Sunday, May 5, 1996

Step Across The Border

Fred Frith on Film

San Francisco Art Institute

Just as avant-garde guitarist and composer Fred Frith has expanded the bounds of musicality, so have the German and Swiss filmmakers Humbert and Penzel expanded the bounds of documentary. Shot in gorgeous black and white, Step Across the Border is an extraordinary piece of portraiture which feels as improvised, as open-ended and as full of a sense of wonder as some of Frith’s own compositions. Following Frith through 11 cities and 3 continents, the film catches him in spontaneous recitals and formal concerts, improvising in unusual settings, and with other musicians such as John Zorn, Iva Bitova, and Eitetsu Hayashi. Philosophical asides by the likes of Jonas Mekas and Robert Frank are just a part of the journey in this enchantingly elliptical film filled with visual and musical riffs. The filmmakers also premiere their newest work at the Film Fest.(Programmed by Irina Leimbacher)