The New American Cinema Reaches Enlightenment, two films by Owen Land
Two pieces from the master of experimental word-play and structural film against the"boring" world of avant-garde cinema.
New Improved Institutional Quality:
In The Environment Of Liquids And Nasals A Parasitic Vowel Sometimes Develops
(1976,10 minutes, colour, sound, 16mm)
“New Improved Institutional Quality… is the further autobiographical adventures in the land of educational institutions and I.Q exams. Landow turns his wit on himself with references to Film In Which… and the original Institutional Quality and again plays with the absurd sense of space and scale to parody not only himself but the dreamlike aspect of illusion in film.” – Deke Dusinberre.
“Wide Angle Saxon deserves to become a landmark in Landow’s development as a film-maker, for in it he presents a complete in-depth critique of his religious beliefs, his own film aesthetics, and the larger context of the experimental and structural films to which these relate. In fact, the film might be subtitled The New American Cinema Reaches Enlightenment. His approach is Kabbalistic in that he quotes extensively from other films, which means that his points are phrased in the language of these texts. Wide Angle Saxon, unlike most Landow films, has a clearly stated narrative line: our hero, ruminating on the Biblical command to give up worldly possessions, discovers that he is alarmingly attached to them; this realisation eventually results in a moment of enlightenment while he is in the very act of watching an independent film at the Walker Arts Center.
Landow’s films have sometimes used apparent found footage – actually re-created facsimilies – as their texts. Here he has chosen to re-create the artifacts of a personal film instead of those of the instructional/education genre. This move may suggest that Landow now sees himself as working outside the province of the personal film. WIDE ANGLE SAXON is not a “separatist” work. Its closing statement acknowledges the current realisation that film audiences tend to exist in a dream state lulled by the conventions of traditional movies…” – B. Ruby Rich, Film Center, Chicago.
Wide Angle Saxon
(1974, 22 minutes, colour, sound, 16mm)