Experimental Film and Life

Being a film major, I get asked what kind of films I like. I’ve said I liked the experimental and avant garde. For a while, I was able to just say what I liked but never really why. After some reflection, I now know why.

I’ve never really processed life like everybody else. If you actually spent time with me, my behavior and mannerisms may seem a bit odd. I don’t always catch every single clue when communicating and what that may mean in the current situation. When it’s my turn to talk, I have difficulty putting thoughts together and have to make a conscious effort as to what I want to say, intonation and all. I guess you could say I’m on the spectrum (where exactly will come later).

Looking back as a kid, there was always some kind of clue I missed in terms of what was going on. I didn’t formally start school until the second grade; first real time I would be with a class from the beginning would be high school. I’d try to mimic the attitudes of some friends but that lead to trouble. Always on the outside of in-jokes, never getting the full story. There was something missing, something I could never really understand through either seeing or listening.

It wasn’t until college that I found experimental film. At first, my mind was on the side of “how is this Art?” But after willingly exposing myself to some more work (even then some experiences aren’t positive) I developed a better appreication for them. I like watching other people’s reactions to an experimental film and asking them why they felt the way they did. Most of the time, it was because they weren’t sure what exactly they saw or heard. It’s a metaphor as to how I live day to day; missing the key to unlock the meaning.

I’ve tried my hand at experimental film. Looking at Frequencies, one of the themes is that processing sensory information can be overwhelming. With the looping instructions on radio frequencies surrounding your ears, overlapping forwards and backwards, it’s hard to pinpoint what set to listen to. The static superimposed on the images obscures the visuals. While you can get a general idea of what you see, the full picture isn’t there.

It’s not the first thing that comes to mind when people ask what I like but after I do my best to explain why, it begins to makes sense.


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