The Swimmer: the true story is a chamber piece shot entirely on an iPhone. The film grows out of the Suffolk sky, landscape, the fragile coastline, and the birds that migrate to the marshes every year. But the starting point for this mock documentary is the work of Sri Lankan novelist, Roma Tearne. Her fourth novel, The Swimmer, long listed for this year’s Orange Prize, deals with the barely reported anguish perpetrated by the civil war in her country, together with the subsequent plight of those fleeing as refugees. Roma Tearne is writing a blog about the filming process which you can read here.
The film includes brutal footage from that conflict and then goes on to explore the boundary between fact and fiction. It is not, however, an adaptation of the novel; instead it complements the book by developing its own self-contained narrative. The action is played out by a tiny cast of local untrained actors, and accompanied with a soundtrack created by composer and sonic artist Paul Whitty. For this he has employed sounds recorded along Suffolk coast integrated into a score by Franz Shubert and Ceremonial music from Sri Lanka.
The catalogue includes texts by the artists, Professor John Tollach from the University of NSW, Agnes Kohlmeyer and the sponsors: Adnams of Suffolk, Andrea Hill of Suffolk County Council and Jane Basham CEO of Ipswich and Suffolk Council for Racial Equality.
The Swimmer: the true story will be shown at this year’s Venice Biennale at the Palazzo Zenobio from June 3rd. Thereafter it will be screened at the DSC South Asian Festival in London in October and at the Delhi Festival, India in 2012. For more details click here.