Bruce Connor And The Cinema Of “Found Footage”

An interesting parallel to Hollywood’s recycling mania is the much more fruitful phenomenon of the found-footage filma practice within independent cinema of working creatively with already existing film footage. In recent years, many of the most inventive experimental filmmakers in the U.S. ranging from Ken Jacobs and Leslie Thornton have worked in this mode, but there is almost certainly no figure who has done more with the form than Bruce Connor. This program features 11 of his best shorts and two other major examples by other filmmakers, Joseph Cornell’s remarkable Rose Hobart (1939) and J.J. Murphy’s more recent Print Generation (1974). The Connor films to be shown: A Movie (1958), Cosmic Ray (1961), the extraordinary Report (1967the best film treatment to date of the assassination of John F. Kennedy), Vivian (1964), The White Rose (1967), Breakaway (1967), Permian Strata (1969), Marilyn X 5 (1973), Mongoloid (1978), Take the 5:10 to Dreamland (1975), and Valse Triste (1977). Connor works wonders with nostalgic and historical materials of various kinds, reshuffling and juxtaposing media fragments into mosaics that are simultaneously analytical and evocative. If you’ve never encountered his work before, this program offers a superb introduction to his very special talent.

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