Volcano Saga

1989, 28 min, color, sound

Based on the thirteenth-century Icelandic Laxdeala Saga, this narrative reverie is a televisual retelling of a medieval myth about a young woman (played by Tilda Swinton) whose dreams foretell the future. Shot in the dramatic natural landscapes of Iceland and in New York, this performance-based work uses ancient dream analysis as a starting point for a densely textured tale, in which the young woman's interpreter (played by Ron Vawter) hears her dreams and sees their meaning. Jonas employs multilayered digital effects to create a ritualistic dreamscape of the young woman's imagination and desires. The ghostly overlays, otherworldly images and mythical text imbue Volcano Saga with a haunting beauty.

Directors of Photography: Toon Illegems, Jules Backus. Music: Alvin Lucier, Jon Cooper. Editors: Robert Burden, Kathryn High, Joan Jonas, Branda Miller, Jill Kroesen. With: Tilda Swinton, Ron Vawter, Joan Jonas. Narration: Ruth Maleczech. Produced by Joan Jonas and Alan Kleinberg. Coproduced by Continental Video, Antwerp. Produced in association with New Television, WNET/WGBH.