Around the Coyote Film and Video

There’s a real gem in this program of six works by five young Chicagoans: Dubi Kaufmann’s four-minute video My ABC, a playful rendering of learning, language, and life itself as absurd. In each of the video’s 26 brief sections–one for each letter of the alphabet–a character in a bare, white-walled room acts out the section’s title. For “Surrealism” he floats about in rapid stop-motion; for “Trade” he throws a few boxes out of the room and receives a few others. The room’s shape echoes both the section titles and the shape of the screen–equivalences that, combined with the skits, take us to the brink of Zen. Also delightfully playful to the point of absurdity is the program’s feature, Tchavdar Gueorguiev’s Narrow. This seems to be a narrative, but its story makes little sense. Parts often begin with a mundane conversation between a couple that soon becomes unaccountably ridiculous; other times it’s the style that comes apart, as when the camera panning between two people talking becomes shakier and shakier. Characters play pool with apples; whole sections are seen in color negative. There are recurring references to Adam and Eve and to Christ, but the film adheres to no belief, not even atheism–evident in one take in which a character sings “Amazing Grace” with considerable conviction. While the film often confusing, I enjoyed its tone, which reminded me of the pointedly unfunny koanlike Russian jokes an emigre friend used to tell. Also on the program are works by Dan Andries, John Beasley, and Bea Bellino. Kino-Eye Cinema at Chicago Filmmakers, 1543 W. Division, Thursday, September 5, 7:00, 384-5533.

–Fred Camper

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): Photo from the film “Narrow”.