Film for Invisible Ink, Case No. 323: ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST

Rental Format(s): 16mm film

A series of instances, a set of promises, a frame that takes a breath with each line. Wind-blown pollen finds purchase and Francis Bacon sends a telegram. A.C. Baldwin considers Matrimony as the Oregon Trail leads us Home. An epithalamion for Erin Espelie.

"Gatten made this film for his wedding to the writer, filmmaker, and video artist Erin Espelie. Black words unfold against a white background, the whole thing seeming like a guidebook. The letters on top appear in telegraphic code ('HAFIJ 62 JSLSI') while the words on bottom categorize them ('instances of the road'). The top letters eventually become full, coherent words, too ('They had arrived'), while the bottom words stay iterative ('instances that open doors'). 'I take thee from this day forward' becomes a summoning instance; 'to have and to hold' an instance of alliance; 'in sickness and in health' an instance of refuge; and, finally, 'all my love I do thee give' an instance of covenant, then a shining instance, then a magical instance. The film's last images are Gatten's dedication to Espelie-to her from him, 'with love and promises for all our instances.'

The film itself was a magical instance. The best avant-garde works that I saw this year, film or video, took ordinary, basic images and infused them with wonder. Gatten got more from less than anyone else did. We have discovered a great filmmaker." - Aaron Cutler, Slant Magazine

"7. There will always be more to say. We can see this impulse-film as speech act, film as surrogate, authorized speaker-taken to its most tender extremes with FILM FOR INVISIBLE INK, CASE NO. 323: ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST (2010). Three textual systems are put into play: Western Union telegraph codes and customary Protestant wedding vows from The Book of Common Prayer are both combined with a taxonomy of speech acts by Sir Francis Bacon. As with other Gatten works, 323 once again reflects the intersection of classification systems that are self-enclosed and inscrutable to one another, the misunderstanding yielding a kind of Venn diagram of concrete poetry. The telegraph codes ('HAFIJ 62 JSLSI') are meant to simplify and expedite vital messages. The vows ('to have and to hold') connect quotidian effort to spiritual perpetuity. The rhetorical meta-language ('instances of ______') measures a mind against its own impulsive intentions. The relationship between the elements is a shifting one, but the end result is a speech act in the fullest possible sense. The film, which served as Gatten's physical wedding vows for his union to fellow filmmaker Erin Espelie, is, as they say, a living, breathing document. If you have not see 323: OUATITW yet, I am happy for you that you have this truly uplifting experience to look forward to. John Searle, for his part, would no doubt find it highly felicitous." - Michael Sicinski, Cinemascope

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16mm film $125.00  

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