Tuesday, February 26, 2013 at 7:30pm
Rob Tregenza's Talking to Strangers
155 Freeman Street, Brooklyn
Talking to Strangers
Rob Tregenza, digital projection, 1987, 90 mins
Introduced by Matt Porterfield
"Talking to Strangers—written, directed, and shot in Baltimore by Rob Tregenza in 1985—is a formally audacious, episodic narrative made up of nine scenes, each composed of a single eleven-minute take (a complete 400 foot roll of film). The camera dances with a noncommittal, increasingly unreliable, disintegrating protagonist as he tackles the world; this choreography also includes a series of strangers, who remain strangers to us and him despite being confronted with probing questions about life, religion, ethics, art, love.
What happens when you subject a non-professional cast to a rigid formal style that necessitates perfection? Knowingly, I believe, the filmmaker invites imperfection. Once you understand the structure and its implicit high stakes, the act of watching something ostensibly live creates a palpable tension—anything could go wrong. Despite strict rules, the potential for improvisation between the camera, its subject, and the audience is never ignored. Tregenza's use of physical space owes as much to the theater as traditions of cinematic realism, with hints of a formalist aesthetic akin to James Benning or Michael Snow. Moments when characters on the very edge of the frame duck to make way for the camera confirm the ideal that 'cinema is a game that anyone can play,' as Godard put it, 'so why not?'" - MP
Followed by a conversation with Porterfield and Tregenza.
Rob Tregenza has written, directed and photographed three award-winning independent feature films, films that have been screened at the Cannes Film Festival in the “Certain Regard” category and the Berlin Film Festival in the Panorama section. Over the years, his films have also appeared at the festivals of Toronto, Sundance, Rotterdam, and Edinburgh.
A retrospective of his feature films was shown at the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C. in 1999, and in 1996 Jean-Luc Godard hand-selected Tregenza’s Talking to Strangers to screen again at the 1996 Toronto International Film Festival. Godard describes passages in Tregenza’s films as, “remarkable and at times astonishing, that is, softly imbued with the marvelous.” He further explains that in Tregenza’s cinematic world, “reality walks hand in hand with fiction.”
Tregenza has also had an award-winning career as a television commercial director and has worked as a Director of Photography for other independent filmmakers such as Bela Tarr and Alex Cox.
Matt Porterfield is the writer/director of Hamilton (2006), Putty Hill (2011), and I Used to Be Darker (2013), which recently premiered at Sundance. He lives in Baltimore, Maryland and teaches film theory, screenwriting, and production at Johns Hopkins University. In 2012, Matt was a featured artist in the Whitney Biennial, a Creative Capital grantee, and the recipient of a Wexner Center Artists Residency.
Tickets - $7, available at door.
Please note: seating is limited. First-come, first-served. Box office opens at 7pm.