5 Provocative Videos on EZTV Program

TIMES STAFF WRITER

"Through the Cracks," a provocative and venturesome 81-minute program of five outstanding videos assembled by Lisa Tripp, will screen tonight at 8 at EZTV as part of the "L.A. Freewaves 1992" video festival. They were chosen from the 225 tapes submitted to the festival's Open Call section.

Eric Saks draws upon an incident in his childhood as the key inspiration for his "Gun Talk (Part 1)," a thought-provoking, highly effective plea for gun control expressed via interviews during which the subjects wear masks (one is of Richard Nixon), computer animation, speech distortion and, most important, paper cutout puppets. Michael Masucci and Kim McKillip's striking and original "Deposition" combines surreal imagery and haunting narrative to evoke the experience of post-abduction trauma--and, daringly, relate it to the UFO phenomenon.

Jean Rasenberger's deeply impressive, highly complex "Little Excesses" probes the many aspects of diary-keeping, including the relationship between the diarist and the reader; amazingly, Rasenberger comes up with imaginative ways to visualize--and even to dramatize--this solitary literary activity with its many philosophical and psychological implications. Meena Nanji's beautifully sensual "Voices of the Morning" celebrates the beauty and resilience of traditionally oppressed Muslim women, whose attempts at self-liberation inevitably seem betrayals of culture and, for them, even worse, accusations of being "pro-Western." The program concludes with a real heart-tugger, Kalynn Huffman's irresistible "Among the Magic Mountains," at once a paean to her beloved grandfather, a New Mexico historian and pioneer, whose home movies spanned five decades, and a lament for her family having kept secret one of its member's true condition so long--and with such unquestionably negative consequences.

Information: (310) 657-1532.

Ford and Fisher: Filmforum, the experimental showcase at LACE, launches its fall season Saturday by joining with the Gene Autry Western Heritage Museum in presenting at the museum's Wells Fargo Theater what has got to be the year's most offbeat double feature. John Ford's 1946 Western "My Darling Clementine" is paired with Holly Fisher's "Bullets for Breakfast," which among its rich flow of images draws repeatedly upon bits and pieces of the Ford classic.

No doubt about it, "My Darling Clementine" is a great film, an eloquent contemplation of a dying man, a reflective, sophisticated Bostonian, Doc Holliday (Victor Mature, one of the most under-praised actors in the history of Hollywood). The film also is a celebration of friendship between Doc and Henry Fonda's square-shooting Wyatt Earp, who in turn is on a quest for the killers of his brother James. The entire film's elegiac sense of inevitability is heightened by images of tremendous depth--the enormous length of a saloon bar and its even longer boardwalk outside and, of course, limitless desert vistas.

The subtle simplicity and complete accessibility of "My Darling Clementine" make "Bullets for Breakfast" seem deliberately obscure and self-indulgent, an unfair effect. On its own surreal, highly experimental terms, "Bullets for Breakfast" is a ravishingly beautiful (though fiercely demanding, even wearying) consideration of gender representations on the screen, in literature and in art via a complex juxtaposition of words and images. Fisher draws upon the reminiscences of veteran Western pulp writer Ryerson Johnson, the works of feminist poet Nancy Nielson, scenes of women workers smoking herring in Maine, postcards of old master paintings and reprocessed clips from "My Darling Clementine." Ironically, in context of the entire Ford film these clips are arguably not actually sexist.

"My Darling Clementine" screens at 5 p.m. and will be followed by a champagne reception at 6:30; Fisher will present her film at 7:30. Reservations: (213) 667-2000; information: (213) 663-9568.

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