Underground Film Journal

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Short Experimental Film: 106 River Road

By Mike Everleth ⋅ October 21, 2014

An intense emotional memory is boiled down to its cold, hard facts in 106 River Road, a powerful experimental short film by Josh Weissbach.

The film is structured as a slow burn of a domestic thriller where the only participant we ever see on-screen is the eponymous location, shot from a single angle that never changes. As the visual location is set, a narrator reads a court document in exacting detail in a dry, emotionless tone. No dash, number or punctuation mark is left out, thus building up the tension leading up to the reveal of the actual conditions of the order.

Suburban Connecticut home in Winter

At that reveal, we finally understand that this is a very personal film by Weissbach, a way to deal with a memory by providing an emotionless distance from it, allowing the audience to bring their own emotions to the situation based on their own personal experiences. Thus, some may feel very connected to the film, others not at all. In that way, the film can exist as both a simple technical exercise — combining the rough, jagged and jittery optical distortions with the precise linearity of the narration — as well as a moving portrait of the conclusion of familial relationships.

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