The Hour of Prayer

Domestic title:
Experimental short film
Eija-Liisa Ahtila
Eija-Liisa Ahtila
Ilppo Pohjola

Laura Malmivaara


The Hour of Prayer is a split-screen short film about attachment and death. Via events surrounding the death of a dog, it tells the story of death entering a house and of the process of dealing with grief. These autobiographical events begin in New York during a winter storm in January and end in Benin, West Africa, eleven months later. The first part of the narrative is told as a classical tale, in which the words and events explain each other and form a chronological progression. As the narrator speaks, words for time are prominent and images and sounds record the changes of season in various landscapes. The film is made up of original material shot at the time of the events and of reconstructed situations. An actress presents the story directly to the camera on a dark expanse of sand, which as the story progresses is revealed to be a set. The work moves away from the events in the story and the attribution of meaning, becoming a more general presentation of a private experience. It ends with the actor walking through the different sets singing to viewers the words of Lhasa´s ‘Small Song’.

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