The Lost Days

France/UK/US, 1999
47 min. Digibeta PAL, Colour, Stereo

Press Quotes

cette page en français

“One of those rare and dedicated contemporary travellers whose filmmaking reveals high ethical and aesthetic principles of the kind set down by Chris Marker… This study of melancholy, alienation, otherness and difference would fit together well in a double bill with Marker’s Sunless (1983).”
Jurij Meden, KINOPLUS, Slovenia

“A strange feeling of melancholy haunts Laura Waddington’s The Lost Days. A young woman is on a journey. Her first stops are Marrakech, Lisbon and Paris. But the cities are just a backdrop for her imagination. Hazy streets, fleeting images from another world. A meditation on what we are and where we come from. A portrait of being on the road and being lost in time”
Andreas Burkhardt, TIP MAGAZINE, Berlin

“The tram appears to float and silently sway, as it makes its way through the narrow streets of Lisbon’s old town. The camera, as it looks outside, captures fleeting impressions: rushing pedestrians, a street sweeper, old men leaning against the entrance of houses. “Sometimes,” says the woman of the voice over, “ when I watch the people, a feeling of sadness invades me and I think of all the other lives I could have had”
Maya Mckechneay FALTER, Vienna

“A story told with many cameras; a girl, we never see, but whose point of view has been recorded by 15 camera people, recruited by the English filmmaker Laura Waddington, to film their cities as stages on a journey of a fictive character. Through these fifteen perspectives, The Lost Days transports us from Jaffa to Taipei, passing through Bosnia, Hong Kong, Moscow and other equally evocative cities. With each new Hi-8 cassette she received during the year she was making the project, Laura would modify her road story about this wandering girl, lost in time, meditating on the things she believes to be disappearing. Refilmed on television screens, slowed down, re-coloured, saturated, these synthesised images plunge us into a forty-minute journey, which is fabulously sensual, melancholic, poetic.””

“The beauty of the images in Waddington’s films, combined with Turner’s hypnotic music scores, fascinate. But it is a beauty arising only from a deep intellectual and emotional involvement with the material filmed… As for reality, the voice over of The Lost Days expresses an unequivocal opinion, which shows she is not only interested in criticising society, but essentially in thought and perception.”
Olivier Rahayel FILM-DIENST, Germany 2005

“It is what allows her to make The Lost Days without having filmed a single shot. Here, the aim was to transform images filmed by other people in Europe, Asia and the Arab world into her own images. But aside from a retrospective appropriation — the calling into question of the concept of author — it is once again a way of seeing, of seeing with and through the eyes of other people. To join and mix together multiple points of view alien to one another into a single gaze — a gaze that stretches on a geographical scale towards the transversal. To make of the eye an organ, dedicated to voyage, to perpetual exile, one that ignores frontiers and encircles the world in an endless trajectory”
read article

“Waddington’s is undoubtedly a cinema of migration, initially conceived as the recounting of an existential condition (the author lived without papers for many years in New York) and later as a crossing, a passage towards other places, other confines. The choice to use video corresponds with a need to maintain complete stylistic and production freedom, far from the model of cinema in the strict sense, so much so that her first films do not contain scenes directly shot by her but a patient work of montage. Her wandering gaze places at the center of the lens, “corps déplaces”, in transit, on the edges of the world, often barely recognisable with the borders of the frame”.
read book passage

“There’s something deeply erotic to Waddington’s works, particularly since The Lost Days when she stopped – then out of material necessity – to work with images running at normal speed and started to use slowed down moments made more passionate by Simon Fisher Turner’s soundscapes. Travelling becomes one with loving, the drawn-out, hyper-present moments become memories grasped at, the way one commonly tries to elongate the flow, fleeting moments of passion.”
read article

“The vague images, often shot from a car windscreen, show sunlit, snow-covered or blue-shadowed roads, street corners and alley ways in the Middle East, North Africa, Europe and the Far East seem to follow one another endlessly. Passers-by move past, accompanied by street sounds, soft, murmuring music and the voice of an anonymous woman telling the stories of her travels and reflections on her lover in New York, who is hopefully still waiting for her”
read article
Teddi Dols, WWVF CATALOGUE, Amsterdam

“A story comes to life: after writing a tale about a young girl travelling through Europe and Asia and filming what she sees, Laura Waddington contacted people in fifteen different countries. She asked them to film their own cities, as if they were her protagonist. Out of these ruminations has come a wistful video that delves deep into the heart of a place, from the point of view of an outsider but one who seems to have her finger on the pulse, wherever she is”
THE NEW YORK VIDEO FESTIVAL, Film Society of Lincoln Center

The Lost Days is the story of a journey and even more than the film of Irit Batsry it pushes further the attempt to construct an entire film, using the eyes and images of other people. “In 1996, I wrote a story about a girl who travelled across Europe, Russia and Asia, filming the things she saw. That year, I contacted people in 15 countries and asked them to film their cities for me, as if they were her. Later, I reworked their images to create the journey, as I had imagined it.” The images, blurred almost to the point of disappearing, create an intimate relationship between the places filmed and the narrative voice. Using a fictional device, the memory of these places is evoked, as if the narrator had actually been there. One of the two voice-overs is spoken by Chantal Akerman, the Belgian director of “Je, Tu, Il, Elle”, “Nuit et Jour”, “d’ Est” and other memorable films …while the music is by Simon Fisher Turner, author of the soundtrack “Blue” by Derek Jarman.”