James Fotopoulos

Families (2002) 16mm, black and white, 97 min

Genre: Experimental

"Families bears the stylistic traits of his earlier feature-length films but expands the number of characters and locations. Opening with a portentous shot of nearly motionless sheep, the black-and-white film develops in disaffected dialogue scenes interspersed with shots of dreary Midwestern exteriors. The main strain of the narrative focuses on a young man and woman and their prolonged, halting conversations, many of which revolve around death. Yet none of the violence recounted in these exchanges takes place on screen, where life is characterized by the absence of physical contact, robotic soliloquy, and a general sense of forlorn ennui. Recurring throughout the film are repeated shots of the sheep from the opening, dogs or fish in an aquarium, paradigmatically linking annals to the characters and their awkward interactions. Fotopoulos suggests that the titular familial ties refer to larger structures of kinship, and constructs a bleak parallel in the common markers of human and animal existence."--Henriette Huldisch, Whitney Museum of American Art

Rental: $200.00
16mm Rental: $200.00

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