Our Mekas student workshop culminated yesterday in a screening of all the complete, or near-complete films. The films covered a range of structuring and sequencing principles, all within the limits of non-narrative film-making. I thought I’d try and list them (with apologies if I’ve misnamed anyone).
Aaron’s piece made a big impression, structured by the alternation of two tropes: flash images of colour photographs, or stills, that seemed to come from his own domestic sphere and personal history, with sequences of black and white moving close-ups of figures sucking on lemons. The structuring device of alternation was the point for me, rather than the why of what he was sequencing.
I think it was Felicity whose piece was structured by bookending mirror image sequences of a girl walking along, then retreating down, a path.
TK brought in a swathe of home movie footage shot by her family over two (or three?) generations in Louisiana, and mixed it in with black and white material shot on 16mm as part of the workshop. She edited together sequences of similar subjects (seaside; debutante ball; learning to walk) shot over decades, and ran a sound edit of found material (a hurricane warning from the radio in the 1970s; her grandfather playing the piano) alongside it.
The effect is of anachronistic combination – Eisenstein’s horizontal, and vertical montage. TK is thinking about adding voiced narration, which would linearise it, maybe ironing out some of the more impressionistic creases.
Jahar and Katie’s film was edited in 5 chapters, named loosely after the content of each: Knives and Forks in Pellici’s cafe; Click Kill in the butcher’s; White Blanket in Soli’s Laundrette. There’s something unique feeling about this piece – a 16mm documentary about this part of Bethnal Green in late 2012.
Ernesto’s memorial to his father’s love of the rain was given impulse and shape by a feeling, objectified by the almost abstract shots of an umbrella; the thing standing in for the feeling.
Amir and Trevelyan chose another way altogether, their collection of semi-abstract shapes and shadows given intensity by the decision not to underscore with music.
Henriette’s piece ‘one day the ark came to my house’ was structured around four or five poems or pieces of prose, each sequence opening with a hand drawn graphic as a chapter marker.
Lucy and Troy both used shared footage of members of the team dressing up in animal costumes, carnival dress, ball masks, edited into rhythmic montages;one of the pieces built up garage band loops into a crazed cacophony, intensifying the repetitions in the images.
And whose film Doppelganger followed a Cindy Sherman look-alike up and down stairs, into a church, with heavy and dramatic foley footsteps? It was Harriet. (thanks Harriet!)