Now Available: New 2k Digitization of Christopher Harris’s Reckless Eyeballing

Posted February 26th, 2021 in Announcements, New Acquisitions, New Digital Files, News / Events

Canyon Cinema is pleased to announce that a new 2k digitization of Christopher Harris‘s Reckless Eyeballing is now available for rent. Thanks to Colorlab, Mark Toscano, and Academy Film Archive for their assistance in creating this stunning new transfer, available exclusively from Canyon.

Reckless Eyeballing (2004, 13 minutes, b&w, sound, 16mm film or digital file)

“Harris’ Reckless Eyeballing, [is] a fairly direct provocation that also functions as a loving treatment of all-too-rarely engaged found-footage material. Eyeballing‘s dominant motif is the image of Pam Grier from her Blaxploitation apex, with an unusual exchange of gazes – hers out at us, and the men in surrounding footage back at her. Harris is quite explicitly exploring the racial dimensions that Laura Mulvey left implicit (to put it kindly) within the Male Gaze question, sending Foxy Brown into the cinematic apparatus as a kind of test case. Can she look back, or will she too be pinned and mounted by the gaze? Or, is there a place for an African-American female spectatorship, an active subject position inside visual culture?

“Within the film, Harris juxtaposes images of Angela Davis (including wanted posters) with the Grier footage, generating a fantasy/reality dialectic, and articulating precisely how cinema’s cultural image bank conflates African-American women’s desirability with danger. The film’s title, ‘reckless eyeballing,’ is of course pre-Civil Rights Era cracker-talk for when black men allegedly looked lustfully at white women. (It’s a well-known expression: Ishmael Reed published a 1986 novel by the same name.) So the stakes are clear: looks and gazes, when to scope out and when to stare deferentially at the ground, are matters of grave historical importance for African-Americans, and all truly rigorous formal considerations should return us to historical thinking sooner or later.” (Michael Sicinski, Cinema Scope Magazine)