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The eternity man

Wyver, John and Blight, Rosemary and Fleetwood, Alex (2008) The eternity man. [Moving Image]

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Abstract

The Eternity Man is a film opera about Arthur Stace, reformed petty criminal,World War 1 veteran and recovering alcoholic, who haunted Sydney’s seedy bars and brothels until a revelation one night in a soup kitchen chapel. Stace then spent nearly forty years chalking a timeless message on the city’s streets: the single word, written in copper-plate, Eternity. During his journey of self-discovery Stace wrote his word almost 500,000 times; it was his mission to traverse the city to its furthest reaches in order to spread his message. Now more than 30 years after his death, this mission has a powerful resonance, to the point where Sydney’s millennium celebrations were crowned with his word lighting up the Harbour Bridge in neon, sending his evocative message out from Sydney and across the world. The Eternity Man brings together one of Australia's most exciting international composers, Jonathan Mills (now Director of the Edinburgh Festival) with the renowned Australian poet Dorothy Porter (Eldorado, The Monkey's Mask) and with director Julien Temple, whose film work, from The Great Rock and Roll Swindle to his most recent documentary Joe Strummer: The Future is Unwritten, has in large part defined punk on the big screen. Australian baritone Grant Doyle, now UK-based, is an emerging opera talent who is already well known to opera aficionados as a dynamic performer with a superb and powerful voice. The other roles in the film are cast with unexpected and exciting artists, most of who are not from the opera world. Christa Hughes, who plays Arthur’s sister Myrtle Stace, is a former member of independent Australian rock band Machine Gun Fellatio and MC for Circus Oz, and truly inhabits both the letter and spirit of the streets. The Eternity Man is the first time that Julien Temple has engaged with classical music,resulting in a radical piece of contemporary opera: political, extreme, tender, humane and earthy. It is a visually sumptuous production shot in HD. The filmic approach combines a strong narrative momentum with the more experimental freedom of some of the best music videos, where words, music and moving images combine obliquely to create something both startling and new. As the timescale changes and the story moves out of the Thirties across the subsequent decades ghostly images and forgotten home movies are projected on faces and locations, the changing textures of the city serve as memories of a vanishing past.

Item Type:Moving Image
Additional Information:Wyver, John; Blight, Rosemary; and Fleetwood, Alex, producers
Research Community:University of Westminster > Media, Arts and Design, School of
ID Code:8197
Deposited On:01 Jul 2010 10:01
Last Modified:01 Jul 2010 10:01

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