Films, books, radio

The Luminous Mysteries is a short film that shows nine planetary Holy Rosaries as the spheres through which Dante ascends to the highest Heaven. The film is dedicated to Claudia Uruchurtu, a Mexican activist who was forcibly taken and disappeared during a demonstration—for her political activism—on the 26th of March, 2021, in her home town Nochixtlan, Oaxaca, Mexico. The Shulchan Aruch, the book of the Jewish Law, says that when a person goes missing and the body has not been found, the family can sit in Shiva, the seven days of the Jewish wake when they lose hope that the person is alive. Claudia’s body has not been found.

A feature-length film by artist Nick Stweart, co-written and coedited by artist Helen Blejerman.

Using footage shot on a trip to Mexico, this essay film explores the childhood memories of Irish artist and film-maker, Nick Stewart, and Mexican artist, Helen Blejerman, while also reflecting on contemporary Mexican life as encountered on a two-week trip there. Audio edit- Pip Norton Studios, with thanks to Pinewood Studios. Music, Nils Frahm. Additional piano music, Nick Stweart. Voice-overs, Nick Stweart and Helen Blejerman. Mexico trip, EuroOaxacan Initiative of Transformative Culture. Funded by EU Cultural Programme.

BOOKS

My full work Women Artists Under the Nazi Regime was published in the special edition of the journal Literature and Belief, edited by professor Victoria Aarons from Trinity University (2021).

My first graphic novel was published in French by Presque Lune Éditions, France (2014). This French version (hardcover) can be purchased at the main bookstores in French-speaking countries or directly from the publisher.

My experimental graphic novel explores the strength of dreams as well as the impact that a paranoid mother has on the imagination of her seven-year-old daughter. This is a story where we see the landscapes and the words and thoughts of the characters, but we do not see their bodies. This is a short graphic narrative that explores an old family secret.

Lulu la Sensationnelle Best Graphic Novels of 2019

COMFOR network – academic Dr. Veronique Sina, University of Cologne, Germany.

“A story told with great economy and poetry… a faceless silent movie of a graphic novel.”

Broken Frontier, May 2019. Full review by Jenny Robins, here.

“A book of remarkable sensitivity.”

Planetebd.com  25 Feb 2015. Full review by Sarah Dehove, here.

“Lulu la sensationnelle is a gem. Intelligent, psychological, suffused with poetry.”

First page of BODOI. 25 Feb 2015. Full review by Laurence Le Saux, here.

“Poetic writing.”

Médiathèque de Deux-Sèvres. Full review by Mireille, MDDS here

“Un livre très surprenant.”

A radio review that starts at 1.24.00 min- La Radio JET FM de Nantes, Nov 2014.

“A graphic elixir where time stops.”

Mes Premières Lectures. Full review by Nelly Olson.

“A particularly moving book!”

Canal BD, Oct/Nov 2014. Full text here.

“Une histoire émouvante et poétique qui aborde avec délicatesse la maladie mentale et ses conséquences sur la vie familiale.”

Dbd Magazine, Dec 2014/Jan 2015. Full text here.

Self-published, translated into English (2019). To buy this book please email mail@helenblejerman.org

My second graphic novel is a detectivesque story of love and self-sabotage. It takes us from Mexico City in 2017 to Puerto de Veracruz after the Mexican Revolution in the 1930s. I undertook the writing of this book after finding a pack of love letters in a flea market in Mexico City. I chose to trace and fictionalise the journey of the author, Tito, an aspiring filmmaker and son of one of the ‘mad women of the revolution’ inhabitants of the Nautla Psychiatric Hospital. Self-published as an e-book. To buy this book contact mail@decipheringmexico

My story ‘The Island’ was included in this issue by the Centre for Poetry and Poetics and the Creative Writing Department at Sheffield University. The book was launched at the Traces and Invisible Wounds event in November 2020.

Short story ‘Synesthesia’, book ‘Sheffield’. Ed. Emma Bolland, published by Dostoyevsky Wannabe. 

RADIO

Deciphering the City

I walked in and around the borders of Sheffield, England, and I took notes of my impressions. I read my notes creating four one-hour recordings. These were broadcast weekly by Radio Sheffield and produced by Mind Labs. My recorded impressions as a foreigner returned to the urban land, via the radio signals.

Is a metropolis something one could decipher? How to discover its real substance, the centre of its essence? I wonder if the truth of a city is based on its history or does it lie in its own present. Perhaps it becomes projected onto what others perceive, or it is reflected in what it inspires in others. Images from films and literature influence the collective imagination about a place, but Umberto Eco says in his essay The Line and the Labyrinth “Culture is not possible without recognising a border”.

El Jardín de Nuestra Lengua (Our Language Garden)

This is a radio project I wrote in 2012 and co-produced with cultural Radio UNAM 96.1 fm, Mexico City—fifteen vignettes 7 minutes long). In each transmission, I spoke with a Mexican person based in Britain and asked them to bring with them a meaningful Mexican word and a personal story connected to that word. We looked at the dictionary to see the origin and the use, but above all, we listened to the intimate anecdote; we engaged in the guest’s memory. And we felt how that allowed closing the gap—with language—between the person and their homeland.

Broadcast by Radio Sheffield Live 93.2 fm March 2012 and by Radio UNAM in Mexico City, September 2012 and January 2015. Radio UNAM, producers Emiliano López Rascón and Arfaxad Ortiz; research: philosopher Paniel Reyes Cárdenas, musicalization: Xanic Galván Nieto (In Spanish).

Our Language Garden

We played a language game with the audience and people in the studio based on my project Our Language Garden. The first rule was to say a word that bring back memories.