Report (1967)




















I don't think people give short films the respect that they deserve. These are full narrative, experiments, and questioning pieces that manage to take the emotional experience of a film and condense it. If anything, this must be harder. Take "Meshes of the Afternoon" for example. It's perhaps one of the best films ever made, and yet it doesn't take much effort to watch because of its length.
Then you have "Report" by Bruce Conner. This movie attempts to detail the media and societal emotional reaction to the assassination of President Kennedy.
For the first half of the movie, which is only six minutes long, the movie concerns the shooting to the death of JFK. The second half is about the pre-shooting pomp and circumstance, when the irony and grief is thick. The newscaster talks about Jacqueline Kennedy's dress and the secret service detailing; but there is an air of doom granted by the viewer's mind.
Certain editing tricks help Conner play with certain emotions. One repeated image is of Mrs. Kennedy trying to open a car door. Other times, it's almost nauseating the way that Conner splices film together because it's dizzying, and not in a good way.
When the film is referencing the Kennedeys appearance and the beginning of the parade, the film takes moments from the media that have nothing to do with Kennedy's assassination. Most prominently, there is a bullfighter montage which ends fairly gruesomely for the bull.
But it's all making a point, at least that's my opinion. It's all trying to insult the media for ever trying to sensationalize the death of our president. Yet here's the problem and Conner is very aware of this: we have to rely on the news, but it's part of a bigger, more vile machine.
The last image of the film has a young woman sitting at a desk, no doubt for a commercial of sorts, and she presses a button on the console in from of her. The camera zooms in to see that the button says "Sell" and then it cuts to black.








Score: ★★★½

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