Sunday, April 20, 2003

The Decay of Fiction

Pat O' Neill and Persistence of Vision Awards Ceremony

Sundance Kabuki Cinemas

Co-presented with Pacific Film Archive and the San Francisco International Film Festival

Persistence of Vision winner Pat O’Neill’ s most recent masterpiece, The Decay of Fiction, focuses on the Ambassador, a Los Angeles hotel that featured conspicuously in the city’s fabled past until earthquake damage closed it down. It is constructed as a geometric ballet of time-lapse long takes though the gardens, corridors and rooms of the decaying hotel. O’Neill also introduces a distended filigree of narrative vignettes, fragments from the lives of the hotel’s guests that appear in superimposition. Transparent and insubstantial, they are a brilliant filmic realization of the hotel’s memories, the ghosts of its long-departed guests. But if they once resided in the hotel, their real home was film noir, and the narratives in which they flicker into life all resonate with the conventions of the industry’s most sustained engagement with the city. Also screening are two recent shorts: Coreopsis and Squirt gun/Step print. (David James)