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by Mark Elijah Rosenberg
January 19th, 2008
Sunday, January 20, 6:30 PM
Monday, January 21, 6:30PM
Sundance New Frontier on Main
333 Main St. (Lower Level)
Animation with live music by Califone
FREE

paulina_hollers_365.jpgBrent Green is the closest thing I’ve got to a religion. His animations, performed with live scores, with Brent shrieking out the stories, scare the hell out of me, and fill me with hope. Brent’s performances play out like he’s a singing preacher who not only met god, they built a house together, and had some creative differences along the way. They worked their asses off, scavenging scraps of wood from Santa’s sleigh, rigging up wires and pulleys to illuminate the moon, debating the merits and availability of gravity. Some birds died, some firetrucks were misplaced, some birds were resuscitated (briefly), the bedroom was three feet lower than the living room, but in the end they came to an agreement: “Wondrous things happen every day, and to sleep through even one of them would cripple you for life.”

I put that last bit in quotes, but all of that wondrous imagery is directly from Brent’s films.

Personally, I know Brent has a complicated and fascinating relationship with religion and the supernatural, and I’m a flat out atheist, but I bring it up because Brent really does inspire me in a way that seems to me to represent the essence and power of religion: he points out how scary and terrible and horrifying life and death are, and then he reminds you to see the beauty in that. The beauty and passion in his work are mesmerizing and awe-inspiring. You just have to see it to believe.

(P.S. Dear Sundance, please continue and expand the New Frontier section of the festival. It’s great, and will only get better, under the brilliant curatorial guidance of Mike Plante and John Cooper. Next year, Brent should be playing the Eccles.)

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Rooftop Films is a New York based non-profit whose mission is to engage diverse communities by showing independent movies in outdoor locations, producing new films, coordinating youth media education, and renting equipment at low cost to artists.

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