Conversations with Unicorns by Spike Dennis

Conversations with Unicorns is a short film inspired by Peter Carey’s short story of the same name. Whilst the film follows a narrative arc my video’s presentation is somewhat abstract having drawn inspiration from experimental film makers like Stan Brakhage and directors such as David Lynch.

The film deals with themes relating to death and resurrection – concepts with which the unicorn has long been symbolically associated. I have drawn upon a range of symbolism to reinforce these themes as has been seen in art throughout the ages to create an allegorical film. This includes swans who are often associated with the goddess of death and have been said to act as ‘psychopomps’ – accompanying the souls of the dead to the far northern otherworld. Likewise squirrels were once said to be the ferrymen of dead souls, packing the souls of the dead into the shells of nuts and ferrying them across the River Styx as can be seen in this illustration from a medieval manuscript.

The unicorn is a lunar creature and is represented by the moon whilst the rainbow represents the triple goddess in her death aspect. In Greek mythology Iris was not only a messenger of the gods but also the goddess of the rainbow – a bridge across which she would lead souls from the land of the living to the worlds of the dead.

– “On the island of immortality called “Calypso” the iris was found in the meadows… as a death flower“

Runtime: 5 minutes 46 seconds

Additional voices by Layla Holzer