A young woman stands in front of a car. In the background, metropolitan details can be seen. A man whose face is half-illuminated by the sunshine; behind him, a yellow cab races by. A young couple and their child, a girl with braids, perhaps at the seaside. Intimate photographs which tell of family ties and friendships, of sunny afternoons and a precious relationship with great artists, all an expression of the season of New American Cinema.
The crowded streets of New York, the traffic, the noise, the stoplights, the usual ongoing construction work, and the usual daring cyclists. But this time everyone is going in the same direction, the shared objective of the people flocking the streets is to join the Occupy Wall Street protest, a peaceful and positive protest. Even if everybody doesn’t seem to see it the same way.
Each new year Flo and I join the young and many-languaged crowd walking to the top of Brooklyn Bridge ostensibly for the fireworks. Fact is the crowd, the bridge, comprise the spectacle. The Bridge is particularly dear to us since the ‘Sixties, when we learned the story of the Roeblings, father and son and daughter-in-law. The Bridge embodies their wishes for America, their blessing, nothing less. I filmed (on 8mm.) The Sky Socialist back then and this is a follow-up.
The sister of one of the Lumière brothers’ technicians is getting married. The festively dressed guests walk up a flight of broad steps to enter the building. The camera is located inside, facing outward. The guests are coming from the church square, still visible in the background. The monochrome colouring, the clothing, the look of the street: it’s a photograph from the 19th century. As the group begins to move, it’s as if they are walking past the wedding and into our present. [Synopsis courtesy of Berlinale]
“2013. USA. Directed by Ken Jacobs. With technical assistance by Nisi Jacobs. Part two of four. “Joys…began on the corner of Broadway and Spring but it was the next night waiting on Bleecker that it was understood a movie of sorts was underway, depicting a general waiting for the bus rather than one specific evening. Since acquiring a small 3-D camera I dawdle everywhere but prolonged bus-waits allow for a continuity of images, thus a movie. Computer-editing with Nisi Jacobs allowed further investigation, this time into digital 3-D itself.” In 3-D. 40 min.” – The Museum of Modern Art
“Ken Jacobs began annotating a lyrical junkyard allegory with chunks of found footage in the late ‘50s; screened in various versions over the decades, Star Spangled to Death became his life’s work. Incorporating audiovisual material ranging from political campaign films to animated cartoons to children’s phonograph records, featuring Al Jolson, Mickey Mouse, the young Jack Smith, and a half-dozen American presidents, this vast, ironic pageant of 20th-century American history is a unique and mind-boggling contraption, the ultimate underground movie.”