Reviews by Barbara Sternberg
"Back to God's Country", Can. 1919, produced by and starring
A restored silver nitrate film print was shown at Ontario Cinematheque,
Friday, Feb.8, 2002. It was spectacular. The image, tinted sepia for indoor scenes
and cyan for exteriors, glowed from within.
And the details in the landscape, right down to the smallest twigs, were
as finely drawn lines. There were also fabulous scenes of the North's
snow-white vastness. The acting, while more stylized and exaggerated in
comparison to acting style today, was nonetheless engaging. The audience
cheered Nell on and murmured ahhhs at the bear
pup antics. But what surprised and pleased me most were
the values depicted in this antique film: environmental and animal rights (PETA
should see this film)
— it is Nell who jumps into the river, rescuing her father's body
from the raging current and later, it is Nell who threatens the 'bad guy' with
a gun, shooting him in the shoulder, to get her husband and herself to safety.
She then convinces hubby to move from the city back to the (God's, if you will)
country where they live in peace and harmony with the local critters. AMEN to
Family Album by Yvonne Singer opened
Feb.9 at Redhead Gallery.
from home movies are isolated in circular frames like an old-fashioned photo
album. The format reminds me of early cinema's use of the iris, and of Joyce Wieland's film Birds
at Sunrise, which made beautiful use of this circular telescoping of small,
fragile birds on a windowsill in winter. Singer's has used the round frames of
her eyeglasses in previous works. In Singer's installation we see a family
(hers?) seated around a dinner table, the everyday talk repeated and bits of it
extracted as text, things like 'the avocados are good' and 'some people use
horse shampoo because it makes the hair strong.' In one shot a light smile
plays on the face of an older man when he sees he's being filmed; in another
shot of three girls, the one in the middle is pregnant. Then
a shot of an old man and a baby. Life and death within
the mundaneness of living.
published in Lola Magazine #12, Summer 2002