Take the 5:10 to Dreamland, takes found footage of a mythic American past, of white picket fences, whistling trains in the distance, small towns and gently undercuts their intended meanings. The sad waltz becomes less one for a past that is lost than for the illusions contained in the memories, the images themselves. More subdued, elegaic than Conner’s other, more savage works, the two films are characterized in tone by the sepia black and white, slow fade, and elegant music, rather than the quick cuts and harsher sounds. Though the images are charged with memories, in Valse Triste , and some deeper alchemical process in Dreamland , they are also brief, elliptical, just giving enough time to glimpse behind the surface of their worlds. That remoteness seems very much to the point of both works which have the concentration, mystery and suggestiveness of dreams. —http://www.archive.org/stream/sanfranciscocine87sanfrich/sanfranciscocine87sanfrich_djvu.txt
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
I asw this film (Take the 5:10 to Dreamland) in an undergrad History of Experimental Film class at University of Missouri. My professor (Edward Small) knew Conner. The hypnotic quality of this film has stuck with me ever since. The archival images somehow transcended Nostalgia to create a sort of :Nowhere but Everywhere" visual landscape. I hope to see this film again one day.