4,5. Quick Billy is a postmodern parody, "avant la lettre", of the pioneer cowboys films, ie, a temporal confrontation of different registration processes at the same time and film. It is also, in the first three reels, a cinematic essay on the pictorial capabilities of cinema, a free association of images and sounds, without following a didactic rule: its immense fruition is as fluid as its construction.
If you include the curator-projectionist, there were five of us present in Calgary tonight for the 16mm projection of Bruce Baillie's QUICK BILLY (1970), and it was one of the most extraordinary encounters I have ever had w/ a work of art. Life, death, birth, rebirth. I tend to prize this particular genus of avant-garde cinema as a vehicle for sensorial ego-dissolution. QUICK BILLY, however, pulses w/ Ideas (!).
Yes, the first parts are the best, but I also love how it turns into something completely different in the end. And in the end, my favorite part is the loose structure and the combination of the different parts.
Immediately voided into a harmonic loom of delicate hues and drone, Baillie births us into a trancelike spiritual journey that transforms in accordance to four divided reels. As we fade alongside the end or death of each reel, we are simultaneously reborn at the start of another. Life and death, are interpreted by Baillie’s imagination, and while visual experience is entirely cognitive, somehow it is just as physical