Memories of Earth Sex and Sadness Murder and UFOs

Victoria’s Brian MacDonald has compiled his video output onto two DVDs — one comprising his short-video cycles Memories of Earth and Sex + Sadness, one with his recent 20-minute opus, Murder and UFOs. These shorts represent 31 flavours of guy-angst with ironic sprinkles. The narrative voice is rarely authoritative, whether it’s running backwards, on subtitles, intertitles or thought balloons; but the tics are so deeply felt that the shorts convey a confessional tone anyway. This is disorienting in an interesting way. It’s also such a trademark that eventually one wants to shake things up a little, particularly given the austere galleryinstallation aesthetic. But that aesthetic eventually pays off in richness of imagery and grain: videos like You Don’t Know What Love Is with its contrasty slo-mo bathwater, or the treated fireworks over the heartbreaking I Can’t Believe You Actually Died, were just made to be hung on a wall and stared at. In short, when it works it really works, and Murder and UFOs takes it to the next level. Absolutely gorgeous to look at and listen to, it uses collaged stock footage, subtitles and mood music to present a Marilyn Monroe-JFKRFK love triangle, dragging them into the mother of all conspiracy plots. The stodgy manliness of the Kennedy camera pose, juxtaposed with the effervescent sobbing of the eternally wronged Marilyn, provides quite a channel for those human-relationship emotions MacDonald likes to play with so much. Kitsch plus emotion is what camp was supposed to be all about, and this video nails it. (Jonathan Culp)

Dir Brian MacDonald, 308-576 Simcoe St., Victoria B.C. V8V 1L8, brianmacdonald@shaw.ca

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