Shattered Realities: Films by Julie Murray

Julie Murray’s short films balance on the knife-edge between humor and confusion, order and chaos, meaning and its absence. An Irish-born New Yorker who also makes collages, Murray edits together her own footage with found footage from various sources, producing a dense weave at once alluring and frustrating–appropriately so, because the form she strives for is both open and poetic, a kind of postmodern pastiche in which meaning is variable but not absent. Two of the films have medical themes, but repeated images of mouth-to-mouth resuscitation and the Heimlich maneuver cannot heal the fractured world of Conscious (1993). Murray calls Anathema (1995) “a film about doubt”: we see a man stunned by a Taser gun, then a group of kids looking at something, then an image of steelmaking; which shot the kids are looking at isn’t clear, a bidirectional ambiguity common in Murray’s editing. The superb If You Stand With Your Back to the Slowing of the Speed of Light in Water (1997) begins as a study of various kinds of motion. Images from an aerial tram leaving Manhattan are followed by images of a nearly static bird, of bugs fighting, and of light bending as it passes through glass. Near the film’s end the tram lands in Manhattan, as if it had reversed direction; as in all of Murray’s films, the images and the editing can pull several ways at once. There are no absolutes, and even the light by which we see is altered by the material it passes through. On the same program, Mantilla (1991) and an audio piece, Binoculate (1995). Murray will attend the screening. Kino-Eye Cinema at Xoinx Tea Room, 2933 N. Lincoln, Friday, January 23, 8:00, 773-384-5533. –Fred Camper

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