…living in the city

William Chayes's "...living in the city." This experimental Super-8 film is a meditation on the speed of life in the city. The film uses time lapse motion editing techniques.

0:00Copy video clip URL Open to a ‘count-up.’ Upside down numbers increase from 3 to 9 to start the film. At 4 an ominous clown face stares into the camera, mouth wide open. Film production words flash across the screen: “Aspect,” “Type of,” “Head,” “Ratio,” “Subject,” for example.

0:15Copy video clip URL Narrator over white and then black video: “Can I have your attention, please? The title of this film is the last four words of this opening statement, which has to do with the fact that for many years I have lived a slow-paced life in the country side, taking long walks and waiting for growing things and changing by the season, and recently I moved into town where things seem to move along in an ever-increasing pace, and I see that in order to get along I must increase my personal speed to at least equal that of others who are here competing with each other to make it possible to make a living in the city.”

0:39Copy video clip URL Open to Chayes on a couch. He says: “Life is just a bowl of cherries,” except that with editing techniques it appears like his head and mouth move so rapidly that they blur while the apartment interior remains still. This effect is replicated throughout the film. He then says: “Don’t take it serious[ly]. Too mysterious.” He brings his hands up near his face, moves them rapidly into a blur while his face remains still.

0:53Copy video clip URL Cut to the interior an apartment. Chayes moves about in rapid (blurred) fashion. The editing is such that while one part of his body remains still another part, like his arm, moves rapidly. He experiments using this effect with different parts of his body in unison. Audio is a mixture of percussion and whistling-like sounds.

1:19Copy video clip URL As he moves back and forth through a door frame he says: “Money going out prime cost payment earnest…” The tongue twister continues and increases in speed. It becomes difficult to make out the individual words in the sentence.

1:31Copy video clip URL Chayes goose steps in front of a curtain, but the editing technique makes it seem like he floats across the floor. He twirls. A bag of dog chow appears in front of the curtain.

1:47Copy video clip URL A director’s chair and television then appear in front of the curtain. A news anchor can be heard, except, again, individual words are difficult to discern. Chayes sits in front of the television and motions with different parts of his body. A dog walks up to him and sits.

2:27Copy video clip URL Chayes turns off the television and replaces it with another chair. Two chairs face each other and a light bulb is placed between them. He takes turns sitting at each chair. The chairs disappear and he stands in front of the curtain. A pair of shoes and a bag of dog chow are at either side of him. He bends his torso back and forth to obscure the appearance of his body.

2:54Copy video clip URL Back on the couch. His face and hands alternate being in motion: “You live. You love. You worry. So much you can’t take it with when you go.”

3:07Copy video clip URL In front of the curtain. The words are difficult to hear. He bends his torso back and forth and moves closer to the camera and then back directly in front of the curtain. He says another tongue twister while his body jumps closer to the camera. He pretends to eat the camera. Back in front of the curtain, a woman, Barbara Garfien, appears and moves her arms so that they look like wings.

3:54Copy video clip URL Garfien is seated and keeps one arm in motion while her head remains still. She then moves her head up and down while the rest of her body remains still. A bell rings. When the bell rings again Chayes’s head replaces Garfien’s. Then vice versa.

4:46Copy video clip URL Chayes back in front of the curtain. A pair of shoes and a bag of dog chow are beside him. He moves a curtain in front of him to create the effect of having wings. Garfien replaces him in front of the curtain. Similar effect. The bell rings and Garfien’s body is replaced by her head moving back and forth.

5:05Copy video clip URL Chayes narrates as Garfien moves her head back and forth: “Can’t you just take it easier even though the world moves around you in such a rapid  and confusing manner that it will get to you unless you find a way to cope with it better and slow down?” She stands upright and still. Fade to black.

5:20Copy video clip URL Cut to Garfien’s profile. She is still. Fade to black.

5:33Copy video clip URL Cut to Garfien’s face. She is wearing heavy white makeup. A diamond has been painted over her left eye. The right side of her face is silhouetted. She is still and then begins slowly bobbing hear head from side to side.

5:46Copy video clip URL Cut to Chayes on the couch: “Keep repeating the memories [?]….” He continues, but the words are difficult to discern. Fade to black.

6:06Copy video clip URL Chayes: “A film by Bill Chayes. With Jack [the dog] and Barbara Garfien. The end.” He sits in the director’s chair in front of the curtain. The dog is to his right. Garfien and him demonstrate more time lapse motion. The final shot is of an empty wooden chair and a pair of shoes in front of the curtain.

6:47Copy video clip URL End of tape.

 

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