Two Found Objects of Charles Boultenhouse


Rental Format(s): 16mm

A thin oval of green-tinged light in thick darkness persists, then gradually descends below the bottom of the frame and, after a pause, rises again to its original position. Out of the surrounding darkness a figure slowly emerges, a woman in a purple robe who moves with stately steps back and forth across the screen, finally fully apparent in the "line" (or circle) of light. She throws off her robe and appears in her white shift, lies prone upon the floor, then rises into a dance of rhythmned postures which subside to a kneeling and bound-down position from which she retrieves her robe, enrobes herself again, circles the "pool" of light and is obliterated by four yellow flashes of light (simultaneously, at the four corners of the frame). Out of the darkness there appears the close-up of the upper face and fixed eyes of a young man (Charles Boultenhouse) whose unblinking gaze is intercut with the figure of the torso, head and arms of a male dancer with whitened ringlets of hair superimposed with right-to-left leaps of his legs and by up-reaching fingers which surround the dancer, finally, and mimic his own hand gestures. This is interrupted by flashes of a golden face-mask which obliterates the dancer and is swiftly intercut with a purple circle surrounded by red which ends the film.

(This material was found in boxes of unfinished film projects which Charles Boultenhouse [and presumably Parker Tyler] worked with in the 1950s-1960s. Anna Duncan, one of the "Isadorables" adopted [as well as trained in childhood] by Isadora Duncan was discovered working with Charles in Brentano's bookstore: he felt compelled to preserve this lineage of Duncan, perhaps the greatest dancer innovator of the 20th century - certainly the most famous. While the film was never finished, certainly this section, as well as the following self-portraiture, speaks for itself.)

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