Janie Geiser

Secret Story, The (1996) 16mm, color, 8.5 min

Genre: Animation, Experimental

Keywords: Children & Youth

THE SECRET STORY arose as a response to several beautifully decayed toy figures from the 1930s that were given to me as a gift. These figures, and other toys, objects and illustrations that I found from the period between the world wars, suggested a kind of unearthed hidden narrative which I have attempted to re-piece together, as if these figures were the hieroglyphics of a just-forgotten tongue. THE SECRET STORY revolves around the central figure of the woman, and her girl-double, who look somewhat like versions of Snow White. She wanders through landscapes of rivers and floods, home and war, and memory and illness, culminating in an ecstatic walk in the forest, suggesting both the dark and cathartic trajectories of the richest fairy tales. In his review of the 1996 New York Film Festival in Film Comment, Paul Arthur writes: "Geiser's film ... creates a child's vision of domestic immersion and foreboding out of crudely articulated antique dolls, toy blocks, and paper cutouts. Against a photographic background of a floodbound house, figures of mother and daughter exchange symbiotic knowledge of household routines, tasks, or games .... Recurrent images of a doctor and a nun, along with shifting veils of color, evoke a condition merging physical illness with spiritual floating. Although the 'secret' is never spelled out, the degree of emotional affect generated by or around Geiser's expressionless objects is compelling." THE SECRET STORY was chosen by Film Comment's Gavin Smith as one of the Best Short Films of 1996.

Rental: $40.00
16mm Rental: $40.00

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