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Films and Videoart

JIMMY

vimeo.com/8423576

Text by Douglas Max Utter
At just under three minutes in length, Jimmy (2003) sketches a complex study of fear in search of a context. This emerges as a half-perceived storyline strung between images suggesting family relationships and acts of violence. It begins with a distant, soft scream, and an approaching siren. The found, painted and distressed celluloid footage include repeated sequences of a boy running awkwardly alongside the wall of a school building. He’s a child of the latest mythic American past, with crew-cut, striped t-shirt and shorts. His arms are at his sides, helplessly limp as his bare knees pump around a brick corner into shadow. A man in a dark suit strides briskly after him. A male voice speaks the lines, “Jimmy is emotionally sick. His terror of others cannot be dismissed as mere shyness.” Thick with prejudgment, the voiceover takes on the finality of an inquisitorial sentence; a witch has been found. The imagery tells us the obvious: he can run, but he can’t hide. Then Kasumi moves quickly into a montage of violent scenes set against a rhythmic, industrial-martial soundtrack. An older boy is seen swinging an ax; a woman’s face fills the screen -- she looks insane. Another woman is running down a corridor, a man is falling, a man swings his arm as if hitting something with all his strength. Several times we hear the words “Desolate, barren, empty.” This wasteland-like evocation introduces larger themes. Violence, isolation, even psychosis, are the inevitable social outcomes of the abuse of power. Brief clips of what might be a military training film show a man walking away from a gun turret; strong light behind him compresses his shadowy image: he becomes wraith-like, an alien in a nightmare. Then, soon, it all ends, as Jimmy’s tear-stained face looks woefully upward, toward horrible realities he can neither comprehend nor change. The political implications that emerged from Jimmy suggested the themes of blowback and retribution that characterize the political content in the films that followed.

Selected screenings:
CESTA Art Festival, Tabor, Czech Rebublic 2005 cesta.cz/
Montecatini International Short Film Conference 2003: THE ADRIANO ASTI PRIZE FOR
THE BEST EXPERIMENTAL WORK For the ability to create a deep emotional
involvement of the audience through editing, sound track and images
Museu de Arte Moderna, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 2003
Itau Cultural Center, Sao Paulo, Brazil, 2003
Project 101, Paris, France, 2003
Tirana Int’l Film Festival, Tirana, Albania
Mostra Curta Cinema – 9th Rio de Janeiro Int’l Short Film Festival 2003
Athens International Film Festival, 2002
Cleveland International Film Festival 2002: Honorable Mention
Skol Rio 2004, Rio de Janeiro
Amsterdam International Short Film Festival 2003
Hamburg International Short Film Festival 2003
Bitfilm Festival, Hamburg, 2003
Kinofilm Festival, Manchester, England, 2003
NEMO Festival, Paris, France, 2003
Microcinema Independent Exposure 2002-2003 season