Greetings adventurous viewers and furious readers,
I did not grow up in Columbia, and I did not have a Ragtag. For that matter, I didn’t grow up anywhere with any real access to film beyond the Blockbuster between the PetSmart and the Dressbarn. How I found myself at 18 years old in Boston projecting short reels of 16mm film is a relative miracle. The films I was threading, playing, and furiously rewinding in the dark were unlike anything I had ever seen before. They were black and white or splashed with hypnotic color. They were non-narrative—and at the time, seemingly nonsensical. I had gone to school intending to make films for megaplexes, but here, my work-study position servicing cameras and projectors threw me into the deep-end.
While I couldn’t necessarily grab hold of what these films were about, I knew what they made me feel. Some of these films were abrasive and challenging, and others, without backstory or character, were touching on precise emotions I didn’t have words for. This was my introduction to the world of experimental cinema. Tomorrow, let us introduce you as well.
One Read has turned twenty, and fittingly, we return to the beginning: To Kill a Mockingbird. While those of us partaking have read Casey Cep’s Furious Hours, the complicated history, legacy, and mythology of Harper Lee’s Mockingbird looms large. Twenty years ago, we screened Robert Mulligan’s 1962 Hollywood adaptation, and for many of us, had our impressions of Gregory Peck’s righteous Atticus Finch renewed—his principled goodness, his black and white morality, and his solo stand against racism. But Atticus Finch is a character, and, as Cep’s Furious Hours reminds us, a role for an actor to pursue awards by. There are emotions and personal experiences simmering above and below the surface of both texts that are difficult to express, and so we’ve assembled four films that put the ineffable to celluloid in ways bold and abstract.
One Read: Associative Reactions features Martin Arnold’s Passage a l’Acte, Edward Owens’ Remembrance: A Portrait Study and Private Imaginings and Narrative Facts, and Christopher Harris’ Reckless Eyeballing. Ragtag Film Society's Technical Director, Travis Bird, will be running two of the films in their original 16mm format from a projector in the room with us, so seats are limited. Admission is free, and tickets will be available starting at noon tomorrow (Thursday, September 23) exclusively at the Box Office.
Let’s get abstract,Ted