Solo duet

A poetry film exploring our yearning for connection with each other and with the earth, and our paradoxical longing for perfect, fearless aloneness – against the backdrop of the devastating losses of the Anthropocene.

  • Janet Lees
  • Janet Lees
  • Project Type:
  • Genres:
    Videopoetry, Poetry film
  • Runtime:
    4 minutes 58 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    July 9, 2022
  • Country of Origin:
    United Kingdom
  • Country of Filming:
    United Kingdom
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Director Biography - Janet Lees

Janet Lees is a lens-based artist and poet. Her films have been selected for many festivals and screenings, including the Aesthetica Art Prize, the International Vidoepoetry Festival, and the Zebra Poetry Film Festival. In 2021 she won the Ó Bhéal Poetry-Film competition. Her art photography has been exhibited around the world and her poetry is widely published and anthologised. She has had two books published: 'House of water', a collection of her poems and art photographs, and 'A bag of sky', the winning collection in the Frosted Fire Firsts prize hosted by the UK's Cheltenham Poetry Festival.

Add Director Biography
Director Statement

This poetry film is based on my poem 'Retreat'. It was written during a period of deep grief which provoked a reevaluation of everything I believed about myself. I felt lonelier than at any other time in my life, experiencing the personal losses against the backdrop of the universal losses of the Anthropocene; the relentless violence being inflicted on the earth. It was like being on the edge of the world, externally and internally. In that stripped back landscape, there was nowhere to hide. But through the pain of facing myself, I learned that loneliness is survivable and transmutable, and that at the heart of it burns a fierce love. We yearn for connection, and at the same time we long for perfect, fearless aloneness – which paradoxically is where the door to connection is waiting to open (writing the poem was an act of almost blindly feeling my way back into connection with the land and the sea). By bringing part of that paradox to the piece, this hypnotic song by Tonic Walter and Nina Nst provided the perfect foil to the poem. The footage I filmed during two trips across the sky and the sea at a time when grief and fear were again brought into sharp focus.