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“One may only grasp the preoccupation’s of Prairie image makers by imagining landscape. Canada’s flatlands appear endless, suspiciously minimal and hypnotically geometrical. The view is infinite and empty, etched in climatic extremes. Prairie cities are dry islands, surrounded by oceans of wheat or snow, culturally subsistent out of necessity, a response to desolation. Isolation provokes fantasy.
There is an edge to Prairie film and video work, a desperate sarcasm that tends toward the surreal. In the following selection of old and new work from the Prairies, artists explore this edge while indulging in fantasies of self and survival. Despite the incredible diversity of style and subject matter, these works emanate from the same starting point: isolation. While one cannot account for a group of image-makers&lrquo;š reactions to the circumstances of seclusion, this programme assumes an instinctive order of strange similarities.
From nostalgia-toned fantasies, first person confessions, and formal deconstructions, the following selection of Prairie works imagines the contours and contents of an empty landscape. Works include Under the Rocking Horse by Kelly Shinfield, Film(knout) by deco dawson, 1919 by Noam Gonick, Hospital Fragment by Guy Maddin, ReRuin by Sol Nagler, 5 Cents a Copy by Ed Ackerman, Seven by Wendy Geller, Monday With the Martins by Jeff Erbach, Nocturne by Michael Crochetier, Eels by Jack Lauder, Tumor by Evan Tapper, and A Day in the Life of a Bull-Dyke by Shawna Dempsey and Lorri Millan.” (Sol Nagler)
Following the screening please join Mike Hoolboom and Coach House Press for the re-launch of a revised and expanded edition of Inside the Pleasure Dome: Fringe Film in Canada. There are nine new interviews in this volume, twenty-five in all, with pages of new pictures, lies, confessions and tantalizing tales. Upstairs at the Rivoli, 332 Queen St. West, from 10:30 pm.
Under the Rocking Horse, Kelly Shinfield (10:00 min., 1998, 16mm)
A fantasy story about a young girl’s summer frolic.
Film(knout), deco dawson (10:00 min., 2000, 16mm)
With the use of rapid cutting, and lyrical movement, Film(knout) concentrates on a young woman who sets down to the task of tying a rope.
1919, Noam Gonick (8:00 min, 1997, 35mm)
An experimental film about the 1919 Winnipeg General Strike. The focus is on a fictional group of gay men who frequent a Chinese bathhouse that acts as the headquarters for the strikers.
Hospital Fragment, Guy Maddin (3:00 min., 1999, 16 mm)
The attempts of a young man (Neale) to consummate his love for a young woman (Heck) are thwarted by a fishmonger (Fehr). The woman’s beloved (Gottli) cuts bark fish.
ReRuin, Sol Nagler (10:00 min., 2001, 16mm)
“Whichever word you speak, you owe to destruction” (P.Celan) [sound/picture ruined and re-ruined at Phil’s Philm Pharm]
5 Cents a Copy, Ed Ackerman (5:00 min., 1980, 16mm)
An innovative experimental animation film that makes moving images with a photocopy machine. Combining bizarre images and a pulsing electronic musical score, the filmmakers have created a mind-expanding work that will linger in your memory.
Seven, Wendy Geller (12:00 min., 1987, video)
Twenty-one single take scenes explore the possibilities and limitations of genre acting. The tape moves in and out of seduction, repulsion, horror, and the grotesque. Commercial sound effects connect each scene and a tinge of black humor underlines the whole.
Monday With the Martins, Jeff Erbach (4:00 min., 1999, 16mm)
The Martins would be a common, happy couple if it weren’t for the fact that Mr. Martin’s penis is a fully functional hand on the end of a short arm.
Nocturne, Michael Crochetier (6:00 min., 1996, 16mm)
A train passes by, and a boy with a sparkler in hand leads us into the world of night. A dark, haunting portrait of the urban landscape in a nocturnal fog.
Eels, Jack Lauder (4:00 min., 1992, video)
A young man shovels out an overflowing sewer and lapses into a state of introspection. In a glaze of toxic fumes, he falls through a thousand eels writhing…landing softly with a knife in his hand. But when this sharpened defense against his own demons turns outward, he becomes confused.
Tumor, Evan Tapper (3:00 min., 2000, video)
A two-dimensional computer animation that explores issues of fear and loss in a darkly hilarious manner.
A Day in the Life of a Bull-Dyke, Shawna Dempsey and Lorri Millan (10:00 min., 1995, video)
This video tells the story of a big boned butcher who finds passion and purpose. From dawn to dusk, we follow the bulldagger into skirmishes, drag, and the arms of a beautiful recruit. Both the public and the private lives of this “strange animal” are documented with the same mix of reverence and glee found in the exposes Bull Dyke mocks. However, because we see the world through the eyes of the subject, Sal, this fictionalized lesbian history is filled with all the joy, pain and ambivalence each of us experiences.
by Guy Maddin
by Michael Crochetier
by Noam Gonick