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FINNEGAN'S CHIN - TEMPORAL ECONOMY

UK, 1981 (MIFF 1982, The Avant-Garde)

Director: Malcolm Le Grice

Malcolm Le Grice is one of the leading British avant-garde filmmakers. He has been making films since the early 1970s. The program notes presented here are extracted from a review in the Monthly Film Bulletin (December 1981). Copies of the full review will be available at the screening of the film.

"Summarised, Finnegan's Chin has the most parsimonious of narratives. Le Grice's single 'performer' is seen to enact (then re-enact and re-enact, as we indeed tend to do in daily life) a limited set of simple actions. He awakens, turns off the alarm; he shaves (the eponymous chin); he makes himself breakfast — a fried egg, a piece of toast; and in a final action he passes through the hallway, donning hat and umbrella on the way. Seldom, if ever, though, are matters that chronologically simple, for the film is devoted largely to a virtuoso re-presentation of the actions in almost fugal variation of order, the events themselves re-enacted in different ways, with tricks of time and occasional excursions into the absurd and fantastic. Each action is fragmented through tight framing and elliptical editing, so that temporal sequence and spatial placing and sense are completely shattered, re-made and broken again through elaborate permutation.

"The film is thus 'about' the cinematic perception and transformation of time and space, about order, logic, cause and effect. The visual complexity is counterpointed by an equivalent mosaic of mainly disjunctive, unsynchronised sounds."

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