An excerpt from The Realist (2013, Scott Stark, HD video, 36 mins.). The Realist is an experimental and highly abstracted melodrama, a "doomed love story" storyboarded with flickering still photographs, peopled with department store mannequins, and located in the visually heightened universe of clothing displays, fashion islands and storefront windows.
Stylistically, The Realist uses a technique I developed for my 2001 film Angel Beach, alternating between the left- and right-eye images of stereo 3D photographs. (The "Realist" was also the name of a popular stereo camera sold in the 1950s and 60s.) In The Realist, this alternating-image technique creates a flickering, trembling, dazzling trajectory through the worlds of department store displays and storefront windows. The constant flickering and rhythmic editing between scenes creates a visual tension that teeters on the edge of abstraction but never entirely loses its grounding in reality. The mannequins seem to be trying to wriggle themselves free from their predetermined poses, and mysterious, abstract shapes sometimes emerge out of the confusion of odd movements and juxtapositions.
A looping musical soundtrack (composer Daniel Goode's Tunnel-Funnel) punctuates the lyrical editing and drives the dramatic fructuations.
The Realist is a soaring visual romp peppered with turgid melodramatic moments, flickering visual rhythms that border on abstraction, and seductive images of commercial products with their dubious promises of physical nourishment and fashionable allure. In the process, It examines our own relationship to consumerist culture: we see in these commercial displays idealized, pre-packaged renderings of our own needs, desires and identities. Perhaps on some level we, too, communicate and define ourselves in the same way that the mannequins do; we are what we buy. -- Scott Stark
"I'm in awe... The Realist is a masterpiece!" -- Richard Herskowitz, Cinema Arts Festival Houston
"The Realist is a masterpiece, and that's no exaggeration." -- Australian International Experimental Film Festival
"This is a magisterial composition, the work of a visionary artist, a true poet, who is in complete command of his medium.... the power of The Realist comes from a synthesis of form and content - there's something deeper than just dynamism, no matter how dazzling it may be. Something ultimately poignant, even wistful, in this universal melodrama of our time." -- Gene Youngblood, author of Expanded Cinema
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