Simplicity can sometimes be sublime. Thus it is with a little film that Andy Scearce made in Japan a few years ago. It’s nothing more than a camera placed on a conveyor belt in a sushi bar. The camera is pointed outwards towards the customers, and makes a four minute journey through the restaurant, into the kitchen, and back out again. The joy in the film is seeing the faces of people as they look up and realize there’s a camera passing in front of them. Most of them do notice, and smile. A few don’t, and we get a light voyeuristic peek into a moment of their lives, grabbing a meal or having some conversation. For something so simple in idea and execution, it’s a striking film.
Sushi Conveyor used to be available by clicking here, but has gone missing. If I ever come across it again, I will surely link to it.
The contributors to Wikipedia define outsider art as art “created outside the boundaries of official culture.” They also define folk art as “generally produced by people who have little or no academic artistic training, nor a desire to emulate ‘fine art’.” Internet filmmaker James Rolfe has gained attention for his in-character video reviews of retro videogames, and also for his film reviews. Before he was a viral star, Rolfe made over a hundred short films, starting at an early age. These films are strictly low-rent, mostly made on his parents’ home video camera. As such, they mostly show the over-active imagination of a hyperactive child. Some of them are purely playtime — Rolfe hanging out with friends and convincing them to whirl around plastic swords while he tapes. But, in 1997, he hit gold. Continue reading “Film in the Tubes: The Herbivore”
Pundits and scholars made bold predictions in the early ’90’s concerning the new World Wide Web’s ability to disseminate information to the masses, and while they all underestimated what the internet would become, there rose a clamor over the information itself. Good versus bad. Culture versus trash. News versus punditry. We all know which side is winning the battle for hearts and minds. This vast repository we have created for information also has an appetite of its own, craving volume to eternally build the noise to some crescendo that, at this point, remains in the far distance. Along with the opposing sides of quality and worth, there exists the obscure — information that would have been lost to time and degrading videotapes were it not for digitization. Look in any video section on any random humor website, and they are there, somewhere: excerpts from foreign, low-budget schlock cinema that has little regard for cinematic excellence or American trademark law. These inept productions laughably maul such cherished personas of pop Americana as Superman, or blatantly insert footage from Star Wars to beef up otherwise weak productions. Never meant to have much life, these turkeys were turned out for quick cash, and were it not for the great information void of the internet, would have remained in obscurity, instead of rising to the slightly more respectable level of kitsch. Continue reading “Film in the Tubes: The Italian Spiderman Movie”