Events

still/here (Harris)

still/here

with filmmaker Chris Harris
Friday, February 22, 2002 (All day)
Tthe Experimental Film Club hosts a screening and discussion with visiting filmmaker Christopher Harris. Harris will screen his hour-long experimental documentary still/here (2000). "still/here is a meditation on the vast landscape of ruins and vacant lots that constitute the north side of St. Louis, an area populated almost exclusively by working class and working poor African Americans. On a basic level, the film constructs a documentary record of the blight and decay of that part of the city. For the most part, still/here is not an overt assessment of social injustices but the politics of class and race within American society are integral to the film. In still/here, the ruins are emblematic of an unimaginable absence at the core of much of the African Diaspora's experience in North America. From the countless Africans lost in the Middle Passage to the lost future generation of unborn descendant of those that perished during the voyage, to the loss of family and loved ones that were sold away during slavery, absence has been and continues to be a fundamental feature of the African-American experience. But how, in an image-based medium such as film, does one represent absence? still/here acknowledges that an exhaustive rendering of absence is, at best, unlikely. With still/here, I attempt to engage this question by developing a vocabulary of absence. To that end, the film acknowledges the limits of representation and proceeds through a series of visual and aural breakdowns, erasures, contradictions and gaps. It does not use the documentary power of film to recuperate a sense of closure but instead dwells within the space of rupture occasioned by the presence of a profound absence." - Christopher Harris "In the hour-long black-and-white film still/here (2000), Christopher Harris suffuses the blighted north side of Saint Louis with a powerful melancholy, lingering on rubble-strewn lots, decrepit buildings, and empty streets, while footsteps and a continually ringing phone on the sound track suggest lives interrupted by the devastation. Holes in a movie theater marquee are powerfully evocative, but even more impressive is the film's sprawling, almost chaotic form: its calculated incompleteness truly matches the subject, and Harris's long takes imply--not without a hint of anger--that the ruins of his hometown are eternal. " - Fred Camper, Chicago Reader (12/14/01)

Co-sponsored by The Experimental Film Club, the Race/Film Workshop