Zorns Lemma

1970 avant-garde movie

Rating: no rating

Plot: Alphabet.

This is kind of like watching one man play a game that you don't know the rules to. This is really just Hollis Frampton, without any sound at all, showing the audience the alphabet over and over again. We start with letters, immediately move to words starting with each letter, and gradually see those letters and words being replaced by images that don't really make sense. X, for example, is a fire. The image on the Criterion package is for H, if I'm remembering correctly. By the end, the entire alphabet consists of these images, and I'm not really sure what the point of the whole thing is. I also don't understand why some letters--the U early on--are missing sometimes. In other words, I'm probably not smart enough for this movie. Of course, I'm the same guy who doesn't really understand comic book movies either.

Aesthetically, this is interesting enough. There's something a little haunting about the whole exercise, and my brain kept trying to figure out some significance to the selected words and images. The film, which is around 50 minutes long, is the kind of thing that you'd probably rather see part of on a museum wall instead of watching the entire thing on your television. It really seemed to annoy my wife, but I actually found the whole thing calming. I don't really like avant-garde stuff as much as I pretended to 10 or 15 years ago, but this did put me in a meditative mood. I'm not sure if that was Frampton's purpose though.

I hated the ending, around 10 minutes of a shot of people walking in a snowy field while a pair (?) of people read something that didn't make any sense to me. I thought it clashed with the alphabet stuff and couldn't figure out what it had to do with the rest of the film.

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