“There are many films I could list as having been formative in my teens and 20s. They have all been part of a cocktail of form and content that still lingers on, and now affect my own filmmaking processes. One of the key films all along the way has been Derek Jarman’s In the Shadow of the Sun, shot on super 8 and finished in 1975. A soundtrack was later added by Jarman’s friends Throbbing Gristle (1980). The total impact of seeing this film was both inspiring and overwhelming. With such simple tools (super 8, slow motion, superimpositions, a ”psychic” soundtrack of undefinable music) Jarman managed to transmit a completely new kind of narrative. One which spoke in a language of symbols and dreams: a mythological insight into possibilities rather than a fixed and causal display of strange goings-on. A sense of aestheticised reverie takes hold and simply doesn’t let go.
A couple of years ago, I felt I wanted to pay tribute to this film that has been so formative for me. So I dusted off my old super 8 cameras, got some film and started shooting. No rush, no rational planning, just intuitively shooting along. I also took a look at my own archive of super 8 and 16 mm film and found many forgotten moments in there. All in all, something gradually crystallised and eventually it was time to put this together. No one could be better suited to edit this kind of material than Andrew M. McKenzie (who’s also edited all of my films during the recent year). His knowledge of the era, the people involved, and his general aesthetic refinement made him the perfect collaborator on this project.
Music? Keeping everything under the same creative umbrella, I worked with Thomas Tibert and Joakim Karlsson-Kurén (of Swedish Kroll Splint fame, together with Tibert) under the Cotton Ferox name. We played several sessions ”live” in a studio and then assembled the favourite parts into an hour’s worth of psychic soundtrack. And then that was that. The film was ready: Sub Umbra Alarum Luna.
I am very happy to be able to bring attention and respect to Jarman and Throbbing Gristle in general, but to In the Shadow of the Sun specifically. My film is not a ”take” or a variation on an already existing theme. But hopefully it speaks in a similar kind of language that can inspire younger generations to check out the original film.
Sub Umbra Alarum Luna (”In the Shadow of the Moon”) will now be shown on film festivals and in art house environments. In April 2016, it will be officially released on DVD and Video On Demand. More on this will be posted here, of course.”
Carl Abrahamsson, February 2016