Written in the late 19th century, The Hound of Heaven is often interpreted as an autobiographical poem about an addict, the poet Francis Thompson, in London running away from God in order to pursue his addiction. N.D Wilson’s short film adaptation translates perfectly due to ubiquity of these themes, even today. Modern embellishments such as music, sound design and lighting elegantly compliment the dark material of this extended chase sequence.
Los Angeles-based rapper Propaganda assumes the role of the speaker who pursues the young female protagonist. The title credits fade between The Hound of Heaven: a dream, a poem, a play, a film. When a film is labelled as anything other than a film, it can often suffer from pretentiousness. Here however, it is an accurate description as the short film fulfils all of these roles: the poem is read throughout the duration of the film; the disconnected reality in which the film takes place borrows heavily from dream convention; and the sets, the frequent use of single source lighting, and animated backdrops all serve to enhance the theatrical nature of the film.
The fact that N.D Wilson attracted the attention of Hisao Kurosawa, the son of filmmaking legend Akira Kurosawa, with this unique short film is testament to his ability to craft. His debut feature film is in post-production and he is currently working on an adaption of a C.S Lewis novel. He is certainly a name to look out for in the future.
The Hound of Heaven premiered October 4th at The Raindance Film Festival in London.