Though we imagine ourselves on the cutting edge of the future, Local Color shows what a creaky old house we live in, haunted by melodramatic ghosts, reverberating with imaginative echoes. There is (in Rappaport’s own description) enough plot to choke a horse, but the real subject is how unimportant actions and events are. Everything that matters happens inside. Local Color has the ironclad logic not of life, but a dream. Everything means something. Everyone is connected to everyone else. Fantasies migrate from one person to another. Characters think each others’ thoughts. They think with other people’s brains, feel with each others’ hearts. For Rappaport, we are all tuning forks vibrating to dog-frequencies we can’t even hear. The song plays us; we dance to its rhythm even when we think we’re conducting the orchestra. At the very moment we imagine ourselves to be most unique and original, we’re revealed to be whistling an old familiar tune. —people.bu.edu/rcarney
Mark Rappaport is an American independent/underground film director who has been working sporadically since the early 1970s. A lifelong New Yorker, born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, he graduated from Brooklyn College in 1964. His films are often marked by high camp, melodrama, deadpan humor, ennui, and a rather cavalier attitude towards copyright law and intellectual property, often using music, archival footage, and excerpts from Hollywood films without seeking permission.
Central to Rappaport’s work is the relationship between the audience and media, particularly pop culture, which is his most recurring theme. An example of this is his first feature, Casual Relations, released in 1973. It is a bricolage of unrelated scenes, often announced by intertitles. One such title informs us that a character decided she would spend all day watching television. The scene that unfolds, approximately seven minutes in length, features just that: the character, in one continuous shot… read more