Wednesday, May 2, 2001

39th Ann Arbor Film Festival Tour

Posted By on Wed, May 2, 2001 at 12:00 AM

Memories and the relationship among image, sound and text emerge as the motifs of the 39th Ann Arbor Film Festival Tour’s best. Along with two notable animated shorts, it offer a feast for the eyes and ears.

Memories of childhood surface through visual and verbal allusion in Te-Shun Tsung’s The Angel in His Head, Elida Schogt’s The Walnut Tree and Rose Bond’s Memoria Mortalis. Tsung’s is a coming-of-boyhood story where a poetry of image and sound connotes memory and the burning desire of a 5-year-old boy to be, at last, a big boy of 6. Schogt allusively documents her family’s memories of the Holocaust in a lyrically artsy album of still and moving photographs — while Bond’s memoir is traumatically fractured into an animated retrospective of her life as a seventh-grade artist and a live-action allegory of her father’s death.

Essentially pure image and sound lyrically paired, Sandra Gibson’s Soundings is a flow of lines, a flicker of abstract graphics, distressed and tinted images of photographs: a gem chipped from avant-garde filmmaker Stan Brakhage’s brilliantly multifaceted block.

Hedwig Page, Seaside Librarian, dimly recalls the surrealistic mood of David Lynch’s breakthrough film, Eraserhead (1977). Whether portrayed in live-action snippets by writer-director Nancy Andrews or by her rather severe puppet, Miss Page is the high priestess of text, the personification of science’s oldest and most irresistible obsessions: to arrange, classify and catalog.

Two animated shorts especially caught my eye. Fur & Feathers does what animation should: what live action can’t. Maria Vasilkovsky illustrates the winds of changing moods between a man and a woman by transforming them into evocative animals beautifully rendered in paint on glass. And in Stanley, a tale of meat, a woman, her husband and his cabbage, Suzie Templeton’s strikingly grotesque, animated marionettes spoof Hitchcock.

Though the 39th Ann Arbor Film Festival Tour offers a few bland and flavorless offerings, the delicacies it provides makes it worth a taste.

Showing exclusively at the Detroit Film Theatre (inside the DIA, 5200 Woodward, Detroit), Monday at 7:30 p.m. Call 313-833-3237.

E-mail James Keith La Croix at


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