A couple is brutally murdered in the working-class district of Paris. Later on, the narrative follows the lives of their two daughters, both in love with a Parisian thug and leading them to separate ways.
Abstract animation illustrates Edwin Gerschefski's modernist composition. Two dots - one blue and one orange - appear most often, sometimes large, sometimes small, sometimes overlapping. ... See full summary »
The images on the screen tell it all. In a drawing room, the clock shows two on an afternoon. Adulterous lovers cling; her husband is due home momentarily, so he leaves. She goes to a table... See full summary »
Black and white rectangular images fade in and out of the screen. Their movement make them sometimes look like they're panning from side to side. Their movement also make the black and ... See full summary »
To the toccata portion of Bach's "Toccata and fugue in D minor," we watch a play of sorts. Blue smoke forms a background; a grid of black lines is the foreground. Behind the lines, a ... See full summary »
Whitney thought it would be cool to improvise an animated film, to match an improvised jazz performance. Result: zip.
I am a fanatical jazz fan and I love jazz without hokum. When I would go to see a tenor player, it was a thrill when Dexter Gordon or Joe Henderson would tilt his horn subtly in a soulful gesture of being transported, but those clowns who turned music into a carnival act with their gyrations (a la Jerry Lee Lewis abusing a piano), left me cold.
So when Whitney decided to goose up the music (in this case a corny performance by Will Bradley by drawing on the film emulsion or having pulsating abstract blue and green colors represent the music inspiring him, my reaction in the words of Miles is "so what"? The content of this pointless animated short is equivalent to the effect of those level meters you would see on stereos or ghetto blasters, giving a hypnotic visual effect to the music.
The abused term avant-garde includes a wide swath of lousy movies (this one too), and of course was once a rallying cry (or warning, depending on which side of the divide you were at) in jazz circles too. Albert Ayler lives!
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