On the Edge: The Films of Greta Snider

Seen one at a time, Greta Snider’s films might look offhand and oddly incomplete. She eschews technical refinements, seems uninterested in rhythmically precise editing, and often leaves the meanings of her collagelike combinations of material up to the viewer. But the way she partly removes or qualifies her authorial presence has its roots in her feminism. In Mute, one of her strongest films, a man’s obnoxiously slowed-down voice speaks of his desire for the female body, while titles present the voice of the “mute” woman over images that include nudes, shots that seem to connect metaphorically with the text (we read “my nose parched and bled” and see a desert; the collapse of a suspension bridge parallels the disconnection between spoken and printed words), and shots whose meaning is harder to discern. In Portland four people who’ve taken a hobolike trip together recite differing accounts of it; interspersed are off-the-cuff, almost randomly shot images of trains. No-Zone has five sections, many having to do with toxic waste: the first is narrated by someone who finds waste barrels near his home, the last by a longtime Los Alamos worker. We infer that Snider opposes pollution, but the film’s refusal to take a clear stand is both frustrating and fascinating–fascinating because Snider seems to be searching for a less composed, less authoritarian kind of filmmaking. Also on the program are Futility, Hard-Core Home-Movie, Blood Story, Our Gay Brothers, and Flight. Snider will attend the screening. Kino-Eye Cinema at Chicago Filmmakers, 1543 W. Division, Friday, March 28, 8:00, 773-384-5533. –Fred Camper

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): Portland film still.