Harriet

Videofreex

1973 | 00:13:33 | United States | English | B&W | Mono | 4:3 | 1/2" open reel video

Collection: Videofreex Archive, Single Titles

Tags: Family, Feminism, Film or Videomaking, TV production

This tape, Harriet, created by Videofreex member Nancy Cain, unfolds much like a short play or literary character study. With very little directed dialogue, we gain intimate entry into a day in the life of Harriet—a long-time resident of Lanesville and mother of five—over the course of one day. No stranger to the Videofreex, Harriet was a frequent guest on the collective’s television production of Lanesville Television, as both an on-screen visitor and routine hotline caller. 

From morning until night, Harriet does household work, prepares meals, and wrangles her many children. In one particularly intriguing scene, the news broadcast on the television provides historical and cultural specificity, reporting on the recent increase in food cost in 1972. Throughout this piece, Cain’s camera work is inventive and poetic; she captures a range of shots that articulate an emotional landscape, giving the viewer a sense of Harriett’s feelings of frustration that fuel her ultimate decision to leave. The video ends on a note of fictional flair and feminist reclamation, also seemingly paying homage to the genre of Hollywood Westerns or adventure films in which the main character drives off into the sunset. Thus, the video signals that Harriet’s story—and her journey—is not only unfinished, but also perhaps just beginning.

—Faye Gleisser

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Stream Single Title

Title Awards Image Major Exhibitions/Festivals Description
Sea in the Blood

Equal First Prize for Best Male Short, Inside Out, Toronto Lesbian and Gay Film Festival

Sea in the Blood

OutFest (LA, CA.), 2001

Rotterdam International Film Festival (The Netherlands), 2001

 

Athens Int'l Film/Video Festival (OH), 2001

 

 

Sea In The Blood is a personal documentary about living with illness, tracing the relationship of the artist to thalassemia in his sister Nan, and AIDS in his partner Tim. At the core of the piece are two trips. The first is in 1962, when Richard went from Trinidad to England with Nan to see a famous hematologist interested in her unusual case. The second is in 1977 when Richard and Tim made the counterculture pilgrimage from Europe to Asia. The relationship with Tim blossomed, but Nan died before their return. The narrative of love and loss is set against a background of colonialism in the Caribbean and the reverberations of migration and political change.

"Sea in the Blood was to be a meditation on race, sexuality and disease, but after working with the material for three years, it was the emotional story that came through. It's hard to work with such personal material, but in the end the work takes on a life of its own. 'Richard' is a character. Because of the subject matter — disease and death — I wanted to avoid sentimentality. I'd like the audience to think as well as feel."

— Richard Fung