Magdalena Zielinska directs ‘June’ for YANA.
In praise of human vulnerability, the art of surrender, and the longing for both the journeys and places we would like to find ourselves in.
Words from Magdalena below.
Magdalena, this is a beautiful piece. I’m interested in the opening scene and how it came to be a part of the video?
MZ: Listening to the song for the first time made me feel nostalgic. It evoked fleeting moments and vivid memories of the past and summer times.
From the beginning, I knew that the music video would lean towards an impressionist and visual poetic piece rather than towards a narrative.
From the beginning, I knew that the music video would lean towards an impressionist and visual poetic piece rather than towards a narrative. Building the scenes just for one actress and focusing mainly on her inner world, her experiences and emotions, seemed that sometimes, it could be a little bit too vague and hard for the audience to follow and understand everything. The easiest way would be to include a written quote at the beginning of the film or in the description section under the video, but I somehow felt I wanted to find another creative solution.
That is why I came up with a new character, and as we were shooting the clip on the Fuerteventura, I thought that the natural, organic way would be to have it said in Spanish. We went with the boy, as I had thought that such words of wisdom, said by a child, would work as a great contrast; and would emphasize how in touch we are with our emotions, as children, and how we get lost when we become adults.
Could you share a bit of an insight into the shooting style?
MZ: I moved to Fuerteventura with the DOP for three months. We were super lucky because we had plenty of time for location scouting, and it had a significant influence on the final piece. We had days and weeks to think through the options, travel through the whole island, see some locations at different times of the day, and plan our shoot accordingly even to the tide flows.
We didn’t want to shoot in a harsh light so, we decided to shoot mainly during the magic hour/blue hour, sunrises, and sunsets. We had five days to shoot everything. As we were shooting during the pandemic, we couldn’t fly any crew members in, which was funny and challenging, as we organized and produced the whole piece on our own. Being a two-member film crew allowed us to have an insanely intimate and magical shoot. After five days, we were like a real family.
Some of the closer details stand out, what do you think the power is of these kinds of shots?
MZ: All detail shots help us create another layer, draw the emotional landscape and emphasize how our heroine feels and with what she struggles. Although, at first sight, the things that are in the frame may seem beautiful, they hold some unsettling feelings. They are somehow broken, rotten, dry, or dangerous.
The only shot that has a different emotional charge is the final shot, where our heroine turns the crab back on its feet. This idea came up to me by accident, already during the shoot, and luckily it turned out to be the perfect closing scene, complementing scenes from the ocean.
All detail shots help us create another layer, draw the emotional landscape and emphasize how our heroine feels and with what she struggles.
What are you reading at the moment?
MZ: ‘The Well-Tempered City’ by Jonathan F. P. Rose.
- Joanna Niemirska
- Director of Photography