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A Very Different Time

United Kingdom | 12 min.

A Very Different Time

United Kingdom | 12 min.


W. H. Auden’s poem Paysage Moralisé, written in 1934, is a poem that floats across time and landscape, expressing something of that search for home, for peace, for safety and for meaning which shapes our existence on this planet.


Berlin-based producer Phil Smith brings the poem into a contemporary light, interweaving Auden’s lines with the voices of those who have chosen – for very different reasons – the German capital city as their home. The poem’s images of shipwreck and sorrow reverberate with snapshots from the lives of a Syrian refugee (fleeing war) and a West-African refugee (fleeing poverty, seeking a better life), while we also hear the words of an American musician on a European tour, an Italian-German academic who spends some of her time in Berlin, and a German who moved to the city to escape small-town life. There is no presenter to introduce our protagonists; rather, they step out from the city crowd to offer fragments of their personal stories.

Part radio poem, part documentary ballad, part composed feature, A Very Different Time addresses the hopes and fears that surround movement and migration, timeless themes that resonate strongly in today’s Europe.



Presented by

Phil Smith

He works with sound, words and music - in live performance settings and as a producer of sound art and radio features. He loves to explore the musicality of speech and the role and meaning that recordings can play in our lives. He regularly contributes "radio adventures" to Shortcuts (BBC Radio 4) and his work has featured on NPR, ABC and CBC's Love Me podcast. In 2017 he won the overall prize at the HearSay International Audio Arts Festival (Four Resolutions Of A Diminished Chord). His most recent full-length feature is To Bear Witness, an experimental radio lament broadcast in BBC Radio 3's Between The Ears series.

COMPANY Falling Tree Productions
TRANSLATION Leila Baksienė
SUBTITLES Ignė Narbutaitė
ANIMATION Emilija Juzeliūnaitė

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