Monday, April 25, 2005

Anything to Declare? Movie Comments

This was a set of intimate films all done by students of film-maker and teacher Graham Weinbren, an unassuming fellow, who said during the Q&A that he'd made so many films that he now vowed only to make 1 minute films. Two of these opened the group of films: Q and L, part of a for series of filmseach letter of the alphabet- beautiful.
The films by his students were "Gay Motherfuckers" a sort of artfully filmed hang-out with a group of FTM folks, butch dykes, "biomen," and lesbians talking about masculinity and their own identities, which was cleverly edited to produce both insights and hilarity; "Photo of Luzmilla," the story of a family whose mother's picture was part of a special photo exhibition about Peru called Yuyanapaq: To Remember.
This film, which featured interviews with Luzmilla's two sons who were tortured by the Peruvian police, was very powerful. The older son talked about his experiences of torture somewhat matter of factly, recalling "it was terrible" when.. "they stretched my bones on that pulley, when they tried to drown me in a bathtub full of excrement, when they hung me. If I had to go through it again, I would rather die." The film-maker edited it so that his voice-over played as he walked through the streets of Washington Heights, "once a person has been in prison living only with "a couple of rats"....we are changed forever, we can't concentrate, remember...Even though I am in NY, I don't feel safe." As I was hearing them I thought, "how terrible and yes, how true," and wondered also how many people walking the streets of NY have gone through such harrowing experiences. As I write these statements now, I also think, "aren't these the symptoms that they describe for "post-traumatic stress disorder?"
The younger son was outwardly more expressive about his experiences, crying as he remembered being tortured and made to sing the police anthem while in prison.
The final film, Negotiations, was an intimate set of discussions between a couple, one Israeli, one white American born ot Lutheran missionaries in Japan, talking about the imminent birth of their first child, what the name will be, whether ot have amniosentesis, whether the child will speak Hebrew or English. Very fascinating and touching. It was shot all over the place - the midwest, Israel, and NY, and really investigated both the kinds of differences between people that seem universal to human relationships and the special circumstances arising from a cross-cultural relationship such as theirs.
Tomorrow...two films! Tonight: one video 'Dog Day Afternoon" in preparation. Tomorrow, I will be sleepy.

1 comment:

Todd Diroberto said...

This is a nice article