Silk Ties

Rental Format(s): 16mm film

"Jennings' latest is a dense chiaroscuro NYC citysong, although rhythmically Silk Ties finds the filmmaker mining new possibilities. Whereas Miracle on 34th Street and Painting the Town are true camera-stylo films, using the gestural qualities of handheld 16mm with utmost grace and fluidity, Silk Ties uses staccato (in-camera?) editing to lend his images a jaggedness that (as Lee Walker mentioned afterward) recalls abstract animation. Street scenes, thick and dark and shot with the f-stop way down low, alternate with shots of skyscrapers and the negative-space sky between them. The jumps in editing seem to make the buildings dance, and create little jumps in the life of the streets, strangely enough lending this activity a kind of stately poise rather than heightening its implicit kinetics. But in addition to the paradoxes of stillness and movement, Jennings constructs a kind of disjuncture between past and present. Certain aspects of Silk Ties, especially the architectural compositions, recall the classic city-symphonies of the 1920s and 30s, especially Manhatta. Furthermore, the exaggerated darkness of much of the film gives it a distant quality, like something excavated from another time and place. But Jennings' image selection forces the viewer's consciousness back into the present. A perfectly 'timeless' New York scene is sent forward to the present by, say, a Taco Bell Express sign, or (more pointedly) the predominance of African-Americans in the film. The cultural makeup of New York is much different than it was 70 or 80 years ago, but Silk Ties' representational approach lends today's Manhattan the historical inevitability, and the grandeur, we associate with images of earlier times. In short, Jennings has made a film that can be regarded as a document of who and how we were, right now."
- Michael Sicinski, The Academic Hack

"... among the best shorts I saw in 2006. A city symphony in miniature, Silk Ties is never short of stunning to look at. Like so many great photographs, the stark black-and-white images here seem to have been stolen from some slightly more magical reality. (After seeing the Jennings film and Nathanial Dorsky's Song and Solitude on the same program, I walked away wishing I could recalibrate my view of the world around me, which, I guess, is one of the more noble functions of a-g cinema.)."
- Darren Hughes, Long Pauses

"Jennings mostly shot Silk Ties in New York's Garment District from the vantage point of a work truck. Filmed while parked on the street and driving in traffic, Jennings captures the rhythms and sensation of this vibrant street life. Edited mostly in-camera, Silk Ties reflects the working-class sensibility of its environment."
- Catalogue of the 45th Ann Arbor Film Festival

Rental Fees

16mm film $40.00  

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