An Australian artist who’s cinematic journeys typically reflect the connection people have with the natural environment, Lynette Wallworth has captivated audiences with her film, Coral: Rekindling Venus.
Using photography, film and a range of technologies to convey its message, Coral: Rekindling Venus introduces the audience to the luminescence, colours and textures of the underwater world. The film’s aim, says Wallworth, “is to move people with the beauty of coral reefs”.
In conveying this sense of beauty and mystery of the underwater environment, Wallworth links corals to the transit of Venus. She did so, she says, to remind people of the global cooperation of natural phenomenon.
The film’s opening sequence produces a powerful impact, with the screen filling with teeming phosphorescent plankton, which glow like stars in the stark blackness, before the audience are suddenly greeted by seals. “It is an honouring way to start the film, you are watching but you are also being watched,” says Wallworth.
Most of the filming of Coral: Rekindling Venus, was done on the Great Barrier Reef, and the reefs of Papua New Guinea. Most of the footage was filmed by cinematographer Dave Hannan, however some parts were filmed by specialists in phosphorescence.
A part of the film was also filmed using a florescent microscope fitted with a highly sensitive camera. This was used when filming inside the mouths of the multicoloured polyps, which was performed by marine biologist Anya Salih, who was the scientific adviser for Lynette Wallworth during the film.
Beside the mesmerising cinematography, the film’s soundtrack is also heavily influential in the film’s sensory effect. Orchestral music by composer Max Richter features, accompanied by beats, squeeks and bleeps, which often produces an alien-like sound.
This style was greatly facilitated by hydrophone recordings from the US National Oceanographic and Administrative Association of underwater sounds, which includes geoacoustics of earthquakes.
The film also heavily draws on themes of space and science fiction, with mass coral spawnings giving the impression one is moving through the cosmos at the speed of light. The film’s camerawork also glides through corals, revealing pits and craters like that of another world, before showing creatures with bright lights and strange wings that dart across the screen.
Immersing viewers in another world, this latest work from Lynette Wallworth has garnered a strong reaction from the public, inciting gasps from its typically transfixed audience.
Take a look at some footage from this amazing film, Coral: Rekindling Venus: