How To Run A Trotline

Carl Elsaesser

2024 | 00:18:10 | United States | English | Color | Stereo | 4:3 | 16mm film

Collection: New Releases, Single Titles

Tags: Family, Memory

"Despite the didactic promise of its title, Carl Elsaesser’s new film will not teach you how to complete this obscure action. The phrase itself, at once ridiculous and noble, is pleasure enough, and its tone fits perfectly on a work that walks a thin, dandyish path down the border of farce and elegy. Another pleasure: it isn’t about anything, though it’s of quite a lot. Of fathers (who might teach one how to run a trotline, or sit on a porch, or disappear); of other films (particularly a pair by adopted fathers Michael Snow and William E. Jones); of at least two kinds of cruising; of the winter in Maine and the streets in New York and the many kinds of light to be found in and around both (ranging from snowy diffusion to snare-hit clarity). But one needn’t know these films or Maine or New York, not any more than one need know what a trotline is, to be hooked by the ongoing oddness of Elsaesser’s rhythms, which move gently, languidly toward new raptures of illumination."

-Phil Coldiron

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First Look, Museum of the Moving Image
New York, NY