Part of Winter 2008
R. Bruce Elder has been an avant-garde visionary in the realm of experimental cinema for over thirty years. Deeply passionate about non-narrative filmmaking, the man and his works have inspired a new generation of experimental filmmakers. In 2007 he was honoured by the Canada Council for the Arts with a prestigious Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts. In addition to being a prolific filmmaker he is also an author, critic and influential educator.
Eros and Wonder (2002) is a mysterious meditation on existence, inspired by spirituality and erotic wonder. Elder’s work is not easy – this multi-layered film is complex, revealing a deeply excavated psyche. Eros and Wonder is a passionate, mildly apocalyptic and beautiful film.
The physicality of Eros and Wonder – flashes of images, layered surfaces of poetry and sound – is a visceral experience. The soundtrack combines distorted voice-over with romantic music. Visually the film uses both analog and digital technologies to create a dense vocabulary of footage of urban landscapes, historic German locations, and both sexual and sensual images of a female body. He transfers the film footage to video, then uses this technology to alter the footage before outputting the film back onto 16mm. “The final stage (transferring and screening the projects on film) is at the heart of all of my conceptualization, planning and production. The final project should be viewed in its entirety, and viewed on film – the experience is truly unique.”
There is the desire on the part of the viewer to decipher the opaque surfaces of images and sound stacked upon each other, each layer resonating and rubbing against the other in constant friction. However, a narrative is always out of reach, spurring the viewer on, keeping them entranced in his erotic vision. Elder makes the viewer an accomplice in his deeply excavated psyche, asking the viewer to keep searching, to dig deeper in their own attempt for meaning.