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Chants and Dances for Hand


Rental Format(s): Digital File
Sale Format(s): DVD

The material was shot in Haiti about 25 years ago. Some sections are formed out of material from Vodou ceremonies. I participated in some of them. It is bound into a tightly coiled formal structure that echoes some of the pattern of ceremonies. Other material is shaped into interludes. In the turning center is a section with material recorded during an uprising. It is in part a meditation on death. Indeed the whole project is a meditation on death. Also birth. Also, as in most of my films, memory. Not only the memory of what is rapidly passing by in the flow of sounds and images, but the deeper memory such as the ceremonies themselves evoke. This will be different for each viewer, each viewing. Also the ceremonial nature of cinema, movies and video. The only sounds are the musical sounds that accompany the images, the only images are those that accompany the musical sounds or silences

"There are many scenes of Voudou ceremonies, a violent uprising, and images from my personal life that include my Haitian son Hand. The sound track is always the sync sound that accompanied the images. These images are stark brief blasts of vibrant phenomena and sounds. The viewer/listener can recall some of them and do a kind of editing in the mind. The formal design of the work invites this. The opening shots are disconnected, out of context. When they return at the end they are full of implications that each person can experience in terms of their own path through the film. That freedom for the viewer/listener is just one element that connects my works.

In a Vodou ceremony turning a dancer around, or when the celebrants reverse their direction circling the central pole, prepares for the appearance of the spirit and accompanying possession. The formal design of many of my previous films is here related to the formal nature of the ceremony. The numbered sections lead to a central section dealing with an uprising. The subjects of each section are then repeated with different material in reverse order. In between each of these main sections there are 'interludes' that present different material. When these interludes return in the second part of the work the shots are the same, but in reverse order. Two of these interludes deal with movies. These are essential. This is far from a 'documentary' about Vodou. The ceremony of possession extends into politics, cooking, the movies and the electronic nature of video. A meditation on death. The most important dance is what takes place in the viewer's mind." (Larry Gottheim)

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