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The Rime of the Ancient Mariner

Lawrence Jordan

USA, 1977
42 minutes, Colour, Sound, 4:3
Original format: 16mm film
Available formats: 16mm

Original narration by Orson Welles, made possible by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.
Using the cut-out style of animation I tried to marry the classic engravings of Gustave Dore to the classic poem by Samuel Taylor Coleridge through a classic narrator: Orson Welles. It’s a long opium dream of the old Mariner (Welles) who wantonly killed the albatross and suffered the pains of the damned for it. – L.J.
‘The film, far from being a mere visual accompaniment to the poem, has an integrity of its own. Throughout the film, serpents, butterflies and other creatures from Jordan’s earlier works such as Duo Concertantes and Gymnopedies appear, bearing the unmistakable signature of the artist, creating mysteries, subtleties and rich asides. These are the strokes of genius, the touch of the craftsman, which have turned old material into new, translating Nineteenth Century art into a totally new kind of masterpiece. The mariner lives as he has never lived before.’ – Carmen Vigil, S F Cinematheque.