NUMEN OF THE BOUGHS

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Subjects:

  • Emotions, attitudes and behaviour
  • Politics
  • War

Genres:

  • Experimental
  • Animation
  • Women film makers

People/organisations:

  • TAIT, Margaret

Decade:

  • 1970s

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JOHN MACFADYEN
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THESE WALLS
1974 | bwcol | silent
TAILPIECE
1976 | bw | sound

Related biographies

Please read Understanding catalogue records for help interpreting this information and Using footage for more information about accessing this film.

Title: NUMEN OF THE BOUGHS

Reference number: 6227

Date: 1974

Director: [filmed by Margaret Tait]

Sound: silent

Original format: 35mm

Colour: bw

Fiction: fiction

Running time: 2.07 mins

Description: Inspired by the poem 'Numen of the Boughs' by Sorley MacLean, this film is the first section of the longer film COLOUR POEMS [see ref. 3697], however featuring extra 'experimental' footage. Margaret Tait described it thus: "A poem started in words, and referring to distant memories to do with people going or not going to the Spanish Civil war, goes on in the picture (in "Numen of the Boughs")

"I got the title from this book 'El Numen de las Ramas' [from 'Vals en las Ramas' in Poet in New York, 1940] which I translated as Numen of the Boughs (I don't know if it is a correct translation). I had started a poem in words, and I tried to complete it on film; that was what I was doing." [Margaret Tait]

Black and white hand coloured scratched drawings.
See also ref. 3697. Although this is one of the titles of the poems in "Colour Poems", it's not the same as that part of Colour Poems, where only a part of this film has been incorporated. In fact this film looks rather experimental, with odd sequences of titles cropping up through it. The last 100ft or so which features very vivid translucent colour certainly doesn't occur in "Colour Poems".

See also MA thesis submitted to University of East Anglia by Winn, Joss Preserving the Hand Painted Films of Margaret Tait, 2002.

The title of this film is a poem of the same name by by Margaret Tait's friend Sorley McLean from his book 'Poems to Eivihir', published in 1971. The poems were written in the late 1930s in Gaelic in response to the Spanish Civil War and his sense of guilt at not having volunteered. Memories sirred by the publishing of McLean brought back images, seen first perhaps in the pages of the Picture Post "of the frozen plains around Madrid with snipers and soldiers frozen to death in the trees clasping their rifles" [Source: Draft 3 of The Autonomous Film-Maker by Peter Todd, 1979. Further detailed analysis of this title and ref. 3697 COLOUR POEMS can be found here, at Paper Archives 11/1/455]

See also Additional Information file at 11/1/455. Paper Archives 4/5/119, 4/11/651, 4/5/92.

The Tait papers are deposited in Orkney Archives. Currently being catalogued. For any enquiries please contact Principal Archivist.

The British Artist's Film and Video Study Collection at http://www.bftv.ac.uk/avantgarde based at Central St. Martin's College of Art and Design holds an artist's file on Margaret Tait.

The British Film Institute National Library http://www.bfi.org.uk holds many of the published articles on her and her work.

In 1979 Margaret Tait was the subject of a BBC Scotland 'Spectrum' arts programme.

Shotlist: Inspired by the poem 'Numen of the Boughs' by Sorley MacLean, this film is the first section of the longer film COLOUR POEMS [see ref. 3697], however featuring extra footage. Margaret Tait described it as "A poem started in words, and referring to distant memories to do with people going or not going to the Spanish Civil war, goes on in the picture (in "Numen of the Boughs")