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SHOW AND TELL #7: Seán Martin

Seán Martin is a filmmaker and writer based in Edinburgh. He’ll present his film A Priest from a Different Land in Nature Spirits programme.Why does the priest come? To baptize? Or to bury? Seán’s film uses a text by Robert Walser to meditate on perception, endurance, and being in the world.

1. What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Walking on a beach, breathing in the wind and light, being with it, not wanting anything more.

2. What lies at the heart of your own desire to make films?
To witness or reveal mystery. As Robert Bresson said, Show what, without you, might never had been seen. I also like Tarkovsky’s dictum, It’s not a question of details, but of what is hidden.

3. What are the first things you do in developing a film idea in response to a subject?
Cogitate. Make notes (sometimes). Go for a walk.

4. What’s your favourite film and why?
Tarkovsky’s The Sacrifice showed me the world as I had never seen it before, dreaming and waking intertwined, equal importance given to both. Also his use of space, light and colour were revelatory. And sound too: those shepherdess calls…

5. Choose 1, 2 or 3 of your all-time favourite music tracks!
I’m not sure I could whittle it down to tracks. My desert island discs would probably be Bruckner’s 8th Symphony, performed by the Munich Philharmonic, conducted by Sergui Celibidache; The Who’s Live at Leeds; and Keith Jarrett’s Lausanne Concert (the last 15 minutes in particular).

6. From your favourite poem – could you give us a few lines that mean something to you?
I once saw Ted Hughes read Hawk Roosting. It wasn’t a poem for those moments, so much as a shamanic invocation, a magical rite. It brought home to me the power (and importance) of the spoken word, of living presence.

7. If you were to die and come back as a person, animal or a thing, what would it be?
A dog. (Wag more, bark less.) Or come back as me, and do it all again.

8. What is your greatest extravagance?
Pizza with blue cheese.

9. What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally?
Pizza with blue cheese.

10. What is your final word.
Pay attention.