By Mónica Delgado
Unlike other experimental filmmakers that have shown a fascination for the eclipse as a metaphor of the auscultation of cinematographic support in in its materiality (a reality superimposed to another, like the position of the stars), in Polly One, Kevin Jerome Everson captures the intensity itself of this phenomena of the skies to take it to the possibility to become real spectators of an event of this nature that it’s barely intervened.
In Polly One, the eclipse as a visual phenomena is captured through two different kind of fixed shots, one almost dark that captures the movement of this encounter which allows the hiding of the typical image of the half-moon, and another one which registers from a different angle this juxtaposition, where there’s barely a resistance to the powerful light that envelops it all. But beyond this observation that isn’t afraid to the old prediction that looking at eclipses causes blindness, this small delivery by Emerson sounds more like an homage to these cinephile attractions for the sky, but here the shot as a space exposed to an intermission, the one of a celestial body that submits to another.
As the final credits of the film tells us, this is a short film dedicated to the filmmaker’s grandmother, and maybe this detail gives the sensation that we were just spectators of a feeling of sublimation for the absence of a loved one. However, the work of Jerome Everson, which has always been fused to a social compromise inside the African American community, here detaches itself of this component that has marked his cinema and allows itself to get carried away by the mere aspect of sensorial and cinematic effect. Because of that, these two minimal shots refer to a sensation of simple contemplation, of a simple meditation registered during a solar eclipse in August 2017, which also gives us connections to other looks of the observation of landscape cinema (like in James Benning’s work).
Thought and created as an installation, watching Polly One as an independent short film, without the requisite of the multi-screen and the possibility of the interaction with the spectator of a gallery of expanded art, allows us to welcome this small work in 16mm as a possibility of expansion of this American filmmaker’s interests, despite the sensation that we’re being witness of just a part of a larger work. However, we find an author fascinated to auscultate the materiality of celluloid from pure and simple contemplation.
Wavelenghts 1: Earth, Wind and Fire
Director: Kevin Jerome Everson
Cinematography: Kevin Jerome Everson
Producers: Kevin Jerome Everson y Madeleine Molyneaux