In Sunset Demo/Sonya, the viewers’ first encounter is of a mountain range on a dark blue night. The camera is still and we hear birds singing from afar.
As the seconds pass, we start noticing a round, light orange disc appearing from behind the peaks of the mountain.
The disc was actually a five-meter-in-diameter, two-dimensional sun, painted in reflective orange color on a simple piece of found cardboard.
The movement of the sculptural element, i.e. the orange disc, was being controlled by a set of stage workers.
The mountain chosen for the movie is actually a man-made, sand mountain in a huge construction site in Tel-Aviv, invaded at night by my crew.
After the “sun” had slowly reached the peak of the mountain, the shot is fast forwarded for a couple of seconds until the completion of the actual sunrise. Two stage workers held the “sun” behind the mountain and slowly lifted it up to a giant spotlight, which resembled the sun’s arrival.
In order to mimic the time-lapses seen in nature films, once the “sun” has reached it’s peak, the stage workers had to hold it in place for the next three hours until the actual sunrise.
The following set of shots is of the “sun” appearing behind different buildings in Tel-Aviv.
These shots, and their hand-held, not so smooth movement emphasizes the fact that there is someone behind the scene operating the movement, sitting for hours behind a mountain holding a fake sun, even if we cant see him.
The last two shots of the film are shot during the real sunset.
Two piers mark the edges of the frame from each side.
At the end of the right pier, the real sun is kissing the water, while at the end of the left pier; the fake sun is held by two men attached with harness to the bottom of the pier.
Sunset Demo/Sonya was originally made as a present to my wife Sonya. It was an attempt to deal with the kitschiest, romantic subject of all: the sunset.
The materiality of the fake “sun” and its hand-held movement suggests a domestic notion of the sublime. While the suspension of disbelief is constantly being undermined throughout the movie, failing plays a large part in the meaning of the work.