Watching the Detectives (2017, Chris Kennedy)
Silent and over a half hour long, so I played Zero Kama’s The Secret Eye of L.A.Y.L.A.H., as the director undoubtedly would’ve intended if he could’ve afforded the rights. The day or so after the Boston Marathon bombing, represented mostly through screenshots from reddit: marked-up surveillance photos and a long-distance attempt at forensic investigation by the chatmob. At least I liked that the text was against a gentle wash of dark static instead of plain digital black. Last ten minutes is just reporting news with no new redditting.
Once Upon a Screen: Explosive Paradox (2020, Kevin Lee)
Lee’s always in my feed championing essay film, so checking out one of his… it’s short and lo-fi. He parks outside the liquor store that used to be the movie theater where he saw Platoon as a kid, recalling that experience while shooting parking lots and brick walls. The credits shout out the director of The Viewing Booth, which I watched last night.
Green Ash (2019, Pablo Mazzolo)
A landscape turned into blobby light, like peering through fluttering almost-closed eyelids. Ordinary shot of a bush, but the foreground and background bushes jitter and blur independently. Light starts going crazy across grassy fields, a tricky version of Nishikawa’s Tokyo-Ebisu effect, making it feel like this is lo-fi natural footage, but simultaneously taking place in a glitching holodeck. The lush green Argentinian fields with the hand-drawn map at the end gave me La Flor flashbacks. I played Yazz Ahmed’s “Barbara” since the timing matched, very nice.
I Am Micro (2010, Shumona Goel & Shai Heredia)
Narration by a film artist who dreamed of being Godard or Pasolini before everything went commercial and became “scattered,” the camera roving the grounds of an abandoned studio.
Five by Tomonari Nishikawa – all quotes are by the director, from his website.
Scenes of a noisy train station, frames within the frames showing different actions, sometimes like a shot has been divided into a semi-grid and each segment is playing a different moment in time. Shot on film, which seems excessively difficult, since he says they’re “in-camera visual effects,” so what, mirrors? Exposing partial sections of the film then running it back?
45 7 Broadway (2013)
Times Square, and this time it’s the full frame overlapping with a time-shifted version of itself, but each source has been processed as red, green or blue, appearing to be a 3D effect gone horribly wrong, or a broken RGB projector during an earthquake, quite wonderful.
Manhattan One Two Three Four (2014)
Quick swish pans up, down, and across city buildings, rapidly cut together (“all edited in-camera”), no sound.
Sound of a Million Insects, Light of a Thousand Stars (2015)
Crackling hum, and a very scratched mothlighting blue-dyed image, the sprocket holes often visible. This one is political, the film image resulting from being buried in radioactive soil the government said was safe.
Amusement Ride (2019)
Tracking across the metal skeleton of a Japanese ferris wheel, never looking out at the typical views, the camera panning up a bit at a time, “which resembles the movement of a film at the gate of a film projector or camera.”