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SHOOT FOR THE CONTENTS

USA, 1991 (MIFF 1992, Documentaries)

Director: Trinh T. Minh-ha

Shoot For The Contents, whose title plays on the meanings of an ancient Chinese guess­ing game, is an excursion into the maze of alle­gorical naming and story-telling in China. Weaving the points of view of both insiders and outsiders engaged in differing realms of social and artistic activity, the film ponders questions of power and change, politics and culture, as refracted by the events in Tianen-man Square.

The multiple exposure of what Mao called the "verbal struggle" in its intricacies is here also presented as an inquiry into the creative process of filmmaking whose formal realiza­tions are but "one of the possible ten thousand facets of a reality." Graphically composed video images evoke the gestures of calligraphy in counterpoint with contemplative film footage of rural China and stylized interviews. Sound and voices punctuate the visual space layering two women's dialogue with folk songs; the sayings of Mao and Confucius; and the words of artists, philosophers and other cultural workers. Like traditional Chinese opera, the film unfolds through the interplay of "bold omissions and minute depictions" to render "the real in the illusory and the illusory in the real." • Trinh T. Minh-ha

see also: A Plnce Of Rage, Breathing Under Water

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