1985 / U-Matic / b&w / sound / 1S / 6' 00

"In THE KISS Ortiz explores a cliché of classical Hollywood narrative, the first kiss that signals the movement toward marriage and narrative closure. The source is BODY AND SOUL (1947), a classic boxing film in which the troubled protagonist falls in love with and marries a painter. The kiss scene takes place at the front door of her apartment, where she both initiates and terminates the kiss, closing the door on the boxer. Ortiz's video extends the kiss to six minutes, producing what Scott MacDonald calls a 'spasm' that transforms the represented gesture of the kiss into a 'virtual act of intercourse.' Reading the video against the censorship codes and postwar sexual ideology that inform the film, MacDonald identifies THE KISS as an allegory of the painter's sexual liberation and of Ortiz's own personal transformation from 'slum kid' (like the boxer) to artist (like the painter). [...]

As a metacommentary on Hollywood conventions and censorship, however, THE KISS is less concerned with the details per se (for example, is the character repressed?) and more concerned with how the cinema structures such issues as sexuality according to an economy of liberation/repression. The fact that Ortiz makes the scene circular elides the very narrative material that the conventional kiss is supposed to structure and regulate. The kiss becomes an end in itself."

(Chon Noriega, "Sacred Contingencies: The Digital Deconstructions of Raphael Montañez Ortiz," 1995)


distribution format Digital file on server (NTSC)
screen 4/3 (single screen)
speed 29,976 fps
sound sound
rental fee 42,00 €