From: Chuck Kleinhans (email suppressed)
Date: Fri Jan 27 2006 - 18:33:13 PST
I haven't seen it for many years, but as I remember there were two
versions, one full length (about two hours?) and one short one (about
one hour). I believe the film was assembled for a series of events
in NYC called something like Week of Angry Arts Against the War.
(included art gallery events, dance, music, etc.) So, it was
probably assembled from a general call for short films and shown only
once or a few times in its original moment. The long version was
certainly uneven in style and execution and in thematics. It is
often the case that when various artists are asked to contribute to
some kind of political cause, they may just give a painting or a
short film that doesn't specifically address the subject...sort of a
gesture of support (famous name artist can then be used in promoting
the event). So some of the films are very explicitly on the subject
of being against the war; others were more abstract, etc. Jacobs is
entitled to his own opinion, which could also be taken as an example
of the insularity of the avant garde, or its purism.
I suppose the issue is what was more important: making works of
genius experimental art or making a statement against the Vietnam
War? The antiwar movement itself was divided about different demands
and strategies--it had its radicals, and its liberals.
Revolutionaries, Communists, New Leftists, pacifists, Democrats,
nonviolent folks, and "Bring the War Home" were all part of the
antiwar movement. "Immediate withdrawal" vs. "negotiate a peace
treaty." "Victory for Vietnam" vs. "Give Peace a Chance." Vote for
Gene McCarthy or vote for Hubert Humphrey or don't vote. In 68 even
Richard Nixon ran on a platform of ending the war.
Of course a general call for short films to be in an antiwar
anthology film would represent all those different aspects of a
diverse mass movement. And bring forth work from different people
with different aesthetics, access to training, money, equipment, etc.
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