The Elated Anguish Show

Please join Magic Lantern Cinema in welcoming Chicago-based filmmaker Michael Robinson for a screening of recent work on film and video. Amy Beste of Chicago’s Conversations at the Edge sees Robinson’s work as, “a deft mix of stunning beauty and nervy wit. He combines lush, often optically printed imagery with the electric fuzz of video-games, old movie footage, and dusty magazine layouts in pop-song scored cine-ballads that are at once cynical and sincere.” Robinson writes, “For me, these films all make attempts at turning loss, heartache, failure, etc into something beautiful and exciting;” hence the title: THE ELATED ANGUISH SHOW.


YOU DON’T BRING ME FLOWERS 2005, 8 minutes, 16mm color film with optical sound Viewed at its seams, a collection of National Geographic landscapes from the 1960’s and 70’s conjures an obsolete romanticism currently peddled to propagate entitlement and individualism from sea to shining sea; the slideshow deforms into a bright white distress signal.

THE GENERAL RETURNS FROM ONE PLACE TO ANOTHER 2006, 11 minutes, digital video with stereo sound Learning to love again, with fear at its side, the film draws balance between the romantic and the horrid, shaping a concurrently skeptical and indulgent experience of the beautiful. A Frank O’Hara monologue (from a play of the same title) attempts to undercut the sincerity of the landscape, but there are stronger forces surfacing.

TIDAL 2001, 6.5 minutes, 16mm color film with optical sound A love story told through the newly-haunted home my parents shared for twenty five years. Second in a series of three films made within the year of my father’s death.

AND WE ALL SHINE ON 2006, 7 minutes, 16mm color film with optical sound An ill wind is transmitting through the lonely night, spreading deception and myth along its murky path. Conjuring a vision of a post-apocalyptic paradise, this unworldly broadcast reveals its hidden demons via layered landscapes and karaoke, singing the dangers of the mediated spirit.

LIGHT IS WAITING 2007, 11 minutes, digital video with stereo sound A very special episode of television’s Full House devours itself from the inside out, excavating a hypnotic nightmare of a culture lost at sea. Tropes of video art and family entertainment face off in a luminous orgy from which neither will survive.

CHIQUITITA AND THE SOFT ESCAPE 2003, 10 minutes, 16mm color film with optical sound What began as an effort at proving nostalgia and sentimentalism to be purely mechanical processes became an argument for the opposite through its assembly. Twin attempts at structuring images of home and loved-ones break down in the face of the romantic.

VICTORY OVER THE SUN 2007, 12.5 minutes, 16mm color film with optical sound Dormant sites of past World’s Fairs breed an eruptive struggle between spirit and matter, ego and industry, futurism and failure. For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory; nothing lasts forever, even cold November rain.