Films by Richard Myers

For four decades Ohio filmmaker Richard Myers has created a body of work inspired partly by dreams, earning himself the unfortunate sobriquet “the Fellini of the midwest.” Praising Myers, Stan Brakhage referred to his work as “dream-thinking,” and as this program of four early shorts demonstrates, his films draw their original power less from extravagant subject matter than from the way Myers roots them in the midwestern landscape, his stark blacks and whites making palpable its flat, harsh light. In this relatively realistic context, strange things start to happen: what is that unexplained picnic in The Path (1961) all about? First Time Here (1964) introduces Myers's oft-used metaphor of a small-town carnival or fair; this one has an exhibit on the bomb, inspiring montage that makes the prospect of nuclear annihilation seem vividly present. Coronation (1965) does seem Felliniesque, with a fictional king being crowned at another carnival, while Da (1973) is closer to documentary, combining interviews with Myers's grandmother and old photos that show the setting of her early life.

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