Bruce Conner, R.I.P.

Bruce Conner — avant-garde cinematic giant, co-founder of one of the first and most important film distribution co-operatives, and spiritual godfather to all youtube mashup artists (though most of them are clueless to the fact) — is dead at the age of 74. GreenCine is compiling links to obituaries and remembrances.

Valse Triste, a haunting film that draws on his midwestern childhood, is the film of his that most feels appropriate to watch today. You can find it on YouTube, but its quiet power is utterly diminished by the small screen.

So instead I offer this, the first film of his that I saw, which turned me onto his work: Mongoloid




2 Responses to “Bruce Conner, R.I.P.”

  1. Chris Says:

    You can find it on YouTube, but its quiet power is utterly diminished by the small screen

    As it is by the pink, faded 16mm print I’ve seen.

    spiritual godfather to all youtube mashup artists (though most of them are clueless to the fact)

    You may have seen, but I did put forth a contrarian claim that youtube mashups are doing something different than Conner’s films, at least in their editing practices. Though I guess the fact the comparison had occurred to me as well says something.

    And Mongoloid was my first Conner film as well… probably the very same screening.

  2. Paul Says:

    Pink? Sad to hear. I rented a print a few years ago and it was in great shape. Few splices, and the sepia was holding up.

    I don’t disagree with your claim that Conner’s use of montage differs in the specifics from a lot of the mashups on YouTube.

    But for me the issue is in that more fundamental point — the same point that led you to the comparison — which is that Conner broke ground in the use of disparate footage from disparate sources often for provocative, critical, and humorous effect.

    Santiago Alvarez would be another (though not as rich) point of comparison.

    And yes, the “Mongoloid” screening was the same. I have you to thank for it — you programmed it, no? One way or another I remember watching it from the projection booth with you. :)