Films by Hollis Frampton | Chicago Reader

Films by Hollis Frampton

Hollis Frampton died young in 1984, but his achievements in two decades of filmmaking place him in the top rank of American avant-gardists. His films are beloved by academics for their didactic and self-referential qualities, but they have an allusive and poetic side that's been less appreciated—his greatest completed work, the three-hour "Hapax Legomena" (1972), may never have been shown in its entirety here. This program presents four of its seven sections, and they demonstrate his vast range of interests; each explores a different use of imagery, from the still photographs and narration of (Nostalgia) to the video transfer of Travelling Matte. In Critical Mass, which the filmmaker acknowledged has autobiographical roots, a couple argues about the guy's recent unexplained absence. Frampton chops the quarrel into short shots, each of which repeats the ending of the previous shot before moving on, perfectly mirroring the hopelessly circular nature of such quarrels. Poetic Justice consists of a single image of a film script being laid page by page through jump cuts on a table; the pleasure here is in mentally picturing its impossibly extravagant imagery, which parodies romantic excess. 125 min.

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