Bruce Baillie

  • Bruce Baillie – Quixote (1965)

    1961-1970Bruce BaillieExperimentalUSA

    Bruce Baillie’s (…) Quixote (1965) stands alongside other synoptic 60s masterpieces such as Stan Brakhage’s The Art of Vision and Peter Kubelka’s Unsere Afrikareise, which use dense collages of diverse images in an attempt to make sense of a troubling world. In Quixote wild horses and a basketball game are part of a cross-country trip that ends with an antiwar demonstration in Manhattan. Baillie says he’s depicting our culture as one of conquest, but his film’s greatness lies not in its social analysis, which can seem as simpleminded as equating businessmen with pigs. Rather it’s in the way his superimposed and intercut images float almost weightlessly in space, creating a hypnotic sense of displacement that lets us see beyond aggression.Read More »

  • Bruce Baillie – Little Girl (1966 – 2014)

    Bruce BaillieExperimentalShort FilmUSA

    “This film by Bruce Baillie, completed in 1966 but unreleased until 2014, is contemporaneous with Castro Street, but is much more formally connected to All My Life or Still Life, also from the same year. In three sections with three different formal strategies, Baillie shares distilled moments of found natural beauty as he encountered them in the North Bay outside San Francisco. The first section features a study of plum blossoms, rendered in rich, multiple superimpositions that allow the white flowers to explode into a blizzard of visual complexity, framed by a panning shot of purple mountains. In the second section, Baillie allows us a furtive glimpse of the titular little girl, waving to cars with her dog on the side of the road, lost in her world and thoughts. Bruce#s framing remains unadorned, feeling no need to add to or take away from a beautiful piece of simple portraiture. The third section, of waterbugs on the surface of a pond, remind us how remarkable and sensitive Baillie’s camerawork can be, as he observes their graceful dances, and the subtle light and water effects they produce by their movements.”
    Mark ToscanoRead More »

  • Bruce Baillie – Quick Billy (1971)

    1971-1980Bruce BaillieExperimentalUSA

    A montage of images of film making is followed by a silent western story.Read More »

  • Robert Gardner – Screening Room: Bruce Baillie (1975)

    1971-1980Bruce BaillieExperimentalRobert GardnerTVUSA

    Bruce Baillie appeared on Screening Room in April 1973 to screen and discuss the films:

    On Sundays (excerpt, 11:40)
    The Gymnasts (excerpt, 6:45)
    To Parsifal (full film, 15:12)
    Tung (full film, 4:32)
    Castro Street (full film, 9:54)Read More »

  • Bruce Baillie – Castro Street (1966)

    1961-1970ArchitectureBruce BaillieExperimentalShort FilmUSA

    Inspired by a lesson from Erik Satie; a film in the form of a street – Castro Street running by the Standard Oil Refinery in Richmond, California … switch engines on one side and refinery tanks, stacks and buildings on the other – the street and film, ending at a red lumber company. All visual and sound elements from the street, progressing from the beginning to the end of the street, one side is black-and-white (secondary), and one side is colour – like male and female elements. The emergence of a long switch-engine shot (black-and-white solo) is to the filmmaker the essential of consciousness.Read More »

  • Bruce Baillie – Mass for the Dakota Sioux (1964)

    1961-1970Bruce BaillieExperimentalShort FilmUSA

    Mass for the Dakota Sioux (1964, 20 minutes, 16mm) is dedicated by Baillie to “the religious people who were destroyed by the civilization which evolved the Mass.” It is on one level a “Mass” for the American Indian conquered and displaced by the white American in quest of manifest destiny. A quote from the native American Sitting Bull opens the film,

    No chance for me to live mother
    You might as well mourn

    But this conflict of American history is also an echo of the artist’s own dilemma. Like the Beat Generation poets and writers, Baillie is situated outside the mainstream. He is an outsider looking in. His vision, personal, perceptive, unique and unmitigated by the profit motive defines the role of the contemporary artist.Read More »

  • Bruce Baillie – Here I Am (1962)

    1961-1970Bruce BaillieExperimentalShort FilmUSA

    An early film made for an Oakland school for mentally disturbed children.

    From the 1910s through the 1950s newsreels were a staple of American
    Moviegoing experience. Released nationally to theaters once or twice a week and running about 10 min., newsreels highlighted the events of the day – politics,sports,
    scandals, ceremonies – and generally included at least one human-interest story.
    Sometimes local theaters made their own, thrilling audiences by profiling hometown
    personalities. With Here I Am Bruce Baillie brings this inclusive approach
    to the avant-garde.Read More »

  • Bruce Baillie – To Parsifal (1963)

    1961-1970Bruce BaillieExperimentalShort FilmUSA

    “He who becomes slowly wise.”

    The Structure of Lyric:
    Baillie’s to Parsifal
    Alan Williams

    It’s difficult to say exactly where or how To Parsifal is a lyric film and where or how a narrative work. For this reason, ordinary critical vocabularies (based on certain “types” of films) do not apply with much usefulness to Bruce Baillie’s abstractly assembled color images, nor to the nature and functions of his sound track. To get a sense of how this film works it will be necessary first to break it down, outline it, in order to see how the (implied) viewer puts it together.Read More »

  • Bruce Baillie – Quick Billy (1971) (DVD)

    1971-1980Bruce BaillieExperimentalUSA


    The experience of transformation between life and death, death and birth, or rebirth in four reels.

    Interview With Baillie by Brecht Andersch:

    BB: I caught hepatitis almost a year before I started working on Quick Billy. I got the hepatitis at the ranch, then I retired to Berkeley with my parents to lie on the floor next to the couch for the next nine months. It was a real knockout. It was kind of a question of whether I could live or not. Several of my friends had died of it. It wasn’t serum hepatitis, but it was a very serious case that some of us had. And after three or four months, I started to try to walk around a little, and then started to try to drive. That’s how I found myself up at Fort Bragg, where most of my friends lived … I started (shooting) about nine months after the onset of the disease, and a friend let me stay in his cabin on the beach. That was a lifesaver.Read More »

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