Modern Mondays: An Evening with 13BC. 82 min.
Some four years ago, curator Vic Brooks, artist Lucy Raven, and writer Evan Calder Williams banded together to form the New York–based collective 13BC, dedicating themselves to the creation and study of moving images in theater and gallery settings and to their shared interest in the hidden histories and political uses of landscape, technology, and archives. This joint presentation of Modern Mondays and Doc Fortnight 2020 features two of their most recent works: the US premiere of Straight Flush (2019, 64 min.) and its companion piece Corpse Cleaner (2016/19, 18 min.). In Straight Flush, three actors table-read the unlikely correspondence between Claude Eatherly, the Air Force pilot who gave the “all clear” to bomb Hiroshima and whose failed robbery attempts landed him in prisons and psychiatric hospitals after the war; and Günther Anders, the German anti-nuclear activist who admonished Eatherly not to authorize Bob Hope Productions to make a biopic of his life and crimes. Filmed in the barracks of the decommissioned Wendover Air Force Base, the split-screen Straight Flush sends us down a tantalizing rabbit hole of historical what-ifs and might-have-beens. In Corpse Cleaner, a single tracking shot through a movie prop house invites consideration of Anders’s wartime job as a janitor at the Hollywood Custom Palace where, as an enemy alien, he became “history’s corpse cleaner” by dusting off “the entire costume past of humanity.”