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‘Ever since I left Bangladesh, I have been longing to come back’

  • Published at 01:55 am November 10th, 2018
K Anis Ahmed, Tilda SwintonSyed Zakir Hossain
K Anis Ahmed, Tilda Swinton Syed Zakir Hossain/Dhaka Tribune

Returning to Dhaka, Oscar winner Tilda Swinton addresses DLF and recites from ‘Last and First Men’

Tilda Swinton, acclaimed Oscar winner, has delivered her first public reading of a voice over that will premiere December 1 at the Barbican, London. Before she began, she said, “Ever since I left Bangladesh, I have been longing to come back.”

DLF Director K Anis Ahmed introduced Tilda Swinton who then gave a special reading of composer Jóhann Jóhannsson’s, “Last and First Men.”  

Her excerpt was read in honour of the Oscar-nominated composer, who passed away in February this year. The Icelandic music-writer has released solo albums and is best-known for his scoring of, “Sicario,” “The Theory of Everything,” and, “Blade Runner 2047.”

Jóhannsson’s writing is based on the science fiction novel, of the same name, by Olaf Stapledon. Stapledon’s 1930s novel depicts human history as a series of civilizations developing and regressing, with each civilization seeing minor improvements. 

Jóhannsson’s multimedia take on the story weaves music, film, and Tilda Swinton’s narration together on a backdrop of a decaying futuristic landscape. His story illustrates a post-Earth human colony on Neptune, facing extinction. 

Swinton brought the story to life, reading excerpts from it that describe: history as seen from 2 million years into the future, towers are as tall as the atmosphere, the 18th species of humans as the last men, individuals seeking the power to influence the past, vocal symbolism, and dystopia. 

She followed her reading with a screening of a film that she directed, featuring dogs frolicking in the surf in Scotland.

She concluded the session, saying, “Dogs seem to be the answer, whatever the question. That’s what I call clarity of purpose.”

Swinton, returning to DLF for the second year in a row, spoke on Friday at Abdul Karim Shahitya Bisharad Auditorium of Bangla Academy.