If There Be Thorns

Michael Robinson

2009 | 00:13:24 | Nicaragua / United States | English | Color | Stereo | 4:3 | 16mm film

Collection: Single Titles

Tags: Family, Literature

A dark wave of incest and magic burns across the tropics, forging a knotted trail into the black hole. Taking its title from the V.C. Andrews novel (a sequel to Flowers In The Attic), and weaving together texts from Shirley Jackson, William S. Burroughs, and Stevie Nicks, the film constructs a collaged narrative of three star-crossed siblings searching for one another across the unstable landscapes of their respective exiles.

— Michael Robinson

“Robinson's work continues to evolve at a rather shocking pace; this isn't a filmmaker content to replicate his considerable successes, nor is he afraid to tread into some convoluted zones of human psychology. In an act of dense, ambiguous symbology akin to Deren's breadknives and Anger's roman candles, Robinson shows us a woman finding a marbled, peach-colored glass ball in the dirt. She shatters it to find it contains a collection of golden nails. As Thorns continues, Robinson's imagery becomes more explicitly tropical: a male figure walking right to left with long fronds for raft-making or building shelter; a pileup of fronds by a tree; and the swaying of seaweed under the waves. Thorns is a film that is bursting with information, some of it specifically character-driven, some of it evocative of an all-pervasive ambiance.”

— Michael Sicinski, academichack.net, Fall 2009

This title is also available on Michael Robinson Videoworks: Volume 1

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New York Film Festival: Views From the Avant-Garde
New York, NY

Exhibitions + Festivals

OutFest, Los Angeles, CA, 2013

26th MIX New York Experimental Film Festival, NY, 2013

SAW Media Art Center, Under the Rainbow: The Films and Videos of Michael Robinson, July 13 2012

Whitney Biennial 2012

Queer City Cinema, 2012

International Film Festival Rotterdam

Hong Kong International Film Festival

25 FPS, Zagreb

Chicago Underground Film Festival, IL

Onion City, Chicago, IL

Migrating Forms, NY

Singapore International Film Festival

European Media Art Festival

Curta Cinema, Rio de Janeiro

Janela Internacional de Cinema de Recife

Antimatter Festival

Ann Arbor Film Festival

Milwaukee Underground Film Festival, WI

Seattle Lesbian and Gay Film Festival