“Breaking into Trunks” takes the form of a meditation on the interior orders of the universe. Inspired by visits to the Gstaad-Saanenland it draws inspiration from the mysteries of music, physics and economics. From the hunt for the resonant ‘Stradivarious Violin’ trees that found their way into the hands of famed violinist and conductor Yehudi Menuhin, to the search for the mysterious Higgs Boson particle in nearby Cern and the tally stick system used by local farmers, it traces a path of order and disorder, beauty and chaos as it might be staged within the humble confines of a local barn.
The film shows the process of a 250-year-old tone-wood tree being cut down (breaking into its trunk) on the last autumn full moon of 2016, the moment when the sap-level is at its lowest, the wood the driest, and the acoustic properties the best. The straight lines of the wood’s grain, themselves tallies of time, are what make the sound resonate so perfectly. The music for film is composed entirely with a violin. The voiceover recounts parts of a short story attributed to the late 4th century BC Daoist philosopher, Zhuangzi, titled "Breaking into Trunks" which contemplates the nature of wisdom and its effects on the ordering of the world. The text’s strong resonance with todays political climate, paired with the image and sound, lends the whole film an allegorical character.