Daniel Barnett

Chinese Typewriter, The (1978) 16mm, color, 27.75 min

Genre: Experimental

Keywords: Political / Social Activism

The Chinese Typewriter is about education and language, and the way a society is shaped by them. Exemplifies the politically committed film that defies the strict rubric of avant-garde. Barnett seems less interested in challenging traditional form than in exploding his own occidental vision. He transforms cyclonic cutting among a character-filled Chinese printing shop, a school, and street life into a visual poem that extracts the country's fierce mechanistic energy while leaving the fragrant residue of humanity. The film is compositionally meticulous and rhythmically arresting, as Barnett goes beyond facile, formalist, dehumanization of post-Mao China imagery. Contrasting a stop action view of a schoolgirl doing a cartwheel with contemplating, pointillist, high-angle shots of sidewalk life. The repeated sloganeering of public-school apologists, spiced with oriental music and street beat forms a soundtrack with the haunting quality of a Davis Byrne/Brian Eno experiment. Red objects, from scarves around necks to newsstands draped with crimson like a shroud-pull the eye to what become found object vanishing points. despite the multitude of images-over 3000 on 28 minutes, the film never seems capricious or ostentatious. -- Gregory Solman ; BOSTON PHOENIX 2/26/85 ... THE CHINESE TYPEWRITER... provoked me to rave for days.... and alarming, funny, gorgeous work. -- Susan Orlean ; BOSTON PHOENIX 5/84 Barnett is a modern Vertov; wiser, reflective, and without the naive trappings of a prophet. Mary Badger ; Bromfeild Gallery Notes

Rental: $65.00
16mm Rental: $65.00

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