Mystic Chords of Memory explores how people experience and maintain connections to their shared past and culture in Wales, through different kinds of narratives about place. Principal photography took place in summer of 2019, in geographical regions across the country ranging from the coal valleys of the south to Holy Island in the north. The full length film (in post production) features individuals whose knowledge and experiences include coal and slate mining, land-based art practices, folklore and storytelling, holy wells, sheep farming, local and national history, and environmental stewardship.
I had a written my masters thesis on sense of place and place attachment, so those concepts were at the forefront of my thinking when I was developing this film. The idea for the film started with my own familial connection to Wales (where I had never been) through my maternal grandmother, and prompted reflection on different forms of relationships to place. I spent almost two years researching different regions, histories and cultural beliefs in Wales before I started planning the shoot. Most of my participant recruitment was accomplished by joining various Facebook groups, as well as through the wonderful nonprofit, Trec (Folk Development for Wales).
Needs subtitles at times, especially for the first speaker (not the narrator).
There certainly is a foundation/core of a film here. The part of the two women (wives) reminiscing remind us that despite much of the hardship and loss (and today’s aversion to coal) this history has a very human and social element and shaped lives beyond the work day.
Also, as much as I would like more details about place, I also respect that the film is not focusing on “a history of a place”.