
Art history can shape the way art is seen, so whether or not future art follows a form’s ‘rules’, it is given more meaning by the past.
– Frankie Cosmos, musician (via The Brief →)