In Dani Leventhal's video, 17 New Dam Rd., we are invited along on a house visit with a familial group. There's trash in the garden, guns on the sofa, and marshall arts in the living room. A photo session records a young woman throwing punches at a man, playacting for the camera, but sweating anyway. A kitten ignores the bullets littered on the ground. Despite the foregrounding of violent pursuits, lost teeth and pool hall fights, there's a rough camaraderie here, a feeling of loyalty and belonging.
Subtitled "The Refusenik", "The Zealot", and "The Father", this video takes us on a journey where Germans, Turks, Israelis, Palestinians, fathers, grandmothers, daughters and animals are together for 13 minutes.
37 Stories About Leaving Home provides a rare and personal view into the lives of Japanese women. This beautifully constructed and complex video weaves stories told by a group of Japanese grandmothers, mothers and daughters, ranging in age from 15 to 83. The stories recount each woman’s personal journey from child to adulthood—their experiences of leaving home.
In 50 Blue a young man (the artist’s brother) pushes an elderly disabled man (the artist’s father) in a wheel chair through a muddy landscape. It is a long and exhausting trip to an unknown destination only discovered at the end. After an arduous struggle the two arrive at the edge of a grey lake where a 10-meter high guard tower stands. The young man ties the wheel chair to a rope and hoists the old man up on the tower platform with the help of eight men, all dressed in yellow plastic raincoats.
"Inside a Lithuanian synagogue, young Domas Darguzs regales the filmmaker with a whispered, wide-eyed account of mythical events, while the film cross-cuts to images of farm-life. Kid brother of an Israeli soldier, Domas's stories are part fantasy, part hopeful ruminations of a courageous, young mind interrupted only by an impatient adult."
In the aftermath of a death things may seem very quiet, but there are struggles going on so deep not even those who struggle can recognize them. This film looks and listens for signs of those struggles. Psychoanalytic interjections consider the nature of time and rumination, and are used to step outside of the terribly interiorized state of mourning.
The “a-ha experience” is the moment when a child first recognizes its own image in a mirror; it is critical to the development of intelligence and identity. It is also the moment when the “self” is surrendered to the control of an external influence. The child accepts the power of the mother to confer or withhold love; it is the mother’s power to fulfill desire that shapes a child’s sense of identity. Similarly, a camera controls love by directing or not directing its attention to the desiring subject.
All About A Girl is a story of a girl coming to terms with aspects of her own identity and how they relate to the expectations of others. The girl tries to balance the real world that she lives in with the world of her imagination as personified by a dead rat. She appears to have more in common with her small, wild corner of the backyard than the pristine world her mother creates around her.
Another Clapping explores the relationship triangle between a daughter, her mother and the Chinese Cultural Revolution. It is an experimental documentary based on the mother's violent past with its traumatic political history and an unsuccessful marriage. Through their subsequent experiences as immigrants in Canada and the complex process of remembering and reviewing the past, history comes to signify the characteristic of the individual. The tracing of memory illuminates the difficulties of identifying mother and daughter as different people.
A 12-year-old Olympic swimmer and her mother (both played by July) speak to the public about going for the gold.
“As the film progresses through subtle editing-in-reverse, July reveals the world around the televised facade. ... [T]he 23-year-old performer convincingly plays both Dawn Schnavel and her mom, or rather, vanishes into them. What’s noticeable isn’t so much the ease with which July transforms herself into a pre-teen girl and an older woman but the similarities and differences between the daughter and the mother July becomes.”
This strange, lyrical performance video diary is a millennial reflection on the impossibility to "reveal" one’s self in stormy times such as ours. The piece is also about the intricate connections between performance and everyday life; about language, identity, love, nostalgia and activism amidst the California apocalypse.