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Escarpment School

While I'm an unashamed fan of Hollywood filmmaking (something you should never admit out loud in film school), I like to give my cinematic brain a bit of a workout with some experimental film.  I seem to have a 50/50 success rate with this type of fimmaking, in the most diametrical sense.  Where on one hand I am thrilled, rejuvenated and leave the cinema with all cylinders firing; then on the other hand, I am completely frustrated, cranky, and/or falling asleep.  So I approached the part three screening of 16mm films of the "Escarpment School" series curated by Brett Kashmere at the Segal Centre with a bit of trepidation.

I am pleased to say that there were many films that kept my eyes wide open.  A particular favorite was Sweetblood by Steve Sanguedolce (get it? fantastic name!), his 1993 short film using collages of family photographs, voice over and contrasting subtitling to create a vivid memoir.

One film that surprised me was Mike Hoolboom's White Museum. His 1986 film consisted of thirty-two minutes of clear leader! Upon reading that in the program, I predicted that I would be out like a light as soon as the film started.  But instead we were treated to Hoolboom's voice-over narration of witticisms and critique on cinema.  Here is a little except:

    "Has everyone had a chance to introduce themselves to one another? Or is this one of those movie houses where you're supposed to pretend you can't see anyone but the people you came with? Maybe for the people who came late maybe we could have the lights turned on for a minute, just to have a look around, just to see who's here. Could the projectionist please turn the lights on for a second? "

And yes, the projectionist turned the lights up momentarily. It was great.