Date of Submission
Film and Electronic Arts
Project Advisor 1
It started from trying to discern the difference between stagnancy and stillness. The movie is built upon a series of fairly long takes. And with these kinds of long takes, we are able to see things out to the very end - there is this desire born to watch something in its entirety, unbroken by inattention, like the scene in Kiarostami’s Close Up where we watch a green can roll down the street for almost a full minute.
In movies with frequent cuts, we often see either the beginning, middle, or end of an action but are not granted the opportunity to see all three stages unfold without intervention. There is a patience and an attention required as these kinds of moments so often are not actions we will stand still to watch in their entirety. At least when watching these instances unfold on a television screen we know it will cut and we are not in charge of deciding when to end or begin a moment, action, or scene. This decision so inherent in life is taken away. As a movie-goer, we have no choice in the matter of ending or beginning a moment, and so we are both inhibited from making a decision and freed from it. In life, of course, one does not watch the wind in a tree unfold for minutes at a time because it often feels useless, or meaningless to do so. However, in cinema, we know there is meaning in that it was chosen for the screen by someone for a reason and so we are somehow freed to watch something like that unfold without worrying about how to grant meaning to what we are looking at. We don’t really have to worry about giving it this meaning, we can just accept that it is vital we watch it through and through. And it is precisely this continuity of watching a moment out through and through that, I hoped to get at.
I’ve also been zoning out a lot recently and I wanted to create a set of quiet images I could zone out to and reflect on my time at Bard. And so this twelve-minute movie is also a gadget that can be used for zoning-out. A useful zoning-out.
To me, at least, some of the best moments in cinema are the uninterrupted, long-drawn-out moments in home movies when the camera is set down on the counter and accidentally left on, and for a couple of minutes you can only see the tan kitchen counter and hear the kids, probably named like Crystal and Natasha brushing their teeth and the cicadas are rumbling outside and then the goodnights are conjured up and they’re all in bed in a matter of minutes. And you begin to get a little bored, or at least I begin to get a little bored. But then you overhear Aunt Martha who’s been washing dishes all this time and she starts humming to herself Frank Sinatra’s “My Way” and it’s kinda pretty, but then you think you hear something and you listen closely and you start to hear Aunt Martha singing to herself “Natasha didn’t eat all her food once again, what an annoying brat. What an annoying brat, what an annoying brat.” And you’re suddenly glad you stuck around.
That’s not to say that the goal is to run around leaving countless camcorders on countless kitchen counters, recording without anyone’s knowledge, but it is to say that the goal is to catch the moments like this that’ll accidentally come at the end of the night and without a recording there would be no proof of them. And we very much need that proof of Aunt Martha calling her niece a brat.
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Shanabrook, Glafira May, "Still Arriving" (2021). Senior Projects Spring 2021. 289.
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