Free Improvisation

Bird and Squirrel

Alchemy House


Just outside the town of Breaux Bridge, Louisiana, a set of imposing, twenty-five-foot
columns still stand, the ghostly remains of a once-grand plantation home.
Far from public view, the ruins are like a temple haunted
by the specter of racism and slavery. Plantationland is a
surreal fairytale filmed at this location. Shot without dialogue, the story follows Belle, a mulatto spirit-child who is guided by the winged Jestor on a journey to unearth her family's past.

Belle and her parents live in a nocturnal netherworld,
under the quietly watchful eye the House Spirit, who
stitches the threads of Belle's story together. The
Jestor, visible only to Belle, leads her away from home
to the Tree Spirit, who grants her the power to see the
past and the legacy of slavery which binds her family.

As Belle's conscienceness grows she is able to see
more of the memories that have been repressed. This knowledge threatens to crack the family facade. Aided by
the Jestor's enchanted knife, Belle removes her father's
two lower ribs, as antebellum women did in order to more
tightly cinch their waists. Belle hides the ribs inside a
magic book used to record the practice of slavery.
In a dancing ritual the African Spirit gives Belle
her father's ribs, now strung on a ceremonial necklace.

Once again her visions guide her onward.
When her parents begin to acknowledge the
truth of their past, Bell returns the ribs to her father.
With this, Belle's true journey begins.