Negative Space And The Falconer: Videos By Chris Petit

Two aggressive, enjoyable, and highly original videos by Chris Petit, the English novelist and filmmaker (Radio On, Flight to Berlin). Both these portraits of somewhat legendary and cultish media figures were made for BBC TV, a much more enterprising purveyor of edgy television than anything found in this country. But otherwise the videos are quite different. The Falconer (1998, 56 min., codirected by Ian Sinclair) is the more eclectic and difficult of the two, a sort of pseudodocumentary about the countercultural English filmmaker (Daddy) and autodidact Peter Whitehead. Negative Space (1999, 39 min.) is about American film critic, painter, teacher, and carpenter Manny Farber (though American art critic Dave Hickey also appears, along with many film clips and western landscapes that are often glimpsed in Polaroid-framed split screens). Both videos are wild, thoughtful, invigorating, eye-filling, and unusually ambitious. Admission is free. (JR)

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