The Empyrean is an impressionistic ensemble film and a deeply moving series of interconnected portraits of young love. Three couples and a young telepath are entwined on a visceral journey through the spectrum of ways in which we attempt to transcend our mortality through sex, violence, and the profound delicacy of love.
THEMES AND INFLUENCES
“We turn in the same circle, and never leave.” -Lucretius
THE EMPYREAN is a dangerous and beautiful tale- a visceral portrait of power, violence, control and transcendental love.
The title itself is a reference to the final canto of Dante’s Paradise. The Empyrean is the non physical realm of pure light and love beyond time and space.
“Like sudden lightning scattering the spirits of sight so that the eye is then too weak to act on other things it would perceive, Such was the living light encircling me, Leaving me so enveloped by its veil of radiance that I could see no thing.” -Dante “Paradiso”
THE EMPYREAN also has an undeniably tragic dimension and like all great tragedies deals with the tensions between “Fate and chance, free will and destiny, inner flaw and outer circumstance.
THE EMPYREAN is also ultimately about the collision between grace and beauty and violence and death and how these seemingly opposite forces are bound together in chaos.
As we are working with people playing versions of themselves, the characters in THE EMPYREAN are remarkably complex and nuanced as the written fictional aspects of their character are constantly fused with aspects of their actual lives.
In the tradition of many great ensemble films, the structure of The Empyrean allows for thematic development through repetition and elliptical and at times sudden transitions- creating a synergy in the narrative that has a marvellously exciting momentum all its own.
I am also very inspired by the idea that the portrayal of sex throughout the film can be a meaningful and profound form of subtle character development. As we are filming with actual couples, the tiny moments of intimacy captured in these scenes are heartbreakingly beautiful. Tonally, THE EMPYREAN has dimensions that feel akin to myth. There is an elliptical austerity in the structure of the story that gives the unfolding narrative a great sense of portent and most importantly an overwhelming sense of inevitability.