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Fable: I want the world clean
Fisherman: a birthday wish
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Fisherman: A Birthday Wish

 


Regarding the makeup of man's glory...

(1998): Our romantic image of fishing and fish-culture is put to the test in this pre-dawn saga aboard "the Osprey".

For me, making this film was a huge relief. On the one hand it allowed me to reconsider the spoken word as, in this case, a nearly pictorial element in film, or to put it another way as another color in the painting. On the other hand, as a polemic, the subject allowed me to comfortably return to the kind of straight narrative structure that had once been a staple of my paintings.

 
 
 

The driving force behind this film was my revulsion to an annual fishing event. I intended to milk the moment for all its metaphoric worth: when I shot the film, I felt like a war photographer documenting atrocities, and so I sought to frame it with this in mind.
The Churchill narration is obscure in the mix, but equally so in its literal content; giving us but a flavor of his form and all the idealism that he might stand for. This against the image of the angelic but somehow sinister dirigibles is certainly evocative of the romantic spirit that accompanied the War years. The second part of the narrative voice is hidden: the soundtrack is meant to shift our aural perspective to suggest that of the fish, the victims of what?
 
 
 

As one of my German relatives put it: That's exactly what happened after WW1... the romance of conquest led to four years of utter devastation including the decimation of an entire generation, and a shell-shocked populace saying, "never again". Yet the next decade saw that same population pridefully rearm to face another glorious holocaust...


After making this film, I felt more comfortable playing with spoken language as the music of emotion. But more importantly I felt the power of conflicting voices in a film to turn the viewer on its head. The sense of opposition without resolution seemed to apply readily to my worldview, and so I began the quest to refine my polemic.
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(available on DVD 2: "1997-2002")

Credits:
"Fisherman"

(November 1998) 16mm 5:30
CAST: Anonymous Group Yanked from the
Depths of Long Island Sound
John Todd
Tessa Day
Paul & Mike
The Crew of the Osprey
Voice of Winston Churchill
Optical Printer courtesy of Vanessa O'Neill
Processed at Cine Labs
Cut by Northeast Negative Matchers