• From Jim Trainor’s The Fetishist

I showed up to last night’s screening of Jim Trainor’s The Fetishist (at the Roots and Culture Gallery near Milwaukee and Augusta) just before Trainor started his introduction, and all of the seats in front had filled up. I had to sit in the back of the room, a few feet away from the 16-millimeter projector that was showing the film. All through the movie I heard its familiar whirr, which sounds like someone operating an eggbeater very loudly or riding an Exercycle in an adjoining room. It fit right in with Trainor’s movie, with its sparse sound design and primitive animation. The Fetishist took 11 years to make, we learned (the 38-minute movie comprised roughly 20,000 drawings that Trainor illustrated himself); the sound of a machine chugging away was an apt accompaniment to this product of hard work.

I think it’s a pleasant sound. The emptier an auditorium is, the clearer it gets. For how many people has it quietly suggested human companionship in near-empty matinees or late-night shows?