In the short, experimental comedy MOVING PICTURE (Mor, 2016), an artist’s film escapes and he finds that he needs to hunt it down to recapture it. Falling asleep one night in his workspace, the artist wakes up to find his film is running away from him. He chases the film but finds the only way he can control the film is to destroy it.
Both Moving Picture and the artist’s creation take us back to an earlier day of film, for better and worse. With an analog projector, archaic pull-down screens, and the ubiquitous flicker, MOVING PICTURES appears to be a love letter to old 16mm and experimental film. The film that we’re watching mimics the elements that we see in the artist’s creation. Both the creation and the larger film embrace the sights and sounds of the old fashion projector—that ubiquitous clicking of an older projector that returns the viewer to the films of the past. This, in part, makes the artist’s creation destructible. Analog film, unlike digital, is a finite, singular object. While analog film is infinitely reproducible, it needs to be reproduced. Once digital film is online, it exists everywhere and nowhere. The artist’s analog piece—his only copy, it seems—has a finite lifespan.
His film, however, also seems slightly archaic. Because we don’t see the entire piece, it’s hard for us to draw meaning from his piece. However, the recurring line that we do hear, “Many of the most successful girls aren’t necessarily the prettiest,” calls to mind some kind of instructional modeling film or dating self-help piece. As such, it begs the question as to whether or not the work is trying to escape him because it’s a thematic object from the past, just as its aesthetics are.
We have to wonder if MOVING PICTURES is a larger commentary on authorial intent. Does the artist want to destroy his creation because he can’t control it? If so, should we really feel sympathy for him? Artwork, once it’s released out into the world, is always outside of the artist’s control. Regardless of much the artist tries to control is, his quest is essentially futile.