Robert Nelson: RAN with the Movie Camera 1

Date: 5 May 2006 | Season: Robert Nelson

Friday 5 May 2006, at 5pm

International Short Film Festival Oberhausen

Robert Nelson, Confessions of a Black Mother-Succuba, USA, 1965, 16mm, 16 min
Preserved by the Academy Film Archive
Nelson concocted this wild collage film from a mix of staged absurdist erotica and bizarre found footage. He uses (and subverts) all the obscenity, shallowness, and unsubtle coercion of American media and advertising to create a raucous, satirical come-on. (MT)

Robert Nelson, The Awful Backlash, USA, 1967, 16mm, 15 min
Preserved by the Academy Film Archive
The Awful Backlash focuses “solely on a pair of hands as they begin to unravel what appears to be a tangled fishing line. Any further evidence of the title’s confusing ‘awfulness’ – other than the literal disentanglement of the line remains, however, tentative, left as it were, literally, at a loose end. The viewer knows nothing of the incident that led to this backlash or entanglement; nor of the directors’ initial motive for the title indeed not of any other attempt at blending an additional storyline beyond what is seen. There is, perhaps, one link with a reverse reaction – a sense of gradual recovery taking place, as the thread unfolds from a position of multiplicity back to a singular line.” (Pamela Kember)

Robert Nelson, Limitations, USA, 1988, 16mm, 9 min
Preserved by the Academy Film Archive
“An experiment in group portraiture in which we are simultaneously seeing opposing sides of the sitters’ heads. Probably not a solution for every group portrait, but a distinctive result has been achieved here nonetheless.” (Q.A. Standish)

Robert Nelson, The Great Blondino, USA, 1967, 16mm, 43 min
Preserved by Pacific Film Archive with the cooperation of Robert Nelson and the support of the Academy Film Archive, the William H. Donner Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts
The Great Blondino follows an anachronistically attired young fellow as he navigates a beguiling, sometimes troubling world with a curiosity that opens us wide to the filmmakers’ inspired, freeform vision. Blondino was created with no pressure or expectations, and came together in coherent form only as Nelson began to weave it together during the editing process. The result is a film which feels utterly exuberant and freed from rote cinematic restriction, yet embodies an artistic rigor and direction that prevents it from ever seeming too unhinged. An incredible feat of tightrope walking. (MT)