TREE OF KNOWLEDGE
Elective affinities IV

by Larry GOTTHEIM
1981 / color / sound / 1S / 57' 45

The final film of "Elective Affinities". A central element is a documentary film about paranoid conditions. Another is a flow of images of an apple tree in my back yard filmed impulsively, without forethought, the opposite of the static camera of FOG LINE. The radical breaking with the previous passivity of the camera has deep psychological dimensions. That was the first thing that led me to bring the paranoid material into the zone of the tree footage. The elements of sound and image are closely matched to each other, frame by frame. Inserted in them at the heart of the film are images of children, Kenneth and Louise, from an instructional documentary about the seasons. Cries of cattle being auctioned and sent to the stockyards are also inserted. The children are central. They stand in for the audience of the didactic film about the seasons. They are both the ones who are learning and also part of the didactic mechanics of that film that represents and teaches received knowledge. The paranoid patients are also presented as instruments of instruction and at the same time subjects themselves who have absorbed in a distorted way knowledge they have received from religion, newspapers, common gossip. Their minds struggle with elements of the outside world that penetrate their attention - politics, new post-WWII technologies. The doctor who presents them is also in intimate league with them in this studio space. The narrator of the seasons film is his brother. The affinities between all these figures continue the theme of doubles that appear in my films. The film points to a deeper reality than what is on the surface. The explanation of the seasons is obviously correct. But in its didactic context it serves as a cover for something deeper. This material is repeated with different permutations of the sound material and the image material, once in the original sync sound and again with the other sound track, continuing procedures from the preceding two films of the series. All this is preceded and followed by continuous black and white negative images of the tree going from clear to black and reversed at the end. Each is accompanied by an important sound element. At the very beginning and end is a small piece with new material that points forward and back into a world outside the garden, that concludes the series of "Elective Affinities" and opens to new procedures... - L.G.

1 PRINT IN DISTRIBUTION


distribution format Digital file on server (HD)
screen 4/3 (single screen)
speed 24 fps
sound sound
rental fee 175,00 €