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Joe Gibbons 1977-78
USA | Format: Super 8 blown up to 16mm | color | silent | 31.30 minutes

“Too controversial to describe in detail, this film reveals the underlying voyeuristic nature of the cinema-phile.”—J.G.

“Spying is an exercise in applied voyeurism—a hilariously perverse Man with a Movie Camera—in which the filmmaker secretly observes his neighbors (and their pets) sunbathing, gardening, or gazing out of the window."—J. Hoberman, The Village Voice

Spying is equal parts diary film, structural film and conceptual film. The filmmaker “spies” on neighbors, passersby and day workers—whomever is visible from the vantage point of his camera as he gazes across the San Francisco cityscape. The film is a subjective portrait of the neighborhood: the routines of the inhabitants, their unconscious gestures of domesticity, an intimate look into the private moments of strangers as they are caught unawares by the voyeurism of Joe’s camera. It’s an aggressive film in it’s Rear Window quality but also a film that exposes the pathos of a loner as he gazes onto the lives of others who are active, have relationships, lovers, pets and manage to accomplish the small tasks of daily life. Spying is the ultimate home movie.—Peggy Ahwesh

“For Joe Gibbons, his Super-8 camera is essential for his ‘research’—the gathering and recording of observations of himself and others, with and without consent. In his hands, the camera is not a neutral device—he is too aware of the relationship between camera and subject, and concurrently between the completed film and audience; rather it is a means of actively exploring the unknown, the forbidden. It seems to trigger both confessionals and confidences, and play with our desire to see and know; it is both analyst and analysand. Crossing and blurring the borders between fact and fiction, public and private moments, responsible and impulsive actions, Joe Gibbons’s research
continues.”—Kathy Geritz

Super 8 blown up to 16mm by BB Optics

A National Film Preservation Foundation funded project of Bard College

Screening as part of the program Peggy Ahwesh and Joe Gibbons

Venue: Howard Gilman Theater

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