Moving Art by Natalie Edwards
Originally published in Cinema Canada Vol. 2, No. 13 April/May 1974
The second film is next to me by Rick Hancox (1971) described by him as “About my life in New York City, and the people in my life, using sounds and images in brief fragments. A kind of poem.”
The film is cued as an emotional autobiography by a street corner sign commanding DON’T WALK, which stops the protagonist practically in mid-stride and effectively creates an arrested moment in which he recapitulates and reassess parts of his life. A moment in time may be long with crammed thoughts or emotional impact, but a moment in film time may be theoretically endless and still acceptable aesthetically.
Resnais-like, Hancox discovers the plastic qualities of time, the involving power of fragmentation, the strength of repetition in which an act is forced to comment on itself, and the bedeviling fascination of the psace in time, and of the time that creates space. The work is inventive and fresh with a spontaneous approach and made meaningful by some remarkably fine-edged cutting. He uses visual images like words and sounds in poetry. A few second example may explain this: a naked woman is falling face-down onto a bed. He cuts the fall before its completion, forcing the viewer to mentally complete the fall, at the same time a voice-over in slightly delayed time speaks of the woman falling toward the bed, but the voice is also cut before completing the comment. The result is not frustration, since the viewer can easily complete the uncomplicated act, but a lyrical sense of timelessness; the action is begun visually, repeated verbally and finally, completed mentally. At the same time this moment adds to the emotional creation of the male character in the film, and as autobiography, makes a personal statement that remains suspended and only imperfectly understood by the audience, yet encourages further involvement. I really like this film a lot.