VALSE TRISTE, 1978, 16mm, sepia/sound, 5 minutes
VALSE TRISTE wistfully recalls Bruce Conner’s boyhood in 1940s Kansas. While the artist’s early films were almost exclusively made in black and white, here he films in sepia tones to create a poetic and highly intimate film. Using found footage of Kansas homesteads, small-town life and family scenes, Conner creates a non-narrative but highly associative filmic sequence. Montages of random yet familiar imagery appear throughout the film: a paperboy cycles down a street, a couple in overcoats enter a taxi, cars crawl down long roads, a man and a boy build a bonfire, a family pose by their farm. The film also pays deep homage to the Surrealists and trance films. Conner re-creates his childhood as a pre-WWII American dreamland past accompanied by the theme music from the radio program I Love a Mystery and Jean Sibelius’ orchestra.
MARILYN TIMES FIVE, 1968-1973, b&w/sound, 13 minutes 30 seconds
Created from 1968 to 1973, MARILYN TIMES FIVE is composed of clips from “The Apple Knockers and the Coke”—a 1948 girlie film featuring actress and Marilyn Monroe look-a-like, Arline Hunter. As Monroe’s song, “I’m Through With Love,” plays five times, footage of Hunter seductively posing for the camera is interrupted by fragments of black leader. Conner edits the film to arouse and frustrate the viewer’s desire to see. Extensive repetition, abrupt abbreviations, gradually protracted excerpts, and non-linear sequencing reveals film to be merely a subjective construct—one which commodifies celebrity and exploits women. “In total, the object of desire in MARILYN is mediated by so many factors—from Marilyn Monroe’s death and the age of the original film to the lethargic pace and absence of narrative closure in Conner’s version—that is transmogrified into something truly strange, at once erotic and deadened.” (Hatch, 179)
Complimentary screenings will take place at 12pm, 3pm and 6pm.