Reckless Eyeballing

Rental Format(s): 16mm film / 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

"Borrowing its title from a Jim Crow-era law that prohibited black men from gazing at white women, this optically printed, hand-processed film is a hypnotic inspection of sexual desire, black identity, and film history." --Eric Crosby, Wisconsin Film Festival

"Highlights from the many experimental shorts on hand included Christopher Harris's Reckless Eyeballing, a black-and-white optic explosion of repeated phrases and images examining desire..."-- Katrin Frick Filmmaker Magazine Review of the 2005 New York Underground Film Festival

Awards: Cine-X Prize, 22nd Olympia Film Festival; Juror's Choice Award, 38th Humboldt International Short Film Festival; First Place-Medium Category, 5th Sarah Lawrence College Experimental Film and Video Festival; Programmer's Choice Award, 9th Cinematexas International Short Film Festival

Exhibition (selected): Cinematexas International Short Film Festival; International Film Festival Rotterdam; New York Underground Film Festival; Humboldt International Short Film Festival; PDX Film Festival; VIENNALE-Vienna International Film Festival; Rencontres Internationales Paris and others.

Rental Fees

16mm film $52.00  
Digital File $52.00  

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