You are viewing a read-only archive of the Blogs.Harvard network. Learn more.

Tricksey Art Films

As I and about a dozen other people sat staring at a black screen for at least 10 minutes last night during the screening of Derek Jarman films at MIT, I chuckled at what seemed like some sort of test: how long will an art-film audience watch a blank screen before suspecting that there is some sort of technical problem with the image rather than the artist’s intention? Last night the answer was about 7 minutes. But there were actual technical problems with the previous film, so our faith was shaken. Not Guy’s though–he told me he had seen Jarman’s Blue, which apparently is nothing but a blue screen with dialogue and sound, so the black screen was likely intentional. And in fact, it turned out that it was. Oh we of little faith.

5 Responses to “Tricksey Art Films”

  1. Hervé Girod
    November 5th, 2004 | 7:55 pm

    It reminds me of the last film I say from the taiwanese director Tsai Ming-liang : “Goodbye Dragon Inn”. All the film takes place in an old cinema in the Taipei suburbs, during the last evening before its closing. There is not any “real” action or plot, and once there is a several minutes static take of the empty theater. This film is excellent.

  2. Filmbrain
    November 5th, 2004 | 8:32 pm

    Herve is so right (as usual) about Goodbye Dragon Inn.

    What did you think of The Last of England? I haven’t seen that film since it was first released. I was in Berlin, I had smoked way too much hash, and the movie gave me the fear.

  3. Aaron_Art_Man
    November 5th, 2004 | 10:34 pm

    What is so amazing about this form of art is that no matter how many times it is put on stage or film, it never seems to lose its effectivenees albeit only initial and short-lived.

  4. cynthia rockwell
    November 6th, 2004 | 12:00 am

    filmbrain i can’t believe you took the time to use html tags to italicize those film titles! i liked the film, or at least the first 7 minutes or so before there were technical problems and they had to switch to a different film.

  5. Hervé Girod
    November 9th, 2004 | 7:34 pm

    By the way, this discussion reminds me of another film (which I sadly could not see), which is called “Blanche Neige” (Snow white) by the late portugese director Joao Cesar Monteiro. It is a tribute to the writer Robert Walser (who died freezing in the snow), and the screen is almost entirely and obstinately black during more than one hour. What is funny about it is that this film received money from the portugese government and it was sort of a scandal in portugal that he could made this film with taxpayers money !!