Synopses of films by Joel Singer and James Broughton (1977)

About our collaboration: Joel was first a student of mine, then my teaching assistant, then my partner in filmmaking. The results are an interpenetrating union of image-making and poetry. All three of these films began as different portraits of me: how I look pulling myself together, how and where we live and work, how I look at my own body. In each case I composed an accompanying poem for the soundtrack.
- James Broughton
'Two images of the poet's head approach each other across the screen, ghostly, flickering tentatively, undeniably toward each other, attracting and repelling at once, ions charged, by the same erotic force, with jealousy, suspicion, and longing love; converging but still unsettled until they finally coalesce into bright, astral silver. The subtle motions of the image are, by themselves, a full biography.’
- Robert Lipman WINDOWMOBILE
'The film is shot both through and at a window, superimposing and conjoining, thereby elaborating events on both sides of the glass. Broughton's accompanying poem sings the same song of the images, sounding from an Eden of the golden passing of days:
They were seeing the light every day then
They were looking and they were seeing
They were living there in the light at that time'
- Robert Lipman
'This is my body which speaks for itself This is my body which speaks for all men This is my body which sings of itself This is the song of the Godbody
- from the soundtrack
'James Broughton's TESTAMENT is one of the most remarkable films ever produced within the American independent cinema. It is the most moving and most sublimely detached of the recent trend of filmic autobiographies—by Jerome Kill, Jonas Mekas, and Stan Brakhage, to name only the masters, and Broughton's peers.'
- P.Adams Sitney
An homage to Lao-Tzu, this is a rollicking joyful poem that celebrates the movement of the waterways of world, set to music by Corelli and read by the poet. The image is a continuous flow of light on water.
- James Broughton
An exploration of the human body as an intimate geography, an erogenous ceremony of touch, a mysterious healing ritual. Made with Robert Gaylor under auspices of the Pittsburgh Filmmakers Inc. Dedicated to Marie Menken and Willard Maas.
On the films of Joel Singer
"In water and air and light, in tree and shadow, Singer's camera eye, as if licked by a -Serpent's tongue, reads and understands the language of light, discovering new motions and gleams that our eyes could never witness. These films are not merely displays of technical ease but are the performance of an elaborate mating dance between the instrument of the camera and the varied tides of nature. The animating powers of the camera are unloosened upon the dead eyes. In all of his films an animating, enlightening spirit transmutes the eye's dross into a crystal elixir. In the camera's dark retort, from the black cave and womb behind the shutter, life is relighted.''
- Robert
'THE GOLDEN POSITIONS is a rich, warm, clear statement of humanism. There is no angst, no fragmentation, no overt experimentation.
It stands apart from most of the films of the past two decades by its feeling of certainty, positiveness, and completeness. And most importantly, THE GOLDEN POSITIONS gives us a deep and restful pleasure in the viewing.'
- Sheldon Renan
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