“I am overwhelmed by simplicity”
By. Georgiana Bozîntan
JUNE 18, 2021
Echinox is a Romanian Cultural Magazine published by the students from “Babeş-Bolyai” University. It has been published since December 1968.
A Month of Single Frames is a short film by Lynne Sachs, released in 2019. The filming belongs to the director Barbara Hammer, who made it in 1998, during an artistic residency in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, when she lived for a month in a shack in the Duneshacks, without electricity and running water. The short film is a collage of the shots filmed there.
In voice-over , Barbara Hammer reads from the diary she wrote during her residency, describing how she feels, what she sees, recounts dreams or explains the process and filming techniques she uses, for example, to capture the light of sunrise, “This forever wonder of sunshine”, or to superimpose colored lights over the filmed landscapes.
In her speech there are also phrases that remain in your head like a poem: “I am overwhelmed by simplicity. There is so much to see ”. Nothing happens in the movie. Barbara Hammer just shows us what she sees in her time spent alone: a dragonfly, shadows, landscapes, blades of grass in the wind, clouds and planes crossing the sky, the sea, dunes, raindrops, lichens, insects, tree trunks, leaves, flowers , plastic toys.
Text also appears on the screen, as a dialogue between Lynne Sachs and Barbara Hammer, through which the intimacy between the two occupies the space of the film: “You are here. I am here with you ”,“ You are alone. I am here with you in this film. ”
Experimenting with filming techniques, the short film then increasingly turns into a meditation on the artistic view of nature, mediated by the camera and which Barbara Hammer questions, asking “Why is it I can’t see nature whole?” and pure, without artifice? ”
The film finally flows towards a discussion about time, about the process of aging and death, “the sadness of departure, the inevitable ending breath, […] the complete and thorough blankness”. As explained at the end of the short film, “in 2018, Barbara began her own process of dying by revisiting her personal archive”, and the film made by her friend is part of this process.
A Month of Single Frames is a short film about many simple and emotional things, but especially about how we perceive, through different artistic or emotional filters, the places where we live and how they are always changing.