Robert Nelson: RAN with the Movie Camera 2

Date: 5 May 2006 | Season: Robert Nelson

Friday 5 May 2006, at 10:30pm

International Short Film Festival Oberhausen

Robert Nelson, Plastic Haircut, USA, 1963, 16mm, 16 min
Preserved by Pacific Film Archive with the cooperation of Robert Nelson and the support of the William H. Donner Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts
Dada-inspired performance in which absurd actions take place in an environment of strange symbols and graphic forms. (MW)
“None of us knew anything about making movies at that time, but we all knew about art (namely, that it had something to do with having a good time).” (RAN)

Robert Nelson, The Off-Handed Jape, USA, 1967, 16mm, 9 min
Preserved by the Academy Film Archive
A humorous lesson in gestural acting from Dr. Otis Bird and Butch Babad, demonstrating such useful phrases as “the verge of remembering” and “letting your friend know he’s forgotten to zip up his pants.” (MW)
“This film can be of immeasurable aid to would-be actors who are weak in the jape.” (William T. Wiley)

Robert Nelson, Hot Leatherette, USA, 1967, 16mm, 5 min
Preserved by the Academy Film Archive
“A kinetic film sketch designed to involve the viewers’ muscles. The rocky seaside cliffs near Stinson Beach, California, hold the wrecked carcass of a ’52 pickup that is a rusting monument to Hot Leatherette.” (RAN)

Robert Nelson, Grateful Dead, USA, 1967, 16mm, 9 min
Footage of the Grateful Dead is treated, re-filmed and cut together to a tape collage of tracks from their first album. (MW)
“The film is full of beautiful invention and works as a visual equivalent of their musical impressions. The cuts and loops, blurring polarisations, chopped up and speeded up action all serve to render the West Coast rock group as if they were animated cartoon characters.” (Variety)

Robert Nelson, Bleu Shut, USA, 1970, 16mm, 33 min
“Even when we know the game is an illusion, the experience of Bleu Shut is entirely a pleasure: the ‘game’ is fun; the Nelson/Wiley debates, infectiously funny; and Nelson’s choice of imagery, quirky and amusing. Bleu Shut reveals, and allows us to enjoy, our gullibility within the pervasive absurdity of modern life.” (Scott MacDonald)