Following a very nice screening of Last Chants for a Slow Dance at Light Industry (155 Freeman, Greenpoint, Brooklyn), to a sold out house and very nice response, this weekend we follow up with screenings of four different films at Spectacle, 124 S. 3rd St., (near Bedford), Brooklyn, NY. See this: http://www.spectacletheater.com/jon-jost/
Yesterday I went to MoMA’s documentary series to see my friend Peter Snowdon’s film, The Uprising. I’d seen it in a rough form 3 years ago, and at the time he was very discouraged and said he was ready to stop and give up on it. I found what I saw very strong and encouraged him to carry on and figure it out and finish. He says my little nudge helped, and after all this time he finished it. The film is composed of YouTube and other internet uploads of materials shot by people in the ”Arab Spring,” often rough things shot with cell-phones, i-Pads, DSLRs or whatever people had that they could shoot with. Peter amassed a huge amount of this, and after his editorial labors I think he’s come up with a really strong and amazingly good film – can I say a kind of “masterpiece”?
Eschewing voice-over and explicatory materials, the film dives directly into the visceral reality which shifted from Tunisia, to Egypt, to Yemen and Syria, as the populist demand for change, for an end to corruption and dictatorships, spread like wild-fire across the middle-east. Seizing on this emotional roller-coaster, riding from the delirium of massive crowds to the grim deaths of unarmed civilians in the face of military power, The Uprising seems to me orchestrated as a symphony, using the shifting tonalities and qualities of the various images used – blurred, jagged shifts of light, sometimes shifting into solarized simplicity – and cuts them with an internal aesthetic which verges often towards abstraction, but without ever lapsing and losing the emotional intensity of the situation. Indeed, I think it is just this abstract infrastructure which makes the film work so powerfully. Equally, the sound is used in this abstract sense, building into musical crescendos, and then going silent, shifting in concert with the images to orchestrate exactly as do the abstract sounds of a symphony, coaxing, enticing, shifting one’s inner world through pure aesthetics, yet ones which touch deeply inside us. I know it was a lot of work, but I am glad Peter stuck to it and found (one of) the films which was in his material. Powerful stuff.
Here’s a listing of upcoming screenings: