Temenos (DVD) BFI


“In Temenos I wanted to clear a space. The landscape is empty yet something happens; a disquieting dimension manifests itself in this becalmed landscape. Nature and ordinary things such as a tree or the sound of a bee acquire a heightened presence” – Nina Danino

‘Temenos’ means a sacred site or ritual precinct. The film Temenos explores the phenomenon of visionary experience, taking the viewer to locations where the Virgin Mary is said to have appeared, including Lourdes, Fatima and Medjugorje in Croat-occupied Bosnia where the visions continue. Nina Danino films the landscapes that have witnessed these transcendental appearances, imbuing them with a sense of the sacred.

These locations are both specific and unknown since viewers are never told where they are. Instead the audience is taken on a journey, during which they experience the raw exposure of emotion and the haunting voices that appear on the soundtrack. The operatic soprano Catherine Bott, the Tuvan diva Sainkho Namchylak and the New York experimental vocalist Shelley Hirsch all deliver extraordinary performances. Across the landscape these voices weep bitterly, hum gently or give vent to unearthly sounds, sounds of nature, the screams of dementia or angelic arias.

Both black and white and colour film is used and the camera’s circular panning movements give a feeling of otherworldly weightlessness; Nina Danino herself reads from the memoirs of visionaries.

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