By Catherine Wagley
By Channing Sargent
By L.A. Weekly critics
By Amanda Lewis
By Catherine Wagley
By Carol Cheh
By Keegan Hamilton
By Bill Raden
Marnie Weber's latest film, The Eternal Heart, also asserts the capacity of love to transcend isolation — in this case (no surprise to those familiar with the L.A. visual artist's cycle of supernaturally themed Spirit Girls works) the ultimate isolation of death. Utilizing a wide palette of obsolete and idiosyncratic film techniques (including some beautiful abstract, hand-processed sequences) that translate her distinctly Southern California landscapes into dreamlike realms, Weber recounts the death and rebirth of a silent-movie actress, who escapes from a world of monochromatic patriarchal routine through a bout of multiple-personality disorder and an outpouring of richly chromatic archetypal material. Sort of like Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz — except this time there's no "There's no place like home."
Curiously enough, Misters Lynch, Zacharia, Ott and Thornton (Frederick Fulton Henry Thornton, fourth official member and only non-auteur in the S.F. company) appear in the credits alongside Weber's usual company of collaborators — a result of her artist-in-residency gig at this year's California State Summer School for the Arts filmmaking program for high school students, where Small Form folk make up most of the faculty.
Weber's anarchist-tinged production strategies have much in common with the multiple auteurs of Small Form. "Meeting Marnie this summer was really inspiring for me," says Ott, "and I'm taking her advice and approach for my next project: If you have an idea, start on it, don't wait, start and see where it goes. If you want to be in a band, just pick up an instrument and play, teach yourself. ... If you want to show your film and no one will screen it, have a screening yourself in a backyard, or on the side of a building."
The debut of The Eternal Heart takes this philosophy to the next level: With the help of Emi Fontana's West of Rome Public Art, Weber will premiere the half-hour gothic melodrama as part of Eternity Forever, a multimedia extravaganza at one of the film's locations, Altadena's historic Mountain View Cemetery and Mausoleum. There will be interactive cemetery tours led by monsters from the film, the Spirit Girls will perform a live score as what is billed as the band's final performance, and the mausoleum's gallery will host a vernissage for Weber's latest collages.
It seems like the indie film world is on the verge of welcoming the Small Form scene to its bosom (aka the Sundance Channel?), but if that doesn't happen, it's not that big a deal. With role models such as Marnie Weber routinely making jewel-like DIY collaborative masterpieces for whoever feels like showing up, it's abundantly clear that the chasm between the creation and reception of an artwork isn't bridged by climbing up a ladder. You have to knock the ladder over.
LiTTLEROCK (in English and Japanese with English subtitles) screens Mon., Nov. 8, at 7:15 p.m. at Mann's Chinese Theatre; free.
Marnie Weber: Eternity Forever, Mountain View Cemetery and Mausoleum, 2300 N. Marengo Ave., Altadena. Ticketed event Thurs., Nov. 11, 7–10 p.m.; exhibition free and open to the public Nov. 13-Dec. 20, Mon., Sat., Sun., 11:30 a.m.–3:30 p.m., and by appointment.