Jack Chambers’s 80-minute The Hart of London (1970) is a sprawling, ambitious film that combines newsreel footage of disasters, urban and nature imagery, and footage evoking the cycles of life and death.
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Negative images of the past (but not passed images -they’re here, defiantly present for scrutiny) - an attempt to exorcise a remorsefully negative past, to invoke a numerically negative time (a time written with minus, it's not here by now & won't return soon) that we number positively however distant from current experience's illusory point zero it may be (year 54, day 17 of the 3rd month)? Is it the crummy thought
This is the power of Film. The power of the moving image. This is what Film should be used for: To observe life; its harmony and dissonance… to observe death, and in turn, begin to make sense of it all and ourselves in some way. An invocation of deep and affecting feelings.
I was fortunate enough to be able to rent and watch a 16mm print of this amazing film a few years back. Projecting it onto the wall of my apartment with friends is a treasured moviegoing experience. The Hart of London is the ultimate intensely personal avant-garde Christian film.
1st impression - during that glorious beginning - was that this wasn't so much a film about time, or even dream, but memory. A sort of primordial ooze of local, place-based memory & the dialectic by which a town emerges out of it; this negotiation of terms between colonizer & (occasionally, unpredictably, defiant) colonized: Human & nature. An astonishing, at times disturbing, experiment in what he named 'generation'