Come on down for a night of re-interpretations as we plumb the depths of what experimental film has to offer in the time-honored tradition of the Re-Enactment. Not only do we have the Civil War, but we’ve got Indian street kids in Bollywood musicals, celluloid visions torn from the funny pages, and remakes of cinema classics and avant-garde masterpieces.
Featuring: I’m Bobby by Xav Leplae (32:00, 35mm, 2003), Across the Rappanahock by Brian Frye (10:00, 16mm, 2003), Electrocute Your Stars by Marie Losier (8:00, 16mm, 2004), Passage a L’Acte by Martin Arnold (12:00, 16mm, 1993), Mary Worth by Various Directors (15:00, 16mm, 2001)
I’m Bobby by Xav Leplae (32:00, 35mm on video, 2003) “I’m Bobby serves up an unbidden but utterly delightful détournement of the classic Bollywood blockbuster Bobby (Raj Kapoor, 1973), considered scandalous in its day (by puritan national cinema standards) for an eroticised treatment of its cross-caste teenage love story. Filmed on location in India, I’m Bobby shoehorns the original film’s narrative into a half-hour long contraption of exaggerated zooms and bumpy edits, and recasts the adolescent roles with adorably awkward pre-teens. Costumed in oversized shades and uproarious wigs, the kids lackadaisically mouth along with the original film’s dialogue and lyrics, in a droll send-up of lip-synching conventions in the Indian musical. Throughout, the child actors alternate with crudely drawn paper-cutout figures representing the same characters, a device that generates surprising dramatic tension in a climactic chase.” Senses of Cinema
Across the Rappahannock by Brian Frye (10min, 16mm, 2003) “On December 12, 1863, General Ambrose Burnside’s Army of the Potomac engaged General Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia in the town of Fredericksburg, Virginia. Before Burnside’s army could enter the town, Union engineers were forced to lay pontoon bridges across the Rappahannock River under withering fire. Close combat through the streets of Fredericksburg and multiple assaults on the Confederate army entrenched in the heights behind the town resulted in heavy Federal casualties, which forced an eventual withdrawal. In November, 2001, I attended a small and relatively informal reenactment of the battle of Fredericksburg. About a hundred men and women did their best to illustrate the actions of the thousands of young men who offered their lives a century earlier. An air of absurd theater suffused the entire event, which provided the ground for its peculiar truth. Everyone played their part exceedingly honestly and well, and left something on the film I was myself surprised to find there.” – Brian Frye
Electrocute Your Stars by Marie Losier (8min,16mm, 2004) A psychedelic portrait of the lives and loves of the master of absurdist rumination, George Kuchar.
Passage a L’Acte by Martin Arnold (12min, 16mm, 1993) Given context: a Hollywood text from the early sixties; a family breakfast with husband, wife, son and daughter. Inscribed: a re-petition of what is diminished, set apart and alien; a symptom. Four people at the breakfast table, an American family, locked in the beat of the cutting table. The short, pulsating sequence at the family table shows, in its original state, a classic, deceptive harmony. Arnold deconstructs this scenario of normality by destroying its original continuity. It catches on the tinny sounds and bizarre body movements of the subjects, which, in reaction, become snagged on the continuity. The message, which lies deep under the surface of the family idyll, suppressed or lost, is exposed — that message is war. “The first shock, the first flight, the fear at the beginning of the film: The son jumps up from the table and throws open the door, which sticks in an Arnoldian loop of hard, hammering rhythm. He is compelled to return to the table by a mechanically repeated paternal order, ‘Sit down.’ And at the end, when the two children spring up, finally released from their bondage, Arnold is again caught at the door; at the infernally hammering door, as if it were completely senseless to try to leave here — this location of childhood and two-faced cinema.” — Stefan Grissemann
Mary Worth by Various Directors (15min, 16mm, 2001)