The Odyssey: Florence Welch on the film accompanying Florence & the Machine's How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful album

By Ben Miller | 27 July 2016

Created with Director Vincent Haycock, Florence and the Machine's film, The Odyssey, is a seven-part accompaniment to the band's third album

A photo of crowds watching Florence and the Machine's The Odyssey film on a big screen at Latitude Festival 2016
Crowds watching Florence and the Machine's The Odyssey at Latitude Festival 2016© Jen O'Neill
"This is the finale of a very personal project that came from a conversation me and Vince had about a year and a half ago while I was writing How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful.

I was talking to him about the record and the car crash of a relationship break up I was going through. This film is about love, really. At the start of it, when I made it, I was still very much in that feeling of kind of desperation and heartache.

I just didn’t know what to do. There’s a feeling you get...that feeling of unrequited love kind of sets a fire in you and if you don’t do something with it you feel like it’s gonna burn you alive. This film was something I made in order to use that fire.

But the thing is, as I was making it I realised that the love that I was looking for wasn’t really about this person. I was looking for a way to try to love myself, and I’d been looking for that, maybe, in all the wrong places.

The highs and the lows of love and performance, how out of control I felt, the purgatory of heartbreak, and how I was trying to change and trying to be free...we decided we would retell this story in full.

We would reclaim this experience, reimagine it and in some way perhaps I would come to understand it, to exorcise it.

The course of making it was an odyssey: it took a year, we did it in lots of different segments. As it unravelled I came back to myself in a way I’d never even realised.

It started out as a love story between two people and it kind of became about learning how to embrace yourself, even after everything that you think you’ve done and everything that you’ve been through.

It got quite dark – if you’ve listened to the record you’ll know that. Through the odyssey of this film and performing this record all over the world it was a kind of coming back into myself and the film portrays that in a way. And I’m sorry about all the nudity.”




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Three places to find music this summer

National Screen and Sound Archive of Wales, Anglesey
From art to the coal and slate industries, politics to soap operas, pop music to Pobol y Cwm and Country and Western to Cwm Hyfryd - it's all here.

Manor House Museum, Kettering
The current exhibition, I Love Music, has two focuses: pop music from 1950 to the present day, and all types of music in the town across those decades. Until September 17 2016.

Waterside Contemporary, London
The current exhibition, Blood For Light, brings together a cycle of video installations in which fast-paced visuals and music are narrated in lucid and precise language by a voice that is at points poet, seducer, prophet, and agitator. Until August 6 2016.
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