+ otherwise pictures llc



1968  |  16mm  |  color  |  sound  |  5 min
Holly Fisher
Filmed with 2nd hand Bolex, Fisher's 1st film camera
Benjamin Melnick (Rinzler)

Subway is my first completed solo film. Five years earlier, I had directed and filmed what would have been my first film–in B&W at original McDonald’s (proud to have sold their first million hamburgers at that time), which also including footage directed and performed by myself and filmed by Romas V. Slezas on rocky coastline, Scituate, MA. This film project was never edited, and still lives in bits & shards in a small film somewhere in my archives.


Subway is a subterranean passage that lies somewhere between fiction and diary, with literal and psychological overtones from the late ’60s. Framed within a ride on the Harvard/Ashmont Subway Line at rush hour–as the train fills and then empties, moving further from downtown Boston while I direct my 7-year-old nephew, Ben, to stand and look around, sit, get off, watch himself depart, get back on, and walk away–intercut with various scenes from my on-going (Bolex) film diary; seagulls circling, anti-war street demonstration past Playboy Club in downtown Boston, large dogs leaping into saltwater, crowd on escalator, Ben’s image in surveillance camera, twilight through half-built, backlit Coop City under construction…

The impulse for multiple layering, juxtaposition and other interplay of disparate imagery seemed to come naturally, even after having spent some years co-making documentary films. At the same time this film comes closer to a narrative structure than anything I’ve made before or since, with the exception of PSSSHT!


My 1st solo film is a subterranean fusion of fiction and diary, with literal and psychological overtones from the late ’60s. Framed within a ride on the Boston subway at rush hour, the train fills and empties as I direct my nephew Ben in simple moves – intercut with disparate images my on-going film diary. Multiple layering, juxtaposition and other interplay of imagery seemed my second nature, and so the end of my attempt to direct, and the start of a life-long search for a film language of my own making.


Group show, Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, MA (1972)