Two Films on Percy Bysshe Shelley – Haunted Summer & A Shape Of Error.
1) Haunted Summer
An experimental l6mm feature, A Shape of Error is based on the life of Percy Bysshe Shelley and his second wife, Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley— writers whose lives forecast the modern in their concern for women, free love and labor. Child retells their story as an imaginary home movie, using strategies developed in her earlier films—The Future Is Behind You (2004-05) and Covert Action (1984)— to shape a new kind of narrative. With sound by the acclaimed composer Zeena Parkins (who has worked with John Zorn and Bijork), non-actors in the lead roles and silently shot with Child’s l6mm camera, A Shape of Error is an original—startlingly emotional and engrossing.
Sailing was Shelley’s favourite pursuit in the last year of his life, first on the rivers Serchio and Arno, and latterly off the coast. Rough sketches of sailing vessels are dotted about his notebooks, and many of his poems contain evocative images of boats, rivers and the sea. ‘Rivers are not like roads’, he wrote to Peacock in July 1816, ‘the work of the hands of man; they imitate mind, which wanders at will over pathless deserts, and flows through nature’s loveliest recesses, which are inaccessible to anything besides.’
Guitar presented by Shelley to his friend Jane Williams
Percy Bysshe Shelley – born on 4 August 1792
Shelley became an idol of the next three or four generations of poets, including important Victorian and Pre-Raphaelite poets such as Robert Browning and Dante Gabriel Rossetti. He was admired by Oscar Wilde, Thomas Hardy, George Bernard Shaw, Bertrand Russell, W. B. Yeats, Karl Marx, Upton Sinclair and Isadora Duncan. Henry David Thoreau’s civil disobedience was apparently influenced by Shelley’s non-violence in protest and political action.