Back in the early Summer of 2019, I was invited by friend and filmmaker, Jordan Buckner, to produce his short animated film, When The Tides Went Down, for Screen South and the BBC. Jordan and I have worked together previously on the live-synchronisation animations La creation du monde (2013) and Red & The Kingdom Of Sound (2017) for ACT and ONE respectively, and Jordan’s //_sleeper for the BFI.
When When The Tides Went Down is broadcast on BBC4 on Sunday night at 10.55pm as part of a showcase of new animation by young directors, it will no doubt strike a peculiarly chilling note for audiences in light of our current circumstances. While Jordan’s haunting vision of a ruined England speaks to some unspecified extinction event triggered by climate change, it makes for unsettling viewing as we sit inside our houses contemplating the far-reaching effects of COVID19.
Filmmakers have been drawn time and again to imagining the end-of-days. When The Tides Went Down is an elegiac and ambiguous addition to the genre. Watching Jordan’s film again I was drawn to sound designer Nainita Desai’s use of the plaintive cry of the curlew; I was reminded how bird song has quickly become a key motif of our present predicament, how bird song has heightened our sensitivity to the emptiness of our streets and encourages us, however queasily, to imagine the peacefulness of a world without us.