The second evening of The 8 Fest 2011 continued at the Trash Palace with series of five small-gauge by female filmmakers called “Personal Cinema.” This selection was some of the most diverse films of this years festival, ranging from the abstract to the very accessible. The diversity of the selections made it one of the most compelling programs of The 8 Fest 2011.
Schizy ““ Barbara Hammer, 1967, 4 min.
Schizy is an abstract mosaic of colours in nature. The film was an expression of the filmmakers’ own coming out process. Showing the change of life with the end of one season and the beginning of another.
She Had Her Gun Ready ““ Vivienne Dick, 1978, 27 min.
Before working with maverick filmmakers like Richard Kern in the 1980’s Lydia Lunch performed in a few very early films of Vivienne Dick. Shot in New York City, the film features a lesbian couple on the verge of a breakup. Lydia Lunch in her usual pouty (but sexy) post-punk era and her androgynous female partner begin the film in a small New York apartment giving each other the cold shoulder, interspersed with bursts of anger at each other. After the breakup Lunch is seen in a barren room and finds her partner on a TV screen. The viewer is told what is going to happen to her (or is it perhaps just the characters thoughts). They met up again in a coffee shop, and then finally on the cyclone roller-coaster at Coney Island. This fantastic film both has a gritty street reality mixed with some really great cinematography, especially in the opening apartment sequences. The final sequence on the roller-coaster is also a highlight and it is likely the only time you will ever see Lydia Lunch smile on film.
A Ball in California ““ Martha Davis, 1987, 17 min.
A Ball in California was a last minute scheduling change from another Martha Davis film Elephant Dreams . Done almost as a travelogue, A Ball in California sets up various situations with a beach ball roaming around southern California. The ball is put in social situations with anyone imaginable from children and older people to animals to see how they react to it. The film is an interesting social study of peoples reactions to a new unexpected element in their life, especially one that they don’t find threatening.
Right Eye/Left Eye ““ Janis Crystal Lipzin, 1983, 6 min.
The film uses an old naval training film superimposed over abstract colours and splices in the narrative. The training film is describing an early 3-D film technique called vectography. The editing of the film is done in such a way that it takes out any educational value and focuses the viewer on the aesthetic of the action and images itself.
Film Notebook Part 1 ““ Marjorie Keller, 1975, 12 min.
The most challenging film of the evening was Film Notebook Part 1 . The film is mostly abstract images broken in sections mixed with home movie footage. There were shots in the film where you could barely make out what was happening and then a figure would slowly reveal itself. The gaps between the sections were slightly too long (long passages of blank film leader), but it was easy to enjoy the minimalistic aspect of the journey during the film portions.