September 1, 2008

Walker Films

Walker Film Screening, September 10, 2008
Bruce Conner:
A Movie, 1958, 16mm, 12 minutes
Breakaway, 1966 16mm, 5 minutes

Benita Raphan:
Absence Stronger than Presence, 1996, 35mm, 11 minutes,
2+2, 2002, 35mm, 11 minutes
The Critical Path, 2003, video, 13 minutes

If I could have a film projected continuously on the wall of my house, occupying space like a painting or photograph, I’d have Break Away playing. There are two stars in this black and white, 1966, 5-minute film:
1) A sexy brunette (Antonia Christina Basilotta) with long dark hair and heavy bangs dancing in a playful way and
2) Bruce Conner’s camera and editing skills.
Conner’s camera angles capture the dancer’s complete lack of self-consciousness and his editing combines the music with her movements, creating emotional cohesion. At points in the film, Conner stretches the soundtrack, blending the speed of the filming, and frequency of cuts with fragments of the dancer’s body resulting in bright blurs of body parts streaking across the screen. The playfulness of the dancing and the LSD-edgy music, combined with the varying speed of filming, highly contracted tones, position of the dancer in the frame, and angle of the camera expresses the quintessential 1960s.