Gash and shorts by Martha Colburn | Chicago Reader

Gash and shorts by Martha Colburn

This half-hour short (1998) by Boston filmmaker Tracey MacCullion seems to ask us to construct a narrative of domestic violence as its images of abuse and degradation grow increasingly bloody and incoherent. Accompanied by a scratchy, live-wire sound track, its mute aggressors commit acts that suggest parallels between the past and the present, the real and the imaginary. But we never get to know them or their motivations and end up empathizing with the haunted looks on their victims' puffy faces, as we might watching footage of war atrocities. Also on the program are six recent shorts by Baltimore filmmaker Martha Colburn; her rapid-fire montages use cutouts and cartoon figures to construct crude, subversive riffs on consumerism (Evil of Dracula) and the media (What's On), while others reveal weird preoccupations with the Kama Sutra, feet, phalluses, cock-sucking spiders, and Michael Jackson.

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