Hollis Frampton (US / 1970 / 16 mm / 60 mins )
Ambiguous, metaphorical and fascinating, this is a veritable masterpiece of structural filmmaking. Frampton’s original and complex work examines the ordering of things and language; starting with ABC. Beginning with a dark screen, a woman narrating from a children’s textbook teaching the letters of the alphabet. A long central section presents us with a silent substitution process; a recurring structure that perpetually moves through a 24-letter Latin alphabet constructed from filmed street signs and words. Gradually other images are substituted within this structure, themselves slowly developing as we arrive at them the next time around. It concludes with a man, woman and dog crossing a snowy field, incorporating a voice over using multiple narrators. The viewer is drawn into an obsessive and hypnotic guessing game with an editing strategy that creates a vast puzzle and intellectual maze for the audience. A labyrinthine construction is created, continually exposing new conjunctions and juxtapositions.