Jim Jennings

Fall (aka Wall Street) (1980) 16mm, color, 6.25 min

Genre: Experimental

Shot at high noon in New York's financial district, Wallstreet is much like a vertical tickertape, charting the existence of typical office workers. The film's elongated shadows suggest these workers' depersonalized, neuter, nearly uniform lives, which flow by without any solid or stable element that might provide definition. -Karen Treanor, quoted in MoMA Cineprobe notes, 1998, and in the catalogue of the 43rd San Francisco International Film Festival "I met Jim when I first decided to move to New York in 1978 & was seeking out my peers. I myself was obsessed with editing and my initial feeling was that Jim's films were just camera rolls. WALL STREET was the first film of his which made a strong impression on me, and it is still among my favorites. It was originally called FALL (which I thought was a more appropriate title, as it is clearly shot on a late Autumn afternoon when the rays of the sun cast a noticeably long shadow, and it itself casts a continuously falling motion onto the screen. At the time of the title change I recall Jim told me it was shot on Lower Broadway, but the image reminded him of a wall, and he liked the pun). I took this film to Europe in the early 80s on a program I curated which, as I recall, also included films by Nick Dorsky (ARIEL), Vincent Grenier (INTERIOR INTERIEURS), Caroline Avery (MIDWEEKEND), Abby Child (ORNAMENTALS) and me (NORTH BEACH), and was screened in Madrid & Barcelona, and in Wurzberg, Germany. The dazzling, contrasty black & white image of a sidewalk is shot from a moving vehicle (Karen tell me it was a bus, which explains a lot) with a camera rotated 90 degrees; the same several locations appear to be repeated several times. Images close to the camera (like large concrete planters or a pedestrian waiting at a crosswalk) move faster because of their position relative to the lens and are almost entirely black, creating wild abstract moments in the on-going flow of lengthy shadows and the legs that cast them (which themselves sometimes give the illusion of walking backwards). A very clever but relatively simple procedure creates a continuously fascinating progression. Perhaps the shots are just strung together, but somehow the editing strategy seems perfect. In a way it oddly calls to mind Joan Jonas' classic video VERTICAL ROLL, but it also, and more importantly, seems to create an illusion of a film strip (perhaps as viewed on rewinds). When I brought Jim to Prague my students at FAMU loved that he was a plumber, rather than a college professor like almost all my other filmmaker guests. It gave them a sense of real authenticity. Several years ago a couple of Jim's films were on a group program in the Viennale and the authenticity and sheer beauty of his work blew the other pieces on the show off the screen. His work really stands the test of time. " -Henry Hills, notes for "Jim Jennings + Friends," February 11, 2017, Anthology Film Archives.

Rental: $40.00
16mm Rental: $40.00

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