EUTERPE • 2m 57s
Except for the removal of one out-of-focus shot (which the filmmaker did not feel fit into the texture of the piece), Lawrence Jordan was never able to change the footage from the way it came out of the camera. The film was never intended as an ‘in-camera’ film but it turned out to be one. An illiterate tile-setter named Simon Rodia built a series of tile-covered towers in Watts, California, in the middle of a black ghetto. He claimed the towers were built to express his thanks to the country which had received him as immigrant. Jordan felt that they were a vision of a higher plane of existence. He moved the camera over surfaces of brilliantly patterned tile. Before he knew it, Jordan was dancing with the camera, one rift of shots calling forth the next and so on through the roll. There seemed no time to consider the nicety of the angles or the usual conventions of the montage. The camera was like a saxophone in his hands and his eye was blowing it instead of his lips. One may judge for themselves the results of this kind of cinema yet it was a way of making motion-energies within a very condensed, almost explosive manner. Often, as in this case (in his opinion), the results can be very beautiful.
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