by Bruce BAILLIE
1963-1964 / 16mm / b&w / sound / 1S / 20' 00
The film begins with a short instruction: "No chance of living for me, Mother, you can cry just as well." Sitting Bull, Sioux Chief Hukpapa. Applause for a lonely figure dying in a street. INTROIT: a long section slightly exposed and edited in-camera. KYRIE: a motorcyclist crossing the San Francisco Bridge accompanied by a Gregorian chant recorded in the Trappist monastery of Vina, California. The epistle is in several parts. In this central part, the film gradually becomes outrageous; the documents come from the cinema or television, and are rephotographed directly from the screen. The sound of the mass rises and falls. GLORIA: the sound of a siren accompanies a short sequence with a Cadillac 33 passing over the Bay Bridge and disappearing into a tunnel. The final section begins with the offertory in a procession of lights and figures for the second song. The anonymous person seen during the introit is discovered again, dead on the sidewalk. The body is consecrated and then carried away, in front of indifferent, isolated people, to the sound of the last song. Mass is traditionally a celebration of life, so there is a contradiction between mass and death. The dedication is addressed to the believers destroyed by the civilization that has transformed the mass.