Conner bases his film on government footage of the first underwater A-bomb test, July 25, 1946, at Bikini Atoll in the Pacific. Recorded at speeds ranging from normal to super slow motion, the same explosion is seen 27 different times – from the air, from boats and land-based cameras; distant and close-up. The opening segment emphasizes the awesome grandeur of the explosion – the destructiveness, as well as the dramatic spectacle and beauty. As the repetition builds, however, the explosion is gradually removed from the realm of historic phenomena, assuming the dimensions of a universal, cosmic force. And in the film’s second section this force is brought into a kind of cosmic harmony, part of the lyrically indifferent ebb and flow of life that one sees in a lingering, elegaic view of the ocean. —http://www.cinema.ucla.edu
Bruce Conner was born in McPherson, Kansas, in 1933 and studied art at Wichita University, the University of Nebraska, the Brooklyn Art School, and the University of Colorado. Moving to San Francisco in 1957, Conner became involved with the Beatniks. He continues to live and work in San Francisco.
Conner first made a name for himself in the 1950s with assemblages/sculptures of found objects. In the late 1950s, he began making short movies that proved highly influential and established him as one of the seminal figures in the history of independent, avant-garde filmmaking. Conner’s first film, A Movie (1958), a visual collage created from bits of B-movies, newsreels, and other footage, has been listed on the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress. Connor was also responsible for Crossroads (1976), produced with funds from the National Endowment for the Arts, which turned the destructive and sinister atom-bomb test in Bikini Atoll into elegiac visual… read more