Wednesday, January 28, 2009

"Venom and Eternity"

Internet Archive has a downloadable/viewable copy of "Venom and Eternity"on their site that I found to be a endlessly entertaining and fascinating film. You can put it on your ipod and watch it on your next flight. It is a film that defies almost all the conventions of movie making. "Venom and Eternity" is a chaotic 1951 film mostly made up of Jean Isidore Isoumaker yelling at the viewer and as seen above - telling them that they are "all a bunch of idiots". The narrative is difficult to make out, the images flip around the screen (sometimes upside down) and are frequently stained or scratched up, and there are even parts that sound like an "Sung Tongs" era Animal Collective tune made up of rhythmic, chanting nonsense/noise:

Check out this rant I transcribed in which he compares his unconventional approach to Picasso's approach to painting;

"Before him, others indeed destroyed the image – Why any child who destroyed the image was a Picasso – But Picasso was the first to leave beautiful, normal painting and with infinite research and enormous pains, progress towards the destruction of beautiful, normal painting. He thus systematized new painting and hacked out of the forest of painting the path that goes from ordinary figurative art to non figurative art to abnormal art.

Fellow blogger Bret Wood also transcribed a section that says "Let people come out of a movie with a headache. There are so many movies from which one emerges as stupid as one entered. I'd rather give you a migraine than nothing at all. I'm not paid by an optometrist to bring him clients, but I should rather ruin your eyes than leave them indifferent."

According to Jean, the "destructive image is superior to an ordinary image" and in this short clip you can see how well he has excelled at destruction:

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