Robert Nelson: RAN with the Movie Camera 5

Date: 9 May 2006 | Season: Robert Nelson

Tuesday 9 May 2006, at 12:30pm

International Short Film Festival Oberhausen

Robert Nelson, Worldly Woman, USA, 1973, 16mm, 7 min
A sort of revolutionary triptych. A devotional painting to all things that spin. (MT)

Robert Nelson, Curious Native Customs, USA, 1985/1999, 16mm, 8 min
A mind-boggling mixture of found, educational and outtake footage which seems to contain the precious residue of years of filmmaking. (MW)
“It was like my muse had fainted … but I didn’t care. Why make a film? Why not? I didn’t care. The only dim curiosity was wondering what such a careless work would look like? Funky. Looks like a beatnik work.” (RAN)

Robert Nelson, Rest In Pieces, USA, 1970-74/2003, 16mm, 8 min
“For several years, Paul Marioni earned his living straightening bent automobile frames. In 1970, in a departing-the-trade ceremony, he used his tools to break an automobile in two. I thought that the ceremony would be interesting and I wanted to film it. (He was going to do it even if no one came.) The moment that the car bursts is over so quickly that it’s a bit anti-climactic and so I wanted to put something ‘meditative’ with it … That is, to make a poem out of it.” (RAN)

Robert Nelson, Oh Dem Watermelons, USA, 1965, 16mm, 11 min
Made for the Mime Troupe’s performance “A Minstrel Show (or Civil Rights in a Cracker Barrel)”, the film challenges racism by presenting absurdly exaggerated stereotypes. The hapless fruits are mindlessly pulped, before turning on their aggressors. Now, follow the bouncing watermelon … (MW)
“Original idea and inspiration from La Course aux Potirons (1907) by Louis Feuillade.” (RAN)

Robert Nelson, 199 L. la, USA, 1989, video, 35 min
Wiley & Henderson are seen playing songs in a studio as the tape meanders around their immediate environment, playing with the viewer via a series of musical and visual jokes. One of Nelson’s few video works, this piece is another demonstration of the camaraderie between long-term friends and collaborators. (MW)