Using ideology from the creation of ‘Disco Volodar’, The Orielles directorial debut, ‘La Vita Olistica’ is an extension of their second album’s core themes of space; the film adding chapters time and place for a more in-depth phenomenological exploration. Spurred on by the transfer to life online but not wanting to get washed away by the surgence of live streams, sisters Esme and Sidonie jumped at the opportunity to transcend their music into an ontological experiment by both writing and directing their first short. “So many labels were asking for a live stream and straight away I thought people are gonna get bored,” says Sidonie “so in it’s very basic form we wanted to do something different.”
Taking on the philosophy of avante garde pioneer Maya Deren that ‘one must at least begin with the body feeling’, the film opens with the four piece standing atop Pendle countryside. An image that quickly melts away, plunging into a warped reality that lands you as the POV of a camera, trapped inside a liminal space where a band is in session and each facet is flickering with sensory slices of visual noise. Filmed in Unit 3 Regents Trading Estate, usually a host to Manchester’s best loved music festival; Sounds From The Other City, it’s this symbiotic relationship between projections and surfaces that creates such a textuarised, holistic experience. So immersifying that before you can acclimatise to the cosmic metamorphosis, you’ve been thrown from the vortex and left wondering where the hell you’ve just been.
“I feel like without us knowing it the whole film flows and becomes quite relentless almost. Initially, the idea was to have the pace quite similar throughout and would fluctuate in certain sections,” affirms Esme, “there’s definitely a feeling along with the music where it gets to this point of chaos and tension and release.”
Looking to the past for the future, specifically around the live culture scene of the 60s, the band wanted to pull back to the spectacle of live image, how it was experienced compared to today’s oversaturated and desensitised consumption of live events. “It’s about how accustomed we are to seeing a live stream on TV so a lot of it was relating to the past and seeing the ways they had to grab people’s attention for live events but then also trying to situate it into how people feel now and there’s a loss of experience and physicality of it,” explains Esme.
“I think that’s why we decided to film it in the way that we did with almost the camera being like the spectator as well so when people are watching it from home or wherever, it feels like they’re part of it with us,” adds Sidonie.
Heavily influenced by the notion of Expanded Cinema, Live Culture and referencing the readings of ‘The San Francisco Tape Music Center: 1960s Counterculture and the Avant-Garde’ by David Bernstein the band hope to be able to bring more liveness, immediacy and improvisation to future events. “We don’t want to just do a standard gig anymore,” hints Sidonie, “I’m so excited to bring the projection element into our live performances and make it like that embodied experience, something that people can get involved with and can react to in different ways.”
Choosing to concentrate more on the process of filmmaking and experimentation over narrative, the pair looked to more idiomatic films such as Funeral Parade of Roses (1969) and Meshes of the Afternoon (1943) for inspiration. It’s here where they discover the beauty in imperfections, a trait right at the epicenter of La Vita Olistica. “Honestly there was so much stuff that first time we did it [edited], we were like that’s just hiding a mistake and then by the tenth time we’d watch it we’d be like yeah there’s a deeper meaning to it,”confesses Esme, “but one of the main ideas was the purposeful continuity errors to try and edit bits that don’t flow coherently and make it emphasised a little bit.”
With aspirations of steering away from the digital world and the prospect of more physicality on the horizon, La Vita Olistica is the polysensory starter needed to jolt us back to reality.
Words: Rebecca Power