An old man meditates by the sea. A little girl is building a sandcastle. A young couple is frolicking on the beach. The day fades into the evening, as do the memories of youth. Pika päeva ehavalgus (The Light of a Long Day) is a poetic short film about the course of life, shot on 16mm. It won medals at amateur film festivals in Yugoslavia, Austria, Finland, Lithuania and the Baltic Union Republics for the humanistic treatment of the subject and the best directorial and acting work.
Former music-video director Michael H. Shamberg debut film is an experimental drama about a woman who comes to terms with painful childhood memories. Orlando is an expatriate American sports journalist living in Paris. She is also slowly recovering from childhood sexual abuse from her father and an incestuous relationship with her late brother. As she wanders the streets on a rainy evening, she sullenly ruminates over her memories. Both Kristin Scott Thomas and Christina Ricci play small parts in this film, while legendary filmmaker Chris Marker provides computer graphics.
Four people at the breakfast table, an American family, are locked in the beat of the editing table. The short, pulsating sequence at the family table shows, in its original state, a classic, deceptive harmony. Matin 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 that lies deep under the surface of the family idyll, suppressed or lost, is exposed–that message is war.
An homage to action films, it tells the story of a chase using scraps of other films as different types of animation (using 65,000 paper printouts of images from 400 live action films) illustrate a classic chase scene scenario: A woman is abducted and a man comes to her rescue, but during their escape they find themselves in the enemy’s secret headquarters.
A landmark of both experimental and queer filmmaking, Kenneth Anger’s film is a bizarre, disturbing dreamscape of violation, rape, and homoerotic sadomasochism. The film opens with Anger, who made this film when he was only 17, awaking from a troubled dream and leaving his house to go on a stroll. He is confronted by a band of buff sailors who proceed to beat, manhandled, and molest him. Recalling other surrealist masterpieces such as Un Chien andalou and Meshes in the Afternoon, this film uses elliptical narrative structure and dream-like visual metaphors and puns.
A helter skelter of late 60’s counter-culture psychedelia played in two separate screens, images of student riots, drag queens getting ready for a night in town, fires, juxtaposed against swinging hippies, Japanese women casually arranging their wardrobe, people commuting to work, and various cartoon strips, all this played over a collage of news report snippets telling about the Communist threat, radio recordings, Rolling Stones, Japanese pop tunes, and Hitler speeches, while flickering images of fires and disfigured babies flash over the screen now and again. It’s all pretty anarchic and adds up to no concrete narrative but it all makes sense in a purely audiovisual way.
In this short film from Yugoslavia, a boy wanders the city alone on a hot summer’s day. More and more unnerved by his own shadow, he attempts to escape it, but ends up finding a new friend instead. Grounded in the architecture and infrastructure of the city, the film turns into a literal flight of fantasy.
Bruce Conner deconstructs the repetitive imagery and messages from media coverage of the Kennedy assassination, fabricating an image track out of the fragments of the paltry documentary footage. The film is divided into two unequal parts, a longer, first section that Conner has called ‘the death of Kennedy’ and an ‘epilogue’ that imaginatively unpacks the Kennedy myth. It is also an astounding exposé of the media’s modes of creating meaning, of constructing messages, and ultimately of controlling information.