Report (Bruce Conner, 1967)

This 13 minutes short film using footage of the assassination of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy and other key moments of his life is a hard to find piece of great cinematic art.

Narrated by the radio broadcasts that were live during the event, director Bruce Conner’s superposition of images and audio demonstrates more than the most important event of television and mass media of its time. It is a post mortem of how television, news, continuous and repetitive passage of the same images has become like a hammer to the head of the viewers. With his mastery of montage of footage of the lasts moments of JFK, commercials, and other images Conner announces how mass media has become a terrible force feeding tendency that news reporters have created with constant retelling of the same news over and over again.

It also shows how television is a window on the world and how it places humans in the center of every event with repeats of images. For those who were old enough to remember November 22nd of 1963, the famous car with JFK and Jackie is clear as if it was just yesterday. One of the reasons is the fact that it was the most famous image of the early television broadcasts.

Being honest, I was not aware of artist Bruce Conner before being assigned to watch this movie for the 1001 Movie Club retracing every title listed in the 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die book. Even if Stan Brakhage and avant-garde films are far from being my cup of tea, I must admit having enjoyed Conner’s short film. Its message and its importance in contemporary Art is without a doubt linked directly with our reality. Hard to find but worth the look.

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