Robert Cowan

Soul Freeze (1967) 16mm, black and white, 25 min

Genre: Experimental

Keywords: Erotic, Psychology & Mental Health

"SOUL FREEZE is Cowan's masterpiece to date, and one of the most consciously anguished of films. It is centered around a man who is being 'tempted' by female sexuality. But it begins not with the man, but with two mythic images: a woman carrying a sign with the man's picture on it through the streets, and white, burning candles. This kind of imagery is contained throughout the film: things appear that are not part of the 'story' but are part of the feelings that Cowan draws from his 'story': the girl in the coffin, whom the man worships, the flesh being cut up, the geometrical shapes and finally the burning picture at the end. But Cowan's ideas are expressed most fully not by the presence of these things but by the way the whole film is shot and cut. To the subject of the film Cowan brings exceptionally violent feelings concerning the existence of human flesh; perhaps, concerning the physicality of all things. The violent cuts, images flashing on and off, throughout the film, partly expresses this. But it is also contained in the shooting style, which turns objects into blocks of light and dark. The borders of these objects seem to be clashing with the borders of the adjacent ones; the conflict, accentuated by the cutting, seems to result from a wish to destroy or deny the physicality of all things. But Cowan does not propose anything to replace it; and in fact the film is inextricably tied to that physicality. Thus the film expresses a great internalized violence, and intense sense of pain; but at the same time it is beautiful, for like any art, the pain is more than simple pain, it comes out of a form that contains more than can be said in words and it is the form which is beautiful."--Fred Camper

Rental: $60.00
16mm Rental: $60.00

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