Film Muet / Silent Movie

Freda Guttman

1994, 09:20 minutes, B&W, silent


The video is a reworking of 8mm home movie footage from the 1940's in which my father, my brother and I are framed in a family narrative. As we play out our roles, written into the language of our bodies can be seen the cultural constructs of patriarchy and male privilege, as well as the female predicament of entrapment between enticement and rejection.

The "story" is retold three times in different treatments, using devices of slow motion, repetition, stilling, and close-up. With each successive viewing, more and more detail emerges, focusing on my (the girl's) reactions. My/her face, in close-up, mirrors a myriad of emotions; my/her body, moving in slow motion, speaks its language, bringing the viewer closer and closer to the revelations of a small but emblematic moment and its political dimensions.

While I have no conscious memory of the event and what I experienced emotionally at the time, it exists now in a de- and re-constructed reality that speaks to issues of autobiographical narrative and memory, the ways in which technology mediates experience, and how we may re-know and re-present the forces that formed us.

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