16mm, color, 8 min
Genre: Animation, Experimental
"In BABEL TOWN Janie Geiser extends her puppet performances to film, creating neither a filmed record of a puppet show, nor an exercise in puppet animation. Instead Geiser uses film and puppets to create a fable that glides between the animate and the inanimate, the miniature and the monumental. Through a window, a Girl escapes from a house where parental conflicts seem to hammer down the roof. Gliding through a dream-like environment, in her newfound freedom she encounters dangerous hurdles: rhythmically slicing scissors and the construction of a massive Tower of Babel, all accompanied by a percussive soundtrack of clicks, clangs, snips, sudden tocsins and tapped-out messages. Returning home, she discovers she has undergone an Alice in Wonderland-like change in scale and no longer fits in the confined boxes of family security. Her parents watch their now giant daughter through the window.
"Geiser constructs a truly dream-like nighttime odyssey in which liberation is closely followed by threats, and escape from immediate family conflicts seems only a prologue to an encounter with demonic tools, hammers and scissors, which construct a larger (but still controlling) reality around the wandering Girl. In the Book of Genesis, the Tower of Babel led to the creation of multiple languages, and here the titanic heads that appear behind the tower linked by ribbons inscribed with hieroglyphics evoke an encounter with the power of language which can either further constrict the Girl or truly liberate her. Although she remains outside the house of her original confinement, there seems to be some regret as she explores the now diminutive houses with one hand, like a dollhouse of forgotten games, only to slink away like a surprised burglar as a flashlight beam illuminates her. The space she disappears into is ambiguous, like the freedom and threat she has found on her nocturnal journey. Was it all a dream? The hammering down of reality continues." -- Tom Gunning
16mm Rental: $40.00
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