White Heart

Many classic films of the American avant-garde try to make sense of the world or human consciousness, but this rarely screened 1975 work by Daniel Barnett asks whether we can understand anything at all. Disjointed and contrasting images (a man with a hose, a blimp in the sky) combine with sound fragments to frustrate expectation, redirecting one's attention to the considerable sensual qualities of the imagery. Long takes of a city street lead to close-ups of fingers holding a match or lips moving, images that, along with a voice speaking the word rose, recur from time to time, hinting at a narrative but revealing nothing. Finally a man describes two paintings of a rose; this discussion of things never shown suggests a divide between words and pictures and gives the film an affecting aura of failed quest. 53 min.

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