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A blatant hybrid of documentary and experimental style

A blatant hybrid of documentary and experimental style


“Pulp western’ writer, Ryerson Johnson: feminist poet, Nancy Nielsen; workers at a herring smokehouse in Downeast Maine; postcards of famous European paintings; clips from ‘My Darling Clementine’; and the filmmaker are the main players in Holly Fisher’s new film ‘Bullets for Breakfast.’

Each of the characters shares a common space, Lubec, Maine.

As with her earlier films, ‘Bullets for Breakfast’ was produced on an optical printer. Filmed originally on S.8 film, Fisher deconstructs her original material and uses each character first as a main player, then as context for the next. As each subject is introduced, framed, reintroduced, reframed, and decontextualized, a complex shaping of each is achieved. The subtle and not-so-subtle juxtapositions and recombining of subjects begins the process of seeing the hidden depths of subjectivity.

There is enormous pathos and caring for each of the subjects in Fisher’s film which further problematizes our understanding of her project. As a promoter of a phallocentric vision of the west, Ryerson Johnson is clearly a villain. On the other hand, his presence on the screen is a vision of genuine compassion and thoughtfulness. There are no answers in Fisher’s film, nor are they intended to be. Instead, we are offered the opportunity to see and see again the landscape and its inhabitants as a multiplicity of human constructs.

‘Bullets’ is full of wit and humor and is beautiful to look at, but it is a demanding film. Even its form is a blatant hybrid of documentary and experimental style. Objectivity is clearly in the eye of the beholder.


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