movie poster

Rating: 6 stars


short film experimental avant garde

Seen 1 time

Seen on: 03/13/2019

View on: TMDb

Arcana (2010)

Directed by Henry Hills


Most recently watched by sleestakk


A globally composed, musically arranged montage-round: so Henry Hills’s arcana appears to be, a fulminant 30-minute cut-up epic that takes footage – both found and shot by the filmmaker – and crosses it in an almost arithmetic manner with a pre-arranged soundtrack. The basis is a written film treatment of the musician John Zorn, in which 254 scenes, bundled into 15 sequences, are captured in short, sometimes cryptic descriptions. Hills, very much in the style of a Harry Smith or Bruce Conner, has collected takes of radically differing origin for each of the 254 script directions and funneled them into a complexly ramified stream of associations. The sequence of scenes is underscored, or rather, interlocked, with pieces from the John Zorn composition The Bribe (1986), a musical tribute to crime fiction writer Mickey Spillane.

Length 30 minutes


Viewing Notes

This is another short film from John Zorn’s 15 sequences project. Perhaps my least favorite of the 4 films I’ve seen tackling this assignment (specific images/objects bundled into 15 separate chapters). In this everything feels so random and unrelated whereas the other films have a distinct theme or feel. WELL THEN THERE NOW is a good example of this approach being done more thematically (actually rewatching now in the background).

If I can find more of Hills’ work I will give it a shot.


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