Oct 21, 2016 at 3:30 pm
Machine Gun or Typewriter?
Presented by director Travis Wilkerson
This presentation is made possible in part with public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts’ Electronic Media and Film Presentation Funds grant program, administered by The ARTS Council of the Southern Finger Lakes.
Winner top prize at DockuFest Travis Wilkerson’s Machine Gun or Typewriter? is “a love story, told as if retracing footsteps, the city mapped on psychogeographic lines.” The film has been screened in various festivals such as Locarno, Mar de Plata, Jihlava, RIDM, Fronteira, Underdox, TransCinema, FicValdvidia, Filmmaker, Revelation, Essential Independents.
“Machine Gun or Typewriter? is at once a landscape essay film, a fractious collage piece and an abstract confessional, restlessly serving the film noir narrative trope of a missing woman. Wilkerson plays the radio man, seen only behind a pop screen and a Sennheiser mic, who tells stories about falling in and out of love with his partner, another would-be political reactionary. Each anecdote is tethered to a place, both physically — mapped out with pins and string on the man’s wall — and figuratively: the man’s fury at the injustices perpetrated at these landmarks wrests attention away from the woman who has gone missing. There’s a perverse solace he finds in re-visiting narratives of systemic racism, class divide and police brutality.” Conor Bateman, 4:3
“Confidently straddling forms as diverse as the essay film, agitprop, and noir, and themes as broadly different as Los Angeles, anarchism, and unrequited love, Wilkerson’s film is a wry, controlled, and witty engagement with how the historical and social both inform one man’s political maturation.” Michael Pattison, Slant Magazine
Machine Gun or Typewriter?
71 min., 2015
A chance meeting in Havana with legendary Cuban film propagandist Santiago Alvarez changed the course of Travis Wilkerson’s life. He now makes films in the tradition of the “third cinema,” wedding politics to form in an indivisible manner. His films have screened at scores of venues and festivals worldwide, including Sundance, Toronto, Locarno, Rotterdam, Vienna, Yamagata, the FID Marseille and the Musée du Louvre. His best-known work is an agit-prop essay on the lynching of Wobbly Frank Little called “An Injury to One,” named one of the best avant-garde films of the decade by Film Comment. His other films include “Accelerated Underdevelopment” (on the filmmaker Santiago Alvarez), the narrative feature “Who Killed Cock Robin?” and the National Archive series. In 2007, he presented the first ever performance art at the Sundance Film Festival with Proving Ground, a live multi-media rumination on the history of bombing described as “one of the most daring experiments in the history of Sundance.” His documentary “Distinguished Flying Cross,” was honored with prestigious jury prizes both at Cinema du reel and Yamagata. He also contributed short segments to two omnibus projects: “Far From Afghanistan,” and Orbit (films). His writings on film have appeared in Cineaste, Kino!, and Senses of Cinema. He has taught filmmaking at the University of Colorado and Film Directing at CalArts. Presently, he is the inaugural Visiting Fellow of Media Praxis in the Pomona College Media Guild. He is also the founding Editor of Now: A Journal of Urgent Praxis.