Wil-o-Wisp is the first in a series of filmic works by Rose, which focus on radical economic, environmental, and spiritual upheaval.
The film questions how the process of privatisation of land has transformed the relationship between individuals and their environments. How is one’s perception heavily influenced by socio-economic contexts? Working for the first time with a full cast and production team, Wil-o-Wisp (2018) follows the fictional Elspeth Blake, a mystic and healer, across three decades of transformation in seventeenth century agrarian England. Through a series of tableaux, we see her life unfold in a world where animism suffused the forest, and magic was real. Meanwhile, the process of enclosure –the division of common land– was violently reshaping the landscape into what would become modern industrialised society.