Death of Albine, short film
The novel centers on a love affair between a young priest, Serge Moure, and an innocent girl, Albine. The pair repeatedly meets in the beautiful gardens of a dilapidated stately home to consummate their relationship. Serge becomes wracked with guilt at his unwitting sins and is plunged into a deep religious fervor until he eventually leaves Albine to return to his faith.
Albine is left bewildered and suicidal at the loss of her soulmate and finally decides to tear the flowers from the garden to make a deathbed within which she lies down and dies. Our film is loosely based on these closing moments of the novel, as Albine prepares herself for death.
Rebecca Louise Law:
“This book was given to me at the start of my art practice in 2002 and was an inspiration into how far you can use flowers within the creative arts. In this case, Zola uses flowers to describe human emotion and physicality through words.
I have used the extremities of Zola’s writing as an inspiration throughout my art practice. The relationship between the human being and nature is at the core of my work and to capture an essence of this is what drives me forward. I have been wanting to make a snap shot of this scene since art school, so it’s incredibly exciting to finally bring this to life.”
Director: Mike Sharpe
Featuring: Olivia Lumley
Original Artwork: Rebecca Louise Law
Producer: Sean Stuart
Director of Photography: Tony C Miller
Editor: Chris McKay
Colourist: George K
Music & Sound: Echoic Audio
Artist Assistant: Kim Ross, Olivia Deane, Philip Norman, Simon Rees & Aden Stanners
Production Manager: Melissa Massey
Production Assistant: Darren Blackwood
1st Assistant Director: Sean Stuart
2nd Assistant Director: Daniel Stuart
Steadicam: Simon Wood
1st Assistant Camera: Jeff Vine
2nd Assistant Camera: Nick Crew
Digital Imaging Technician: Nick Allsop
Gaffer: Danny Haywood
Electrician: Lee Brinkley & Jovan Lawrence
Hair & Makeup: Vickie Ellis
Photographer: Charles Emerson
Location Catering: Andrew Law & Youssou Diagne
Line Producers: Ian Walker, Felix Jude West
VFX: Rory McLean
Particle FX & Clean Up: Ryan Locke, Sam Humphries
Editor (Cut & Run): Chris McKay
Grade Producer (MPC): Thomas Cole
Colourist (MPC): George Kay
John & Susana Lumley
Richard & Christine Todd
The Bristol Ensemble
Excerpt from ‘The Sinful Preist’:
‘She had always obeyed the voices of the trees. She could not remember having injured a single flower. She had ever been the beloved daughter of the greenery, yielding to it with full belief in the happiness which it promised to her.
She halted and looked around her. The great gloomy masses of foliage preserved deep silence. The paths were blocked with black walls of darkness. The distant lawns were lulling to sleep the breezes that kissed them. She thrust out her hands. It could not all end thus. But her voice choked beneath the silent trees. Three times she implored the garden to answer her, but no explanation fell from its lofty branches, not a leaf seemed to be moved with pity for her. She was entering into the fatal sternness of winter.
She caught sound of a gentle murmur speeding along the ground. It was the farewell of the plants, wishing one another a happy death. To have drunk in the sunshine for a whole season, to have lived ever blossoming, to have breathed continual perfume, and then, at the first blast, to depart, with the hope of springing up again elsewhere, was not that sufficiently long and full a life which obstinate craving for further existence would mar?
Ah how sweet death must be; how sweet to have an endless night before one.
She stayed her steps once more; but she no longer protested as she stood there amidst the deep stillness of the Garden. She now believed that she understood everything. The garden doubtless had death in store for her as a supreme culminating happiness.
It was to death that it had all along been leading her in its tender fashion. After love, there could be nought but death. And never had the garden loved her so much as it did now; she had shown herself ungrateful in accusing it, for all the time she had remained its best beloved child. The motionless boughs, the paths blocked up with darkness, the lawns where the breezes fell asleep, had only become mute in order that they might lure her on to taste the joys of long silence. They wished her to be with them in their winter rest, they dreamt of carrying her off, swathed in their dry leaves with her eyes frozen like the waters of the springs, her limbs stiffened like the bare branches, and her blood sleeping the sleep of the sap. And, yes, she would live their life to the very end, and die their death. Perhaps they had already willed that she should spring up next summer as a rose in the flower-garden, or a pale willow in the meadow-lands, or a tender birch in the forest. Yes, it was the great law of life.’