Festival of (In)appropriation DVD #5 includes:
Crop Duster Octet (Gregg Biermann, 2011)
In Crop Duster Octet, the iconic “crop duster” sequence from Hitchcock’s North by Northwest in which Cary Grant is repeatedly attacked by a small airplane swooping from the sky is deconstructed into eight horizontal bands, each of which is slightly out of synch with the next. As the scene (and, in particular, Grant’s body) is continuously decomposed, the patterns of action are refigured and intensified, culminating in a crescendo of convergence.
Saskatchewan (Richard Wiebe, 2012)
Using 16mm footage and Edison Voicewriter recordings created by family members many years before, filmmaker Richard Wiebe – whose family came from Saskatchewan but who grew up in North Carolina – paints a portrait of rural culture in the plains of Canada in the 1940s. Wiebe’s father, grandparents, aunt, uncle and others now gone, along with trains and cattle, populate the stark but beautiful landscape.
I For NDN (Clint Enns and Darryl Nepinak, 2011)
This humorous film comments on the implicit assumptions embedded in our most basic education. Clint Enns and Darryl Nepinak appropriate footage from an educational program designed to teach children their vowels – and an unsuspecting character finds himself serving as an example.
Scarlet (Sharon A. Mooney, 2012)
Audio samples culled from Jane Fonda films from the 1960s and 70s are woven together over lenticular images of sexpot aliens, which are physically tilted to transform one image into another. The meditative soundtrack combined with snippets of dialogue generates a hypnotic atmosphere in which the strange visual transformations seem to reflect our distorted perceptions of ourselves.
Cat Scannd (Michael Guccione, 2010)
Guccione became interested in how a TV image is built. The NTSC standard is a series of scanned lines on alternating fields of 262½ lines resulting in a composite of 525 lines of picture signal. Guccione wanted to slow down what took place in nanoseconds to a perceivable movie experience. He came across one of the first televised images scanned mechanically during the late 1920s by RCA: cartoon character Felix the Cat made up of just 60 lines. The early experimenters placed a 13” paper maché effigy of Felix on a turntable and aimed the camera point at their smiling model as they tried to make television a viable visual medium. Using this footage along with pinches of Hans Richter, Paul Hindemith, Tor Johnson and others, Guccione constructs an absurdist commentary on the televisual image.
Night Hunter (Stacey Steers, 2010)
Meticulously crafted from approximately 4000 handmade collages and incorporating images of Lillian Gish taken from silent-era live-action cinema, Night Hunter evokes a disquieting dreamscape drawn from allegory, myth, and archetypes. Images from four silent-era films featuring the actress Lillian Gish are combined with 18th and 19th century engravings to create rich, imaginative environments. In some instances Gish is cut out of specific scenes and reconfigured in collage environments; in others, collage materials are applied directly to printed film frames. The subsequent fluidity of character and space becomes a critical element in the texture of the film and the identity of the principal character. Music and sound by Larry Polansky.
Machine Language (Robert Todd, 2012)
In Part 3 of Robert Todd’s “Future Perfect” series, which highlights the digital grammar of Star Wars Episodes 1-3, robots speak to one another in series of blips and beeps that – isolated from their narrative contexts and human dialogue – become a mysterious poetry that suggests communication but also refuses to cohere into comprehension.
La Salle Hotel (Scott Fitzpatrick, 2011)
An abstracted depiction of the 1946 fire at the La Salle Hotel in Chicago, Illinois, where even the frame itself threatens to collapse. Archival footage is broken down digitally, colorized, and laser-printed directly onto 35mm film.
Revving Motors, Spinning Wheels (Action Painting) (Jeremy Rotsztain, 2011)
An animated digital painting composed using cinematic gestures from Hollywood action films. High-octane moments from car chases — humming motors, screeching turns, and crashes — are digitally extracted and transformed into colorful abstract expressionist gestures in the tradition of Jackson Pollock. The Action Painting series brings together the adrenalin-filled culture of action cinema and the formalist canon of modernist painting; it follows the recent cultural trend of aestheticizing violence, and pushes it to an exaggerated level.
Forsaken (Heidi Phillips, 2012)
In Forsaken, Heidi Phillips abstracts images selected from found footage using contact printing, hand tinting, and toning. Muscle men, machinery, and building climbers become foreboding figures in this darkly apocalyptic film.
Ghost of Yesterday (Tony Gault, 2012)
This collage of digitally-rotoscoped Super8 home movies bought on eBay explores our collective abandonment of analog imagery and is Gault’s personal attempt to reconcile with digital imagery. A variety of anonymous figures engage in recognizable home movie activities: a woman hands her child to a priest for baptism, a parent holds a small child’s hands helping him walk, a family eats dinner together and sharing drinks, a bride and groom dance at their wedding. Yet only certain parts of these figures are visible, floating against a black background before they, too, fade back into black. The soundtrack – a combination of foleys and Billie Holiday singing “Ghost of Yesterday,” the song from which the film takes its name – further emphasizes the ghostly quality of these images.
Retrocognition (Eric Patrick, 2012)
This animated collage of photographic fragments is based around a “script” made up of audio samples from over 200 different WWII era radio dramas. Drawn from all different genres, these audio clips create a schizophrenic narrative within which the visually fragmented characters are ensnared. By isolating and focusing our attention on the tropes of these radio dramas, Retrocognition produces a critique of the classic representation of the American nuclear family.
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