Harriet

1973 | 00:13:33 | United States | English | B&W | Mono | 4:3 | 1/2" open reel video

Collection: Videofreex Archive, Single Titles

Tags: Family, Feminism, Film or Videomaking, TV production

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This tape, Harriet, created by Videofreex member Nancy Cain, unfolds much like a short play or literary character study. With very little directed dialogue, we gain intimate entry into a day in the life of Harriet—a long-time resident of Lanesville and mother of five—over the course of one day. No stranger to the Videofreex, Harriet was a frequent guest on the collective’s television production of Lanesville Television, as both an on-screen visitor and routine hotline caller. 

From morning until night, Harriet does household work, prepares meals, and wrangles her many children. In one particularly intriguing scene, the news broadcast on the television provides historical and cultural specificity, reporting on the recent increase in food cost in 1972. Throughout this piece, Cain’s camera work is inventive and poetic; she captures a range of shots that articulate an emotional landscape, giving the viewer a sense of Harriett’s feelings of frustration that fuel her ultimate decision to leave. The video ends on a note of fictional flair and feminist reclamation, also seemingly paying homage to the genre of Hollywood Westerns or adventure films in which the main character drives off into the sunset. Thus, the video signals that Harriet’s story—and her journey—is not only unfinished, but also perhaps just beginning.

—Faye Gleisser