Sunday, February 17, 2008

Inhale the Microcosm

Jessie Stead/Robert Nelson

Yerba Buena Center for the Arts

First prize winner at the 2007 Ann Arbor Film Festival, Jessie Stead’s “structuralist road movie” Foggy Mountains Breakdown More Than Non-Foggy Mountains explores the magical mundanity of byway wandering (as well as the pleasures and absurdities of cinematic structuralism) with an endlessly mutating parade of Super-8 travelogue, abstract direct animation, transient poetics, and version after version of the Flatt & Scruggs bluegrass classic. Described by Ed Halter as “a strange brew of visual semi-sequiturs and relentless editorial logic,” Foggy Mountains… receives its West Coast premiere tonight alongside Robert Nelson’s long-rumored and virtually unscreened 1997 masterpiece Hauling Toto Big (also an Ann Arbor honoree). Decades in the making, Hauling… is Foggy…’s perfect complement, colliding a sprawling and unruly reality-complete with crazed carnies and rundown ranch hands-with Nelson’s own idiosyncratic brand of home-brew formalism. (Steve Polta)

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