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‘Chelsea Wolfe: Lone’ Reviewed
Following on from her incredible 2013 opus ‘Pain Is Beauty’, the inimitable Chelsea Wolfe has teamed up with director Mark Pellington to release an accompanying feature-length film entitled ‘Lone’ – but is it as good as the album? We sent Joy Shannon to find out…
The prolific and genre-defying songstress Chelsea Wolfe has crafted a mesmerizing long-format film called ‘Lone’ with renowned director Mark Pellington, best known for his striking music video for Pearl Jam’s ‘Jeremy’ and his work with artists including U2, Nine Inch Nails and the Foo Fighters. Inspired by the themes of Wolfe’s haunting 2013 album ‘Pain Is Beauty’, the nearly 60-minute film speaks to the sweeping themes of “nature, sexuality, memory, mortality, forgiveness, love, innocence, fragility, violence and beauty”, according to director Pellington. For ‘Lone’, songs from ‘Pain Is Beauty’ are set within a sweeping, extended soundtrack by Wolfe and collaborator Ben Chisholm.
Both surrealistic and expressionistic, Lone crafts a barren landscape and eerie cast of characters which seem to coexist in the tangled halls of someone’s haunted memories. Wolfe’s music weaves throughout, at times desolate and tense and, at other times, erupting into ferociously layering builds of apocalyptic imagery. Like Edvard Munch’s painting ‘The Scream’, this is an emotional landscape where the turmoil of the human figures, the chimera, and the very land itself are intricately entwined, and even when Wolfe’s music finds a temporary calm, the land itself seems to be silently screaming. In essence, this is a surrealistic, psychological horror film, which confronts a barrage of difficult issues in the most visually beautiful way imaginable.
Wolfe recently told the Asbury Park Press that she wanted to bring “the macro and the micro to the film — the largeness and wildness of the world.” For example, ‘Lone’ uses footage from the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan, which Wolfe has expressed helped to inspire her song ‘The Waves Have Come’. Of this Wolfe explained: “We wanted to combine our original footage with old stock footage of vintage home videos, raw wildlife and natural disasters. Each clip and character carries an emotion, shame, guilt, personality, death.”
In the end, this film feels like it allows viewers to boldly traverse the conceptual roads that Wolfe took to concoct the richly layered imagery on ‘Pain Is Beauty’. It feels like both a meditation on memory, reconciliation, and man’s relationship to nature and to each other through the extremes of love and violence, as well as a meditation on the process of creation itself- whether it be through natural processes or through the artistic mediums. Mirroring Wolfe’s genre-defying music, this film would be equally at home at an art museum or art house theatre. No matter the context, this film stunningly features the intricate thought process behind Wolfe’s work.
‘Lone’ is not yet released online, but right now fans can purchase it on a special USB key at Wolfe’s merch store here. Additionally, fans can get a preview of ‘Lone’ through Wolfe’s video for ‘Feral Love’, which features excerpts from the film, or check out the official trailer below…
WORDS: Joy Shannon
You can find Chelsea Wolfe on Facebook.