In anticipation of the reissue of Max Richter’s pioneering work ‘The Blue Notebooks’ – originally released in 2004, and now re-released with bonus tracks on a Super Deluxe Edition due June 29th on Deutsche Grammophon – is a new short film to accompany ‘On The Nature Of Daylight’.
Filmed in Toronto, Canada in March, 2018 by director George Belfield, with Steve Annis as Director of Photography, the six-and-a-half minute short stars Elisabeth Moss, a recent winner of, among other prizes, Golden Globe and Emmy Awards as Executive Producer of and Lead Actress in ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’. Moss – who calls herself Richter’s “biggest fan”– also produced the film, alongside Richter’s creative partner Yulia Mahr, Stefan Demetriou, Tarquin Glass and Max Brook.
The film, a Somesuch and Globe Productions co-production, is a response to themes raised by Richter’s original composition, which he’s described as “a meditation on violence and its repercussions, inspired both by the Iraq war – which was looming – and my own experiences.” He talks in the reissue’s liner notes of how, as “a very sensitive child, I reacted to the violence around me by internalising everything. I closed all the shutters, built up walls, became as perfect as I could be.”
“When I was asked to do this project,” Moss reveals of her decision to participate in the film despite her currently hectic schedule, “it was a dream come true. My work has been inspired by his music for so many years and not a day goes by on set where I don’t have Max’s music playing in my ears before a take. His music and my acting have gone hand in hand for a long time. So for me the opportunity to act to one of his most prolific pieces was such an incredible honor. Working with George and this entire team was so artistically fulfilling and an experience I will never forget.”
“Lizzie perfectly understood what I was trying to communicate,” director Belfield says, “and brought a lot more to the role besides. She and I spent a lot of time developing her character together before the shoot, building her backstory and writing inner monologues for what she would be feeling at different points of her journey. Despite being incredibly busy on ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ and her upcoming feature projects, she invested a lot of herself into her character. It was amazing to work with her.”
“It was very important to me,” Belfield continues, “to try and be faithful to Max’s music, the worldview that it carries, and where he is coming from as an artist. It’s been the kind of project that has led to intimate, emotional and honest discussions about who we are and where we fit in to the world, and working with Max and Yulia has been both illuminating and rewarding. We all wanted to make something that connects with people in a compassionate way, invites us to share the human experience, and remains true to the fundamental empathy of this piece of music.”