We Had the Experience but Missed the Meaning (2014)
Two sections, each introduced with half of the film title. First, a woman waters the plants indoors, then waters herself, stepping clothed into the shower. Somebody speaks of wishing her friend Veronica was a real sister over a mild garden scene superimposed over ocean waves. Second, driving slowly through an alley, and projecting images onto the pages of a book.
Live to Live (2015)
A desert mountain pan. EKG reading of her own self, heartbeat synched to a Rushmore soundtrack song. High altitude mountain clouds over drone music. Self consciously showing the filmmaking elements, with light flares as film runs out, sync sound clapper, changing exposure. Ends with a minute of flashing red and blue color fields over atonal sounds (“a recording of an orgasm, which was then put through a synthesizer wave”), so basically the same ending as Lux Aeterna.
025 Sunset Red (2016)
The mountains are red, then they are not. Someone hums through a harmonica for ages. I dig the film-damaged wild-west segment over electric guitar, but of course I would. I take it from the red paint and faded photographs over a Neilyoungian tune that a politician in the 70’s was murdered? Fortunately no, the politician is her father, former head of the Communist party and still alive.
Words, Planets (2018)
Squeezing a lemon to death… hand-mutilating filmstrips in a cactus patch, then screening the mutilations. Gentle film scratches play over an old pop song. A love-entanglement logic problem is read aloud. The sound recordist begins to appear in the shots – she is into messing with sound and sync in her films. Constructed in response to a Raul Ruiz essay.
A Film Comment interview reveals she is from the Basque country in Spain, her professors were Peter Hutton and James Benning and Thom Andersen and Peggy Ahwesh, and she had a formative encounter with Hollis Frampton’s Lemon. Andrew Busti is in the credits of these movies – I’ve seen his name around – and We Had the Experience was made with Fern Silva, with thanks to Raya Martin. Starting to think that every filmmaker knows each other.
Akosua Adoma Owusu:
Intermittent Delight (2007)
Katy recommended this, said it recalled Jodie Mack. This adds split screens and jittering camera, and it splices in scenes of the production of the textiles instead of the production of the film, the whole thing intercut with classic American TV ads.
Tea 4 Two (2006)
Black girls with a white doll advertised as Beautiful Chrissy wear horrible white plaster Halloween masks and straighten their hair so they can be beautiful too. A letterboxd commenter points out the Fanon connection.
Oh wow, someone wearing a Trash Humpers Michael Jordan mask spends a long time prepping to jump into a swimming pool, while the audio plays insane lock grooves leading up to God’s Gonna Trouble the Water.
Pelourinho: They Don’t Really Care About Us (2019)
Travel footage, with quotes from W.E.B. Dubois in the 1920’s about Brazil not allowing Black visitors into the country. Confirmed that the title is a Michael Jackson reference. Owusu keeps cutting to a film artifact, a color field with a single sprocket hole, which weirdly ties the whole thing together. Learned from Sicinski that Pelourinho was “ground zero for the African slave trade in Brazil,” and that it’s referencing current right-wing racism in Brazilian politics as well as the past.