Shorts Watched in July 2023

Cloudless Blue Egress of Summer (2019, Sky Hopinka)

Split screen (sorry, “two-channel”) film, water and sky giving way to drawings and stories (text on screen, and one stereo channel reading the text aloud). Sounds academic, but really cool in the way Hopinka’s films tend to be.

Kicking the Clouds (2022, Sky Hopinka)

Interviewer’s mother talks about language for a while then gives greater family context, the camera showing beadwork, people from a distance, ground and trees, poetry, and of course clouds.

We Need New Names (2015, Onyeka Igwe)

This covers a lot of ground: racial and gender difference, family history and belonging, tradition and its meaning. Clips from black/white archival films of African dance, and modern video of different dance, each of them tourist-docs the way the narrator is removed from the rituals she sees, including dancing pallbearers at her grandmother’s funeral (who reportedly died at age 103 – mom says that’s not true “but I think you should leave that alone”).

Crocus (1971, Suzan Pitt)

Mom and kid move with awkward paper-doll joints, sliding all over the floor, which is better than dad, who moves with no joints at all, like a he-man figure with a gigantic cock. When the adults finally get down to it, the camera spins around them, then various suggestive objects fly through the room and out the window.

Lili Reynaud-Dewar

In Montreal we checked out a three-part exhibit of her solo works, including a room with a four-screen re-enactment of Pasolini’s final interview with rotating participants reading the same lines, the rare multi-channel video piece that really worked for me. In a larger room was a parallel array of screens showing 30-some dance videos made over a decade – some of which are on vimeo, so I got screenshots.