Circle in the Sand

Michael Robinson

2012 | 00:45:45 | United States | English | Color | Stereo | 16:9 | 16mm film

Collection: Single Titles

Tags: Landscape, Magic, Nature, War

In a broken near future, a band of listless vagabonds ambles across a war-torn coastal territory, supervised and sorted by a group of idle soldiers. Rummaging, stuttering, and smashing through the leftovers of Western culture, these ragged souls conjure an unstable magic, fueled by their own apathy and the poisonous histories imbedded in their unearthed junk. Suspicion, boredom, garbage, and glamour conspire in the languid pageantry of ruin. Feel the breeze in your hair, and the world crumbling through your fingers.

Filmed in Northern California and Central New York, with performances by Julia Austin, Rachel Bernstein, Hajera Ghori, Douglas Martin, James McHugh, Gennaro Panarello, and Chad Southard, with costumes and sets by Dana Carter. Supported by The Wexner Center Film/Video Residency Award, Circle in the Sand is a project of Creative Capital.

“Michael Robinson’s Circle in the Sand invokes the cosmos with generous throws of glitter. With a strikingly costumed cast wandering the post-apocalypse, the film plays like a zonked L’Avventura (1960). Three sparkle-eyed women walk the California coast, while a forlorn troupe of military men wait on patrol. The ladies unearth misbegotten artifacts of a forgotten world in the sand: anonymous Yelp reviews, skipping Counting Crows CDs, and dayglo nails are just the beginning. Stretching beyond the short format, Robinson’s imagination remains prodigious in the particulars. The credo bookending the film—‘We wanted to destroy knowledge but within knowledge’—does nicely as a description for the collagist’s quixotic task.”

-- Max Goldberg, for Keyframe/Fandor

“Robinson who is well-known for his humorous, campy, and engaging works of media collage, serves him well in this lengthy narrative, allowing him to smoothly mix together highly contrasting styles: the post-apocalyptic dystopia of Leslie Thornton’s Peggy and Fred series; the sparse landscapes of Antonioni; the surrealism of Maya Deren and David Lynch; the campy antics of Jack Smith; and the hushed serenity of Kelly Reichardt.”

-- Felix Bernstein, for The Brooklyn Rail

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Prizes + Awards

Jury Award, 51st Ann Arbor Film Festival


New York Film Festival
New York, NY

Exhibitions + Festivals

Ann Arbor Film Festival, Ann Arbor, MI, 2013

Video Fest (Formerly Dallas Video Fest), Dallas, TX, 2013

Queer City Cinema, Regina, Canada, 2013

57th BFI London Film Festival, Experimenta, London, UK, 2013

International Film Festival Rotterdam, Netherlands, 2013

New York Film Festival, Views from the Avant-Garde, New York, NY, 2012

Wexner Center for the Arts, March 2013

Cornell Cinema, March 2013

Carrie Secrist Gallery, Chicago, April 2013