Saturday, August 6, 2011

8/24/11 Curated by Tara Nelson and Mike Piso

Lightning Over Braddock

by Tony Buba

*80 min.

Lightning Over Braddock is as eccentric a picture of America as has emerged in the last two decades. Like Buba's earlier short films, it chronicles the decline of Braddock, Pennsylvania, a hard-luck town which once flourished as "Pittsburgh's shopping center." It concerns a director (Buba, playing himself) trying, without much success, to make a movie with a crazy street hustler named Sal, who considers himself responsible for Buba's (modest) success. Like Errol Morris, Buba has a fascination with the idiocyncratic details of daily life, and uses his formidable sense of humor to document the decay of industrial America. Lightning Over Braddock, Buba's magnum opus, might have its tongue in its cheek but its heart is always firmly in the right place.

Five Bad Elements

by Mark Lapore

* 1997
* 32 minutes
* B&W
*16mm film

"A dark and astringent film that allows the filmmaker's personal subconscious drives and the equivocal bad conscience of ethnography to bleed through into overall content. ... The hand held camerawork and the particular leverage of THE FIVE BAD ELEMENTS both pushes and works against LaPore's previous tendencies in order to create compound fractures of potent abbreviations and overextended unexpurgated scenes in which sight is caught actively probing or transfixed in seeming paralysis. By interrupting already truncated and mysterious unmoored images with sections prolonging the durations and decay time of images normally torn from our sight, LaPore offers not provocation or obsession as much as permission to travel deeper into the image. The image as it pertains to actual experience - not only a filmic event or an approximate residue. That stands in for something else as all images do. Refusing to satisfy curiosity with information, LaPore frustrates the usual complicities between image and documentary fact by dealing with representation as an execution of likeness, while still reckoning with the standard exchange rate of the image in its metaphoric fidelity to the real, the elusive and the tangible aspects to the image. LaPore's audacities are almost camouflaged by his refined sense of restraint, his austerity and lyrical contemplativenes. ... By building the film on normally inadmissable evidence, telegraphed inferences, metaphoric leaps and omissions, damaged testimonies and scattered remains, the film fabricates an impeccable and elegant architecture from a materially incomplete and unsound body. In the fragmented corpus of human beings and continents which is THE FIVE BAD ELEMENTS, LaPore has created a film which itself acts as an absorbent object, a kind a metastatic sin eater that aims at expiation through its own contamination, redistributing poisons into a netherworld that still clearly resides at the core of its own physical and visible existence." - Mark McElhatten