BLACK OIL BLACK DOGS. PART I. (2001).

Super 8mm. 12 minutes. B&W. Silent.

“The film's title card is preceded by the statement: “For years I have recurring dreams of places that aren't there.” Both titles are set in a white sans-serif (likely Akidenz Grotesque) against a black background.

The film establishes with an extreme long shot of a figure picking carefully across a scrubby floodplain. The shot holds static as we watch the figure shrink down to a black dot. On close inspection, beyond the foreground of creeks and marshes, small town rooftops blur into grey film-grain skies.

The camera pulls focus on an horizon of silos and spires, revealing a landscape dominated by the artefacts of a dying petrochemical industry. The pace of the film increases, interspersing short slow motion close-ups of tall reedy grasses billowing in the wind. (These somewhat reminiscent of the films of Kaneto Shindo, 1912—2012).

We enter the outskirts of the town where buildings, roads, trees, are painted all over in ash, battleship, charcoal, gainsboro, gunmetal and slate, with an artistic flair of embers at the edges.

The film breaks to speedy cuts of bubbling brook water, crackling refinery flames, Subaru tires spinning in place emitting burnout smoke.

An opening portrait Of a flat land for flat people in flat houses.”

— raszy.

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