6.5/10
142
4 user 3 critic

Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son (1969)

| 1969 (USA)
Ghosts! Cine-recordings of the vivacious doings of persons long dead. Preservation of their memory ceases at the edges of the frame.

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Fragments of several (mostly) silent films are shown. They're guided by quotes from, among others, Plato and Sappho and a soundtrack.

Director: Gustav Deutsch
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Ghosts! Cine-recordings of the vivacious doings of persons long dead. Preservation of their memory ceases at the edges of the frame.

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1969 (USA)  »

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Ken Jacobs made this experimental feature by rephotographing the 1905 Biograph short Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son (1905). See more »

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Edited from Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son (1905) See more »

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Possibly the most inaccessible masterpiece ever created
27 September 2008 | by (Worcester, MA) – See all my reviews

Ken Jacob's legendary experimental feature "Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son" is possibly the most inaccessible masterpiece ever made. The film takes a five-minute silent short adaptation of the classic nursery rhyme and deconstruct it to the point of no return for two hours. Ken Jacobs flips the frames, zooms in on a specific action for the entire duration, speeds up the film, and plays it backwards, among many other techniques. His deconstruction forces the viewer to question the way they watch films. Often, his toying with the film is so dense the image on screen is unrecognizable from the short, which is played at the beginning. The silent short, which is shown at the beginning, is an artless novelty with absolutely nothing interesting to offer in the way of cinematic technique. However, Jacobs focuses on the most minor of details, and compels the audience to do the same whenever they watch a film. Granted, only those with an interest in film theory will be able to endure this. It's still a fascinating experiment though. Its difficult to seek out and is unavailable on video at the time (apparently Jacobs refuses to release it, feeling the big screen is the only way this should be seen. I had to track down a bootleg version), but if the description seems interesting, you really should see it. (10/10)


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