Book Chapter

Demons in the Machine: Experimental Film, Poetry and Modernism in Twentieth-Century Scotland



Neely S & Riach A (2009) Demons in the Machine: Experimental Film, Poetry and Modernism in Twentieth-Century Scotland. In: Murray J, Farley F & Stoneman R (eds.) Scottish Cinema Now. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, pp. 1-19.

First paragraph: Avant-garde practices in Scotland have often been overshadowed by the dominance of a strong documentary tradition, and discussions of Scottish filmmaking are generally concerned with debates around national identity. These tendencies work to obscure the achievements of a number of important local filmmakers linked to the international avant-garde. This chapter will explore the work of two such figures: Orcadian poet, painter and filmmaker, Margaret Tait (1918-1999) and Scots-Italian writer, academic and amateur filmmaker Enrico Cocozza (1921-1997). Both attended Centro Sperimentale di Cinematographia in Rome in the early 1950s, Tait after serving in the Royal Army Medical Corps, Cocozza after serving as an interpreter for Italian prisoners in the Army. Their poetic approach to filmmaking was admired by artists, other filmmakers, writers and, unsurprisingly, poets. Hugh MacDiarmid, who served as a subject for one of Tait’s film portraits, published some of her written poetry and wrote about her in his article, ‘Intimate Filmmaking in Scotland’ (1960). Edwin Morgan favourably reviewed Tait’s poems and later wrote a poem in tribute to Cocozza. Both Tait and Cocozza, to varying extents, were influenced by poetry, occasionally adapting and referencing the work of well-known poets in their own films.

Experimental Film; Poetry; Scotland; Tait, Margaret Ann, 1907-1985; Motion pictures Scotland; Motion picture industry Scotland; Cocozza, Enrico 1921-1997

Publication date31/03/2009
PublisherCambridge Scholars Publishing
Publisher URL…-4438-0331-6.htm
Place of publicationNewcastle upon Tyne