4 excerpts from Behold Goliath

Tom Kalin

2004, 10:00 minutes, colour, English


In Excerpts from Behold Goliath, Tom Kalin presents four experimental short films inspired by American writer Alfred Chester (1928-1971), who in 1964 published a collection of short stories of the same name. Each of Kalin's films, Some Desperate Crime on My Head (2003), The Robots of Sodom (2002), Every Evening Freedom (2002), and Salad Days (2004), devotedly exploits Chester's words with computer voice-synthesizers, and juxtaposes them with music, film, and hand-drawn images. Chester, a seminal figure in the early use of homosexual themes in literature, was both revered and disregarded during his short life. In childhood, he was stricken with scarlet fever, a disease that left him completely hairless. Arguably, this affliction and his subsequent physical transformation cast Chester as an often tormented pariah and directly influenced his writings.

Some Desperate Crime on My Head, 2003
Kalin uses Chester's "The Foot," as the inspiration for
Some Desperate Crime on My Head. This autobiographic vignette details the pain and isolation triggered by Chester's disease, and creates an anguished portrayal of an ostracized man with a glabrous head.

The Robots of Sodom, 2002
The Robots of Sodom alludes to Manhattan as a modern-day Sodom.

Every Evening Freedom, 2002
Every Evening Freedom highlights Chester's social alienation, contrasting the "9 to 5" normal business day with the "5 to 9" distractions.

Salad Days, 2004
Salad Days ends the excerpts on a positive note - no text is included, and Kalin uses his personal documentary footage and snippets from his travel films.

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