Films by Stephanie Barber | Chicago Reader

Films by Stephanie Barber

Milwaukee-based experimental filmmaker Stephanie Barber abjures the grand ambitions of earlier generations—to make masterpieces that embrace consciousness and the cosmos—in favor of enigmatic, haunting shorts that forgo the usual modes of cinematic development in time. Meditative and haikulike, they charm with quiet strangeness. Flower, the Boy, the Librarian (1997) follows its title: we see a flower, a pudgy boy in black and white, and a photo of a librarian, with no overarching explanation. Dogs (1994) presents two sock-puppet dogs engaging in pseudoprofound conversation about art, life, and “the search for an experiential unified field theory, so to speak.” The ridiculousness of the puppets first seems to mock intellectual pretension, yet the film has a childlike sincerity that honors inquisitive seeking while admitting its futility. 57 min.

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