Argentine singer and queen of all things experimental Juana Molina has a new short film out, and its otherworldliness perfectly encapsulates her upcoming album Halo.
The grainy, five-minute video, “Lentísimo Halo,” was designed to feel like a forgotten black-and-white film experiment discovered in Man Ray’s closet after decades. Molina collaborated with Argentine director Mariano Ramis, who explained that they came up with the concept for the video after discussing “luz mala,” a mysterious, haunted light found in some folkloric stories in Argentina and Uruguay. According to some legends, the floating light is made up of pain and terror, and those who follow it find only human remains.
“Juana told me something about the way glowing bones are related to the mythical ‘luz mala’ in the deep night outside the city,” he said. “I was quite familiar with those stories as a kid, so I connected a lot with that. It was very stimulating process.”
Ramis said he also drew on the work of musician Robert Wyatt, novelist Juan José Saer, structural cinema, and symbolism for the project. The scenes in the video read almost like a Rorschach test, with images of Molina, the woods and the moon just barely distinguishable under warped layers and noise. Ramis shared that he made the video using a laborious, frame-by-frame animation technique that involved an inkjet printer, laser film paper and soy sauce — a method he said provided him “random accuracy in the detail of each frame.”
“I wanted the video to be an experience of beauty which illustrates the song, a portrait of the intimacy of Juana’s mind in that beautiful and strange house in which she lives,” he said.
The video’s song — named after the album — captures some of the eerie energy Molina has become beloved for throughout 20-year career. She’ll release Halo on May 5.