Thursday, January 05, 2006

The Anatomy of Melancholy

The Anatomy of Melancholy (1999) by Brian L. Frye; 16mm, b&w, sound, 11 minutes.

"Huddled figures mouth fragments of dialogue, apparently rehearsing for a play, until images that seemed stilted and static become powerfully iconic, almost frightening." -- Fred Camper, Chicago Reader.

Sometime in the 1960s, a chiropractor from Kansas City made a short film called A Portrait of Fear. The film consisted of several tableau shots of amateur actors standing in a field at night reciting painfully overwrought dialogue, apparently lit by the headlights of a car. I assume the cinematographer used an Auricon, as the sound was recorded directly on the B&W reversal original. In 1998, he sold me the outtakes, strung together just like you see them.

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