Eternal Frame (1976)

Genres - Film, TV & Radio, History, Theater  |   Sub-Genres - Politics & Government, Social Issues  |   Run Time - 23 min.  |  
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Synopsis by Brian Whitener

This outstanding and unconsciously beautiful video blends fact and fiction, film and reality, in a re-creation of the John F. Kennedy assassination. Shot on-location in Dallas by the Ant Farm collective, Eternal Frame mixes footage of the re-creation with "speeches" from the Kennedy actor as well as actors' commentary on the process of making the video. Most of the speeches deal with the filmic nature of Kennedy's presidency, the first television president, "I am, in reality, only another image." The real worth of the video is accidental, however. While filming the actual assassination scene, a group of tourists gather by the side of the road and watch the proceedings. What is exceptional is the strength, emotional range, and lucidity of their reactions to a reenactment, moreover one they have simply chanced upon. One women cries, another comments, "I'm glad we were here. To see this. I feel bad but I feel good. A beautiful reenactment." The strange and very real effect it has upon people says more about television's effect on our perception of reality and the media's relationship to politics, than any avant garde meditation on it. Not that such things are bad, but this one, in addition, manages to capture the profound in the passing.



re-enactment, assassination