46 minutes / Michael Robinson 2012
Premiered October 5 2012 at the New York Film Festival: Views From the Avant-Garde
In a broken near future, a band of listless vagabonds ambles across a war-torn coastal territory, supervised and sorted by a group of idle soldiers. Rummaging, stuttering, and smashing through the leftovers of Western culture, these ragged souls conjure an unstable magic, fueled by their own apathy and the poisonous histories imbedded in their unearthed junk. Suspicion, boredom, garbage, and glamour conspire in the languid pageantry of ruin. Feel the breeze in your hair, and the world crumbling through your fingers.
Filmed in Northern California and Central New York, with performances by Julia Austin, Rachel Bernstein, Hajera Ghori, Douglas Martin, James McHugh, Gennaro Panarello, and Chad Southard, with costumes and sets by Dana Carter. Supported by The Wexner Center Film/Video Residency Award, Circle in the Sand is a project of Creative Capital.
“Michael Robinson’s Circle in the Sand invokes the cosmos with generous throws of glitter. With a strikingly costumed cast wandering the post-apocalypse, the film plays like a zonked L’Avventura (1960). Three sparkle-eyed women walk the California coast, while a forlorn troupe of military men wait on patrol. The ladies unearth misbegotten artifacts of a forgotten world in the sand: anonymous Yelp reviews, skipping Counting Crows CDs, and dayglo nails are just the beginning. Stretching beyond the short format, Robinson’s imagination remains prodigious in the particulars. The credo bookending the film—‘We wanted to destroy knowledge but within knowledge’—does nicely as a description for the collagist’s quixotic task.” - Max Goldberg, for Keyframe/Fandor
“Robinson who is well-known for his humorous, campy, and engaging works of media collage, serves him well in this lengthy narrative, allowing him to smoothly mix together highly contrasting styles: the post-apocalyptic dystopia of Leslie Thornton’s Peggy and Fred series; the sparse landscapes of Antonioni; the surrealism of Maya Deren and David Lynch; the campy antics of Jack Smith; and the hushed serenity of Kelly Reichardt.” - Felix Bernstein, for The Brooklyn Rail