Time Over Time FILMS BY ADELE FRIEDMAN
Five weekends of track work have ended. This weekend, May 23/24, the L subway line between Manhattan and Brooklyn will run normally day and night.
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Notes on Straight From Bertha, Friedman and Weinbren, 2015
Straight From Bertha is straight from the heart. From the mind, it is hardly straight. The Gertrude Stein epigraph—”Everything being alike everything is different simply different naturally simply different”—prescribes the profoundly recursive style of the film will take, starting, as the film does, with the minimalist, structuralist, looping film-within-a-film, appropriated from an earlier era, 1976, then folding into that film new material from many earlier and later eras, generations, and themes, including film history, film language, film style, film institutions, family history, biography, and autobiography.
Straight From Bertha eventually modulates from a structural/materialist, minimalist film into a documentary somewhat related to the family-history genre pioneered by Amalie Rothschild and her cohort, and later by Ross McElwee, Alan Berliner, and others. The title and central focus of Straight From Bertha suggest that it is intended primarily as a bio-pic, treating several generations of the Gorman family, but celebrating Bertha Gorman, the long-deceased mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, great-great-grandmother, and aunt of the film’s living informants.
by Joel Schlemowitz
A spray of bright sparks on the black screen, seeming to be a display of fireworks. It is the result of an arc welder, scattering molten metal droplets. A thick-bladed band saw cuts into a piece of steel. The weighty visage of the black-and-white 16mm reversal film used to convey these images onto the movie screen seems itself a metallic compound of steely grays and rich blacks.
The film is SOAP by Matt Town, shown at Millennium Film Workshop on November 30th in a two-person program of works by Angela Ferraiolo and Matt Town. The film’s title refers to a soap box racer, its construction assiduously documented in silent, static shots.