Still Film. 2023. USA. Written and directed by James N. Kienitz Wilkins. World premiere. 70 min.
In Still Film, his imaginative, incisive ode to movie culture and its beguiling hold on our imagination, Brooklyn-based artist-filmmaker James N. Kienitz Wilkins takes four decades of moving-image circulation to task. The film’s narration, modeled on an actual legal deposition, accompanies a procession of 35mm publicity stills culled by Wilkins from studio press kits. As the film runs through its carousel of Hollywood imagery of yesteryear, the courtroom characters—all performed by Wilkins himself, in his characteristically gravelly, rapid-fire voice—address the shapeshifting nature and mythologizing power of the moviegoing experience. Swirling around unverified facts and conspiracy theories while touching on the technological obsolescence and arcane obsessions that fuel true cinephila today, Wilkins’s playful, subjective journey interrogates the subject of truth itself.