Re: films/videos dealing with power

From: Steve Polta (email suppressed)
Date: Sat Jan 10 2009 - 12:53:40 PST

Gary Hill produced a video in which his daughter either responds to questions or repeats words which are played to her over headphones through a delay, causing her distress and confusion as she attempts to respond to her father and keep up with the flow of information. Can't recall the title. Very discomfitting.

Much of José Rodriguez' work deals with power, exploitation, abuse, etc. Most of his works are "untitled." The one in which the cameraman force feeds a banana to a little boy is particularly strong. I can put you in touch with him if you'd like.

one of Andrew Noren's earliest films——SAY NOTHING? SAY ANYTHING?——was an on-camera interrogation. Described vividly in MacDonald. Out of distribution perhaps.

When I was in college, prof. Trinh T. Minh-ha showed a work by Jean-Luc Godard called MEETIN' W.A. which was an encounter with Woody Allen. Godard speaks French to a translator who asks questions to WA and re-translates back to JLG. WA becomes flustered and disoriented. (I assumed that Godard could have spoken English, and/or that Allen could understand Godard's French.) Very funny and weird rarity. I was told at the time that the work was not distributed and that even classroom exhibition required consent of Allen.

Jack Smith's scene in Warhol's CAMP turns the tables on this dynamic as Smith's passivity and refusal to camp it up and act out stalls the film dramatically. Much of Smith's work seemed to involve frustration and abuse of collaborators and audience, but this does not seem to be much of a factor in his films.

Mark LaPore's crosscultural stare downs are famous. As in A DEPRESSION IN THE BAY IF BENGAL and THE GLASS SYSTEM but possibly most significantly in THE LUNATIC PRINCESS, which also involves his daughter.

I would also recommend Jennifer Montgomery's TROIKA which is a video reenacting a Playboy magazine interview with "Soviet ultra-nationalist" Vladimir Zhirinovsky which involves virtual kidnapping and sexual harassment placed into the words of a passive (female) translator who voices all of the dominating asshole's racist sexist bullshit to the (female) interviewer. Really good if underappreciated film.

The work of Miranda July dramatizes similar dynamics, usually subtly, but rarely as the main focus of her films/videos (THE AMATEURIST may be the exception). See also NEST OF TENS but also her audio releases, particularly THE BENET-SIMON TEST.

maybe more later...

Steve Polta

--- On Fri, 1/9/09, Shelly Silver <email suppressed> wrote:

> From: Shelly Silver <email suppressed>
> Subject: films/videos dealing with power
> To: email suppressed
> Date: Friday, January 9, 2009, 6:48 AM
> dear all:
> i'm putting together several classes that deal with
> power - different varieties of power relations between those
> filmed and those doing the filming. this could be extreme
> (or less extreme) interactions where the
> filmmaker/cameraperson has power (most typical) or where
> it's firmly in the hands of the people being filmed.
> This power can come through the presence of the camera,
> through verbal interaction, or anything else.
> I'm most interested in those cases which would make the
> audience feel uneasy/queasy watching.
> suggestions?
> best!
> shelly
> __________________________________________________________________
> For info on FrameWorks, contact Pip Chodorov at
> <email suppressed>.


For info on FrameWorks, contact Pip Chodorov at <email suppressed>.