Wednesday, December 03, 2008

First Review of 575 Castro St.

Daryl Chin was nice enough to watch my new short film and write up some thoughtful reflections on his fabulous Documents on Art & Cinema blog last week. He gives me a brief tangent in the midst of his lengthy and entertaining critique of Janet Gaynor Day on Turner Classic Movies. How perfect!
"Anyway, over the weekend, i watched a short film made by Jenni Olson, "575 Castro Street" (which was the address of the store owned by Harvey Milk in San Francisco). It was quite a lovely short... consisting of shots of the (reconstructed) store interior (used as the set for the Gus Van Sant movie "Milk") accompanied by a taped message by Harvey Milk, which was made "in case of" his death. (Milk felt that he would be assassinated, because his stature as an openly gay man elected to public office was going to be under attack.)

Jenni's film brought to mind the attempts (since the 1960s) to find a way to meld "radical" content to formalism. On its own, it's a very evocative short: the "empty" interiors take on a ghostly quality as Milk's words (which foretell his assassination) pervade the space. Milk's own space is devoid of his presence, which is reinforced by his own words which explain the possibility of his absence.

I was reminded of how many people (Straub-Huillet, Marguerite Duras, Yvonne Rainer, Peter Wollen and Laura Mulvey, William E. Jones) have attempted to create disjunctive relationships between sound and image. "575 Castro Street" is a evocative addition to this aesthetic legacy."
— Daryl Chin, Documents on Art & Cinema

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