Joyce Wieland – Cat Food (1967)

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Cat Food
Canada / 13:30 min. / 1967
sound / color

“In Catfood Wieland shows a cat devouring fish after fish for some ten minutes. There seems to be no repetition of shots, but the imagery is so consistent throughout–shot of the fish, the cat eating, his paw clawing, another fish, the cat eating, etc.–that it is just possible the shots are recurrent. There is no question that Wieland has a unique talent.”- P Adams Sitney, Film Culture

“A cat eats its methodical way through a polymorphous fish. The projector devours the ribbon of film at the same rate, methodically. The lay of Grimnir mentions a wild boar whose magical flesh was nightly devoured by the heroes of Valhalla, and miraculously regenerated next morning in the kitchen. The fish in Wieland’s film, and the miraculous flesh of the film itself, are reconstructed on the rewinds to be devoured again. Here is a dionysian metaphor, old as the West, of immense strength. Once we see that the fish is the protagonist of the action, this metaphor reverberates to incandescence in the mind.” – Hollis Frampton

“Joyce Wieland’s work Catfood yet again reflects the director’s indelible love for details and, so it seems, the smallest everyday things. Only a cat, eating fish after fish, is shown on the screen. But this process is recorded by exceptionally observing every motion of the animal – its eyes closed in gusto, the small claws of the cat’s graceful paw diving into the fish… The New Yorker compared this film even to the works of the famous Jean-Luc Godard.” —Kaunas International Film Festival

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