Leslie Thornton

Leslie Thornton – Peggy And Fred in Hell (1985-1996 and beyond)

Leslie Thornton’s remarkable, mind-boggling experimental feature-length cycle of short films which she’s been working on and releasing in episodes since 1981 is a postapocalyptic narrative about two children feeling their way through the refuse of late-20th-century consumer culture; the films employ a wide array of found footage as well as peculiar, unpredictable, and often funny performances from two “found” actors. Apart from one startling and beautiful color shot in the penultimate episode, Whirling, the whole cycle is in black and white. (Episodes that have been added since an earlier version of the cycle showed in Chicago six years ago include Introduction to the So-Called Duck Factory and The Problem So Far.) Highly idiosyncratic and deeply creepy, this series as a whole – which includes passages in both film and video, sometimes shown concurrently – represents the most exciting recent work in the American avant-garde, a saga that raises questions about everything while making everything seem very strange.
– Jonathan Rosenbaum Read More »

Leslie Thornton – Adynata (1983)

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Quote:
A formal 1861 portrait of a Chinese Mandarin and his wife is the starting point for this allegorical investigation of the fantasies spawned in the West about the East, particularly that which associates femininity with the mysterious Orient. ADYNATA presents a series of oppositions-male and female images, past and present sounds-which in and of themselves construct a minimal and fragmentary narrative, an open text of our imaginations, fears and fantasies.

Quote:
“Beautiful and beguiling…mixes Truffaut’s Shoot the Piano Player with The Bride of Frankenstein, a TV cop show and a Betty Boop cartoon-yielding a complex form of signification run riot.” -Jonathan Rosenbaum Read More »