The Hands


Dir. Amy Halpern, 16mm B/W silent 00:15:30

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In the politically charged atmosphere of the early 70s, Mikis Theodorakis conducted a concert of his music in Philadelphia. His music was banned in Greece, his own country, at that time by the US-funded junta. Visiting the US on a limited visa, he was restricted to musical appearances only -- no public speaking permitted. His hands, eloquent even when their gestures are deprived (by silent filming) of the music they are making, speak. Several in-camera phenomena resulted from the highly-charged nature of the shoot. Flashes of lightning appear, in directional continuity with Theodorakis' movements. These are the product of static electricity, which caused flashes of light inside the camera to make additional exposures on the film while it was being exposed through the lens. The apparent double exposures are the result of the speed of the gestures interacting with the camera shutter speed, and seem to multiply the hands' locations. A shift from Plus X to Double X and finally to Tri X film stock causes the image to become progressively grainier, and the hands more glowing and halated.
[Source: Filmmaker's Co-op Catalogue]