Re-animation: an Evening With Lewis Klahr

Lewis Klahr’s Daylight Moon (A Quartet) is the saddest, most melancholy film I’ve ever seen, and I would watch it repeatedly with pleasure, savoring its wistful beauty, complexity and deep ennui. It’s an honest, personal appraisal of our world run amok told through color, movement and texture. The film’s four sections are distinct yet interconnected, beginning with “Valise,” which opens with starry constellations and a telling image of two hands gripping a steering wheel that seems to control a journey through time and space. We hear about Bora Bora, the gods, and then baseball, all paradigms for interpreting a world that defies comprehension. In the middle two films, “Hard Green” and “Soft Ticket,” we’re compelled to look closely to discern detail in the softly distorted faces of baseball players and comic-book figures. Then it’s on to the masterful “Daylight Moon,” the quartet’s final film, wherein the full extent of sorrow and alienation settles around you quietly. “It’s a hard world for small, wandering things,” says the voice-over, and while the narrator’s actually describing two wayward children, it feels like he’s talking about us. Klahr’s elliptical, sedimented filmmaking process — flat, cut-out paper collages moved painstakingly by hand in front of a 16 mm camera — suggests snippets of stories that seem to drift through the air like dreams. Though Klahr’s films require patience and a willingness to make connections, they reward with rich insights and a sense that there is infinite room for interpretation in the dance of images and sounds. Also screening: Pharaoh’s Belt and Marietta’s Lied. (REDCAT at Disney Hall, W. Second & S. Hope sts., dwntwn.; Mon., Oct. 16, 8 p.m.; 213-237-2800)

—Holly Willis

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