Meredith Monk

BOOK OF DAYS (FILM, 1988)


Above: Churchyard Entertainment from Meredith Monk's Book of Days (1988).

Black and White and Color, Sound(Stereo/Dolby), 74:21 Minutes (35mm-1:33/video), 1" 3/4" and 1/2"videotape. 55:36 minutes (Video/Television version), 1" 3/4" and 1/2" videotape.

"Book of Days opens, in color, with 20th-century workmen blasting a brick wall, leaving a hole that opens into a black-and-white small town in the Middle Ages. Men, women and children glide about their daily tasks, stopping to answer sometimes tellingly anachronistic questions from 20th-century interviewers...

The medieval Christians are dressed in white; the Jews are in black robes, each marked with a yellow circle. Both are stricken by the plague, for which the Jews are blamed. A Jewish girl has visionary dreams that prompt her to draw crude objects identifiable as a car, an airplane, a gun. At the end of ''Book of Days'' the workmen enter the town and come across the drawings traced into a wall.

But there is no belaboring of those visions - or of the stylized plague. ''Book of Days'' is a very beautiful visual play of surfaces and textures, from brick to rough-plastered wall and from the luminous innocence that lights the girl's face to the canny innocence illuminating the face of the crone, played by Ms. Monk, who teaches her to embrace her visions.

Filmed in Cordes, France, Book of Days was exquisitely photographed by Jerry Pantzer. It is knowingly acted by a cast that includes Toby Newman as the girl, Lucas Hoving as the old physician, Greger Hansen as a young monk and Wayne Hankin as the traveling storyteller. The screenplay was written by Ms. Monk and Tone Blevins." - Review by Jennifer Dunning for New York Times, January 22, 1990.

Directed by Meredith Monk. Director of Photography Jerry Pantzer; Art Direction and Costume Design by Yoshio Yabara; Music by Meredith Monk; Edited by Girish Bhargava.
Book of Days is a production of Tatge/Lasseur Productions, Inc., The House Foundation for the Arts, Inc., La Sept, in Association with Alive From Off Center.

This film is currently available on a DVD with Ellis Island and an interview with Meredith with John Killacky (2006). To purchase Book of Days / Ellis Island for private use, click:

If you're purchasing the DVD of Book of Days / Ellis Island for educational or commercial purposes, please contact sciscioli@meredithmonk.org.

BOOK OF DAYS (RECORDING, 1990)

1 Early Morning Melody
2 Travellers 1, 2, 3
3 Dawn
4 Travellers 4/Churchyard Entertainment
5 Afternoon Melodies
6 Fields/Clouds
7 Dusk
8 Eva's Song
9 Evening
10 Travellers 5
11 Jewish Storyteller/Dance/Dream
12 Plague
13 Madwoman's Vision
14 Cave Song

Robert Een voice, cello; Ching Gonzalez voice; Andrea Goodman voice; Wayne Hankin voice; großer Bock, hurdy-gurdy, bass recorder; Naaz Hosseini voice, violin; Meredith Monk voice, keyboard; Nicky Paraiso voice; Nurit Tilles piano, keyboard, hammered dulcimer; Johanna Arnold voice; Joan Barber voice; John Eppler voice; Toby Newman voice; Timothy Sawyer voice. Recorded June 1989 at Clinton Studios, New York. Engineer: James Farber. Produced by Manfred Eicher.

Book of Days, the audio CD, can be purchased on our Amazon store here.

 

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