Date of Submission

Spring 2011

Academic Program

Film and Electronic Arts


Kelly Reichardt

Abstract/Artist's Statement

Most points of obsession in modern media culture can be boiled down to two syllables phrases: hi-def, laptop, cell phone, 3G, micro, upload, download, etc. With that in mind, I give you a three-syllable notion: “Bonlooka,” a word loosely interpreted as “someone who is good at looking at things.”

By working with a series of limitations that stray from narrative tropes and dipping into a more subconscious level of screenwriting, this narrative was constructed. No weapons, no sexual tension, minimal drama, minimal close-ups, minimal handheld, two protagonists, diegetic sound. The only intentional “point” of the film is to create a mood and an environment for the viewer. With this sense of experiential distance, an audience can sift through the elements of filmmaking. It can play with and against the expectations it has from its sordid past of viewing massive amounts of moving images. With Bonlooka, the audience has the crayons to color in the spaces left in its decoupage.

The tendency for most narratives is to seek a path; the goal of this piece is to make that path slightly more obscure. The beauty of any film lies in what can be applied by juxtaposing images and sounds. Often there is a certain level of expectancy, a code book that is referenced, when placing images in a familiar series. The resulting obvious or literal executions of expression can take the guesswork out of an emotion or occasion in a film. Alternatively, a watchable style of filmmaking combined with an ambiguous narrative direction has the potential to turn passivity into participatory engagement. In Bonlooka, the viewer has to work to fit together the pieces of the collage.

Subjectively, we don't see every moment of our lives as important or worth sharing with others. Objectively, others' experiences have even less value when we are not the ones experiencing them. When we highlight those moments, they peak in value. How do we decide; where is the line drawn between sharing and not sharing these moments in life? There's no need to tie off all the strings. As Bonlooka, you have an open play pen. You're good at looking at things, now take what you know and run with it elsewhere.

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