Book of Days by Meredith Monk

“Book of Days” is a film about time, originally drawing parallels between the Middle Ages, a time of war, plague and fear of the Apocalypse, with modern times of racial and religious conflict, the AIDS epidemic, and fear of nuclear annihilation. In light of the current pandemic of 2020, the cyclical nature of such phenomenon has made itself known once more. While the film provides no answers, it nevertheless is a tribute to vision and the imagination, and a poetic incantation of that which connects us. “Book of Days” previously aired on PBS, was shown at the New York Film Festival and was selected for the Whitney Biennial.

Around 1350, a young Jewish girl in a French village begins to have premonitions of the future. She draws rockets in the sand, explains these marvels to her grandfather, and visits a silent madwoman. The streets of the village are populated by farmers selling produce, itinerant storytellers and renegade friars. Like most of Meredith Monk’s performance works, “Book of Days” weaves together characters, music, movement, time and space. In this remarkably moving film, Monk skillfully draws parallels between a time of plague and fear of Apocalypse, and our time of AIDS and fear of nuclear annihilation.

About The Author

Meredith Monk is a composer, singer, creator of new opera and musical theater works, films and installations. A pioneer in what is now called extended vocal technique and interdisciplinary performance, she is the fourth generation singer in her family. Since graduating from Sarah Lawrence College in 1964, she has created more than 100 works. During a career that spans more than 35 years she has been acclaimed by audiences and critics as a major creative force in the performing arts. Monk has received numerous awards throughout her career, including the prestigious MacArthur Genius Award in 1995, two Guggenheim Fellowships, a Brandeis Creative Arts Award, three Obies (including an award for Sustained Achievement), two Villager Awards, a Bessie for Sustained Creative Achievement, the 1986 National Music Theatre Award, sixteen ASCAP Awards for Musical Composition and the 1992 Dance Magazine Award.

Conceived and Directed by Meredith Monk. Cinematography by Jerry Pantzer. Art Direction and Costume Design by Yoshio Yabara. Music by Meredith Monk. Produced by Catherine Tatge and Dominique Lasseur. Photo Credit: #1 Meredith Monk directing "Book of Days". Photo: Dominique Lasseur / #2 Toby Newman and Pablo Vela. Meredith Monk's "Book of Days" Photo: Dominique Lasseur.

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