Directed by Paul Sharits

Color Sound Frames

Directed by Paul Sharits
Screening on Film

    Directed by Paul Sharits.
    US, 1971, 16mm, color, 42 min.
    Print source: Film-maker's Cooperative

S:TREAM:S:S:ECTION:S:ECTION:S:S:ECTIONED signifies a fairly abrupt shift and departure from Sharits’ previous mandala films; this was his first work in many years that did not employ the flicker technique and used moving images. Paul Sharits’ epic and groundbreaking work is composed of three repeated, fourteen-minute sections of a river current. Each repetition consists of six dissolving layers of a river flowing in a myriad of directions, broken up by horizontal tape splices acting as dams. Deep and precisely executed emulsion scratches—created by custom tools Sharits made—eventually appear in continuous sets of threes throughout the film until the entire screen is nearly covered. The resulting effects represent, in the words of P. Adams Sitney, a “powerful and beautiful act of vandalism.” Sharits emphasizes the scratches to draw attention to the constant motion of the filmstrip running through the projector, while simultaneously exposing the viewer to the materiality and hidden depth within each frame. Sharits describes the film as “[a] conceptual lap dissolve from ‘water currents’ to ‘film strip current.’” Meanwhile, a dynamic soundtrack consisting of alternating and repeated phrases of an imaginary word heard by Sharits in his sleep are combined with a series of beeps that add to the complexity of the sound and image relations. 

  • Color Sound Frames

    Directed by Paul Sharits.
    US, 1974, 16mm, color, 22 min.
    Print source: Anthology Film Archives

Beginning in the early 1970s, Sharits turned his attention from the mandala flicker films of the 1960s to concentrate his energies on investigating the film frame and film strip. An economical filmmaker owing to a continual lack of funding, he was the great recycler, constantly using and reusing the same strips of film and frames by repurposing them into countless new films. In Color Sound Frames, Sharits rephotographs film strips from his film Analytical Studies III, varies the speeds of the strips and reverses the direction and motion, superimposes sections to produce unique color sequences, and, in the process, creates an exhilarating abstraction of movements. The visible sprocket holes in the frame create the accompanying soundtrack of synchronous sound and add the repetitious sound of sprocket holes in this thorough examination of the film frame. 

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Inescapable Anxiety
The Films of Paul Sharits

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