Salem Film Fest
Craftsmen are dwarfed by giant, abstract sculpture in Memorial, an experimental documentary. Monumental sculptures appear first as silhouettes, emphasizing their geometric purity and reminding us that cinema itself is act of reduction and representation. Human craftsmen provide scale, and the eyes through which we perceive the work. Crawling about and even soaring, God-like, over the rusty plates and tubes, they simultaneously humanize and deify this inanimate work. Archival footage introduces a sense of temporality, and asks us to consider how the scales of time differ for humans and our creations.
Memorial chronicles the complete lifecycle of its steel subject, but leaves the biggest question—why must it be destroyed?—to the audience. In considering this, we confront our own mortality and choices to express ourselves through art, even if it will not outlast us.
Three men work as dunk tank clowns in carnivals across the north-east. The job requires quick wit, a thick skin and physical stamina. It was once easy money – but times have changed.
We learn the tricks of the trade – how to lure the suckers, how to work the crowd.
Tom has a “Sunday school” game – good-natured and witty. Terry pushes the boundaries of taste – and the crowd gets ugly in response. Kenny, the veteran, just seems a bit tired. They blame dwindling interest on “political correctness.”
Through a series of looping, black and white shots, the life and legacy of Boston’s notorious James Michael Curley is interrogated, alongside the traditions of history-telling, utility of the past, and commodification of memory. Just as James Michael Curley challenged and redefined the dominant politics of early 20th century Boston; just as Curley’s legacy has been simplified and sanitized; just as history in general blunts and sculpts facts to meet an end; Curley: A Historiophoty by Billy Palumbo challenges narrativization, chronology, linearity, and objectivity in history-telling not in a search for truth but a quest for questions.