“I’m interested in expanding the idea of narrative: beginning, middle, and end makes no particular sense to me. I don’t see the world that way. I’m interested in the notion of cycle.”
- Holly Fisher
GME is pleased to announce the release of BULLETS FOR BREAKFAST, a DVD edition (published by Re:Voir) of selected moving image works by visual artist Holly Fisher. This DVD features her most widely-known film, BULLETS FOR BREAKFAST (1992), together with 4 of her short films (GLASS SHADOWS , FROM THE LADIES , THIS IS MONTAGE , and SOFTSHOE ). During the pre-digital era of filmmaking, perhaps there has been no greater practitioner of the use of the optical printer than Holly Fisher, resulting in arresting celluloid images developed on the 16mm film emulsion. In BULLETS FOR BREAKFAST she worked for four years in meticulous fashion to construct a collage of layered images (and text) and sounds, as well as fragmented storylines. She weaves together images and audio from John Ford’s MY DARLING CLEMENTINE, a western pulp writer, women working in a Maine fishery smokehouse, postcards of paintings of the female form by the great masters, and a feminist poet. Fisher thus creates a more open ended and formalist narrative that upends the story of the mythological western hero toward a feminist critique of women at work and in life. Quoting the filmmaker,
“At the end of his film, John Ford depicts Clementine standing rigid as a fencepost as she watches Fonda ride off though Monument Valley heading into his next adventure. A game I played in the making of Bullets was to see if I could transform this image of Clementine-as-fencepost into a flesh-and-blood woman, or woman as subject.”
SOFTSHOE is another optical printing masterwork, in which Fisher creates a collage of frames in motion. The filmmaker originally shot footage in Europe of people, buildings, and nature. In the optical printing process, she then fractured these narrative sequences by employing a staccato montage rhythm, which she constructed through freeze-frames, slow motion, the intrusion of the frame line, optical zooms, black frames, and revelation of the film strip. Some of the most visually arresting sequences involve the reproduction of specific imagery – blades of grass, a church, a horse and cart -- into smaller quadrants of successive motion. In this manner, Fisher also pays homage to Eadweard Muybridge, whose nineteenth century motion experiments are embedded in her film.
GLASS SHADOWS (filmed in Fisher’s studio in Cambridge) and FROM THE LADIES (filmed at a Holiday Inn in NYC) are self-reflexive works, in which the artist’s presence is revealed though the reflected surfaces of windows and mirrors. Both films deconstruct the filmmaking process, incorporating images of the camera, 16mm film strips, and the motion picture projector. These two works demonstrate Fisher’s proficiency with capturing both light and shadow, which are two of the essential characteristics of the cinematic enterprise, as well as externalizing Fisher’s creative process.
Finally, THIS IS MONTAGE represents Fisher’s homage to Sergei Eisenstein and underscores the filmmaker’s formative training beginning in the 1960s as an editor. (She later edited the Oscar nominated documentary feature WHO KILLED VINCENT CHIN? (1987). Throughout her career, Fisher has successively bridged the dividing line between documentary film and experimental narrative.
GME distributes this DVD Edition of BULLETS FOR BREAKFAST to the North American University market.