3 days ago
Since the exponential rise of film studies as a discipline in the mid-1960s,universities have supported avant-garde film production, sustained its distribution co-ops, and served as its primary site of exhibition in North America. Furhtermore, because sales and rentals to universities are the primary market for avant-garde film, scholarly criticism - serving a de facto publicity function - has had a decisive impact on the avant-garde film world in a way that is unthinkable for narrative feature-length filmmaking. (17).Zryd here is performing what I think is an interesting balancing act, on one hand pledging a scholar's allegiance to avant-garde film culture while subjecting the avant-garde to the sorts of archival historical analysis that one would normally apply to feature filmmaking. In this case, instead of studio records, he sorts through booking receipts of the Filmmaker's Coop. It might not completly avoid the pitfalls of participant-observer criticism (and I know many will object to my objections on this matter), but it reframes them in a productive way.