Brian Frye’s ten-minute short is in four sections, each a roll of film shot at a San Francisco location, each manipulated in a different way. But what looks at first like film experiments or formalist exercises soon becomes surprisingly moving. In the first roll, Frye takes straight images of a street and alternates them with other images of the street superimposed on one another–these shot from slightly different angles, sometimes through a color filter. Objects change from natural colors to a state in which their colors seem to separate; bland building facades seem to have rainbows hidden behind them. In the fourth section views of Alcatraz with dark horizontal and vertical bars obscuring the edges of the image are rapidly intercut and superimposed on one another. Through all the reframing the image of Alcatraz endures. Frye’s careful balance of unmodified “objective” images and the manipulations–we see the street and his alterations simultaneously–makes ordinary views seem subjective, internalized, emotionalized. This and two other films on the X-Film program–Laura Poitras’s eerie Exact Fantasy, based on fan letters to media stars like Shannen Doherty, and Ariana Gerstein’s poetic, collagelike Magic Boxes–suggest that this last evening in the series, which also includes films by Jim Flannery and Mary Slaughter, is one of its strongest. Lunar Cabaret & Full Moon Cafe, 2827 N. Lincoln, Thursday, January 25, 8:00, 327-6666. –Fred Camper
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): film still.