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EYE OPENERS: STILL DOTS: THE THIRD MAN, Frame by Frame

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by Press Play Staff
August 6, 2012 12:18 PM
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So, I love projects like this: since last December, at the film/video blog for Minneapolis's Walker Arts Center, Matt Levine and Jeremy Meckler have been analyzing isolated frames of Carol Reed's The Third Man (1949) in a series called Still Dots. They run two pieces a week, switching off responsibility for posts, and they plan to keep doing so until this December. They choose frames 62 seconds apart, using the image itself, with all of its ramifications, as a basis for observations. On Friday the 68th post went up, and Levine manages to make references to Freud, Aqua Teen Hunger Force, Masahiro Mori's "uncanny valley" theory (referring to the discomfort slightly-less-than-human robots cause in humans), Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man, and Dostoevsky within a relatively short space.

What's remarkable about projects like Still Dots, or Nicholas Rombes's similar Blue Velvet Project at Filmmaker Magazine (which inspired Levine and Meckler), is the amount of variety, texture, and inclusiveness possible when the focus of a piece of writing, or any other work, is reduced by somewhat arbitrary constraints. There are several cliches which might apply here: only in specifics can one achieve universals, necessity is the mother of invention, limitation from the outside can lead to greater expansiveness within... But the result, which is the important thing in this case, is golden, and we'll be reading it until the end of 2012.

Plus: The Third Man! What's not to like?

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