39th Ann Arbor Film Festival Tour

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Anne Paas' The Greatest Show on Earth in the 39th Ann Arbor Film Festival Tour.
  • Anne Paas' The Greatest Show on Earth in the 39th Ann Arbor Film Festival Tour.

Memories and the relationship among image, sound and text emerge as the motifs of the 39th Ann Arbor Film Festival Tour’s best. Along with two notable animated shorts, it offer a feast for the eyes and ears.

Memories of childhood surface through visual and verbal allusion in Te-Shun Tsung’s The Angel in His Head, Elida Schogt’s The Walnut Tree and Rose Bond’s Memoria Mortalis. Tsung’s is a coming-of-boyhood story where a poetry of image and sound connotes memory and the burning desire of a 5-year-old boy to be, at last, a big boy of 6. Schogt allusively documents her family’s memories of the Holocaust in a lyrically artsy album of still and moving photographs — while Bond’s memoir is traumatically fractured into an animated retrospective of her life as a seventh-grade artist and a live-action allegory of her father’s death.

Essentially pure image and sound lyrically paired, Sandra Gibson’s Soundings is a flow of lines, a flicker of abstract graphics, distressed and tinted images of photographs: a gem chipped from avant-garde filmmaker Stan Brakhage’s brilliantly multifaceted block.

Hedwig Page, Seaside Librarian, dimly recalls the surrealistic mood of David Lynch’s breakthrough film, Eraserhead (1977). Whether portrayed in live-action snippets by writer-director Nancy Andrews or by her rather severe puppet, Miss Page is the high priestess of text, the personification of science’s oldest and most irresistible obsessions: to arrange, classify and catalog.

Two animated shorts especially caught my eye. Fur & Feathers does what animation should: what live action can’t. Maria Vasilkovsky illustrates the winds of changing moods between a man and a woman by transforming them into evocative animals beautifully rendered in paint on glass. And in Stanley, a tale of meat, a woman, her husband and his cabbage, Suzie Templeton’s strikingly grotesque, animated marionettes spoof Hitchcock.

Though the 39th Ann Arbor Film Festival Tour offers a few bland and flavorless offerings, the delicacies it provides makes it worth a taste.

Showing exclusively at the Detroit Film Theatre (inside the DIA, 5200 Woodward, Detroit), Monday at 7:30 p.m. Call 313-833-3237.

E-mail James Keith La Croix at letters@metrotimes.com.

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