Jerome Hiler’s Bagatelle II and Marginalia available to rent

Posted December 18th, 2017 in New Acquisitions, New Films, News / Events

Two recent films by lyrical San Francisco filmmaker Jerome Hiler are now available to rent.


Bagatelle II (2016 | 16 minutes | COLOR | SILENT)

“Mr. Hiler’s misleadingly titled “Bagatelle II” draws on ravishing moments in time (dancing lights, scudding clouds, a bathing woman) that build into what seems like a self-portrait of the artist”
-Manohla Dargis, NY Times Oct. 6, 2016

In 2016, The New York Times referred to my film BAGATELLE II as “misleadingly titled”. The film does, indeed, seem to exceed the expectations of the title, which promises a small, even trivial film. I can, at least, address the issue of its 16-minute length. Originally, I had planned to have a series of brief moments delineated by numbered pauses with the title BAGATELLES. As I worked, a flow developed that eventually eliminated all the pauses, yet I kept the name out of affection and its association, for me, of its use in classical music as a category of small piano pieces. As a filmmaker who identifies as a visual composer, this suite of scenes is aptly named. The scenes run from the earliest surviving footage I shot in New York City and my home district of Jamaica, NY (a railroad hub) in the 1960’s, through a life with close friends and assorted sights up to the present. That, along with its comparative brevity, makes for a “life flashing before your eyes” moment for the filmmaker. For the viewer, my hope is for a less dire experience: a set of appearances imbued with the flavor of memory.



Marginalia (2016 | 23 minutes | COLOR | SILENT)

Marginalia is a contemplation in shades of grey and periodic color on the state and place of society in a quickly changing environment. It could be seen as a view from the margins. Or, as its title suggests, it might be expostulatory comments on the page-edge of our shared circumstances. Its air is filled with things slipping away to make way for an as yet unknown birth. The characters that we approach most proximately are a family with two young sons. The forebodings in this film have a kind of antidote in the way ideas and skills can be passed along to young generations outside the margins of the main arena of digital entertainment. As educators discuss dropping cursive writing from the syllabus of future grade schools, my interest in all things hand-made becomes acute. Scribblings course their way across the screen as scratches: the margins invade center stage. Images of electrical power occasionally appear as well as a distant Facebook headquarters. Will future writing depend on such things? Could a power outage bring an end to the written word? Not really, but so much and so much more in our lives is dependent on mega-energy.

As with my films, so far, Marginalia is silent. The above description should not be considered the correct reading of the film. Images simply flow by and are not at all laden with purpose other than to connect with the viewer’s sight and mind. Be unburdened with thoughts of understanding what the filmmaker is trying to say. Most people who find themselves watching poetic films are pretty familiar with what marginal means.