We Imitate; We Break Up


Dir. Ericka Beckman, 16mm (originally super 8) Color Sound 00:26:00

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“Mario was a construction; the girl tried to imitate it. But she knew there was more that she could do. Mario limited her. In my imagination I saw a competitive relationship that could only go so far. In making this film I combined the ‘real’ with the ‘constructed’, proving for myself that these two aesthetics could not fuse together; they had to remain apart working in tandem as a relationship, thus their meaning now included competition and cooperation.”

“Beckman began making films in the mid-1970’s using the then new technology of Super-8 sound film. Her first films were neither documentaries nor narratives, but rather idiosyncratic constructions that triumphed over the limitations of the narrow gauge format with their ingenious special effects. These remarkable early works have the vitality of primitive cartoons, and are similarly filled with comic violence and dreamlike condensation. As inventive as the filmmaker is, she is too obsessive for mere formalism. If Beckman’s narratives are often cryptic, her work is preoccupied by a recurring core of themes- competition, role-playing and what she calls ‘the coordination of the self in the physical world’. In virtually every one of her movies some young (usually female) individual learns, through trial and error, how to act in (or upon) the world. In the Super-8 WE IMITATE; WE BREAK UP a set of life-sized marionette legs teach the filmmaker/protagonist how to dance and play a version of soccer, and then chase her all over the lot when she runs away with the ‘loot’.”
J. Hoberman

The Village Voice nominated We Imitate; We Break Up ‘Best Film’ in 1979.
The Soho Weekly News named Ericka Beckman ‘Best Emerging Filmmaker’ in 1979.
[Source: Ericka Beckman website]