The Twilight Angel: A film by James Koskinas and John Witham

T h e  Tw i l i g h t  A n g e l


a film by James Koskinas and John Witham

 

February 6, 2016
11:30 - 12:30 PM
Artist discussion following the screening
LHUCA Firehouse Theater
511 Ave K

This event is free to the public

An artist is confronted by a huge blank canvas and a deadline to complete the last painting of a series of twelve. He has hit a slump and has difficulty starting on the last painting. His identity is wrapped up in painting and the barren canvas makes him question who he is.

His cry of “Who am I?” is answered by a voice from his past. He is swept into the morass of the Vietnam war as an 18 year old on his way into town and to Mamasan’s bar with his buddies. A perceived tragic incident en route follows him the rest of his life. Remorse becomes embodied in his resistance to start painting.

WRITTEN and PERFORMED by James Koskinas 

produced by Julie Schumer
a Screeching Crow Productions, LLC film
cinematography and editing by John Witham

 

 
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The Twilight Angel Synopsis

An artist is confronted by a huge blank canvas and a deadline to complete the last painting of a series of twelve. He has hit a slump and has difficulty starting on the last painting. His identity is wrapped up in painting and the barren canvas makes him question who he is.

His cry of “Who am I?” is answered by a voice from his past. He is swept into the morass of the Vietnam war as an 18 year old on his way into town and to Mamasan’s bar with his buddies. A perceived tragic incident en route follows him the rest of his life. Remorse becomes embodied in his resistance to start painting.

Attempting to reassure himself, the artist recounts the pivotal experience of deciding to become a painter. Reaffirming a part of his identity, the artist describes how, later, working with “desperadoes “in the cement fields was a great existential moment of his life. Lifted by that remembrance he begins to make the first red brush strokes on the canvas.

While on a break from painting he sifts through a suitcase of old letters to gain inspiration. He finds letters to his family and rediscovers his youthful poetic self as well as the years of unspoken or absent approval. His letters from the war show his innocence and humanity. He dreams he’s in the jungle, a dark place that hints of the unreality of the war and a fear of what is coming.

The artist craves relief but is thrown back into the responsibilities imposed on him by the painting, his past and his art dealer’s demands for the completion of his series.

The painting progresses but he is unsatisfied and attacks it with a sword, eventually realizing that this bold, definitive action has connected him to his essential artist self.

On the floor of his now vacant studio, the artist repairs the rents in the canvas with safety pins. The only other object in the dark room is a stark image behind him reminiscent of a sailboat with an empty mast. He hoists the canvas up onto the adjacent easel, ready to set sail.

He now has the strength to enter the underworld to recognize and be confronted by a series of ghostly images compelling him to ask, “Why are the dead the dead?” This surreal scene, showcases his powerful figure paintings as he passes through a ritual acceptance of life’s impermanence.

Overwhelmed by grief he runs away into a vast landscape of sky and sand and recounts a parallel story of going AWOL from the war. While on the sand he comes to accept his responsibilities and returns to the studio and his
painting.

As he ritually prepares to resume painting he is now surrounded by his figures and draws on power of their presence. The scene alludes to the artist as shamanic cave-painter.

Now back in the creative flow, he continues to be energised by the process of recalling and releasing significant others in his past. He tells a story of his last visit with his beloved grandmother and how he left her to go “north.”

The last scene is back in the artist’s studio populated by the supporting presence of his paintings. He testifies to the value of all that has made him who he is. He paints exuberantly declaring his ownership of his unique artistic voice.

Brought to you through a generous gift from the