Underground Film Journal

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Martha Colburn: Occupy Wall Street 2011

By Mike Everleth ⋅ October 14, 2011

UPDATE: Sorry, video no longer available.

Mostly known for her animated films, Martha Colburn returns to live action with a short experimental documentary on the Occupy Wall Street protests that have been going on since mid-September. The above embedded video is actually two short films that should play one right after another. Rather than get into the goals and message of the protestors, Colburn simply documents the scene, displaying the same kind of frenetic montage that her animated films have.

What’s particularly appealing about this short doc is that it also displays a heavy ’60s underground film vibe. While Colburn leaves her shots a little longer than the then-popular “single-frame” shooting technique, the effect is essentially the same, creating a disorienting, kaleidoscope documentary vision. The film is not unlike classic undergrounds like Marie Menken‘s Go! Go! Go! and Shirley Clarke‘s Bridges-Go-Round.

Also, the “single-frame” technique is particularly appropriate here, centering the action right in the middle of the mad crush of protestors and policemen so that the viewer can get a feel of being a participant and not just a spectator.

The music in the documentary is by Tom Carter, a frequent collaborator with Colburn, especially with performing live scores to her films.

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