Tribulation 99: Alien Anomalies under America 1991
Craig Baldwin (USA 1999, 48:47 MINS)
Tribulation 99 is one of the most complex North American found footage films out there. It is a pseudo pseudo-documentary that engages with historical truth and the way how historical discourses motivate events in the context of the Cold War in the US. The film is composed entirely of found footage from official as well as pop cultural sources. It tells the story of the interplanetary invasion of the Queatzals who burrow underground, vowing the destruction of the United States, when they are threatened by nuclear testing. Baldwin transposes a history of US involvement in post-WWII Latin America onto a science fiction narrative. He proposes that US foreign policy was motivated by the response to this alien invasion. It becomes clearer as the film progresses that the Quetzals stand for the communists and the American policies were motivated by racist, apocalyptic fears that were a more appropriate response to alien invasion than to human politics. BIO: Craig Baldwin is a San Francisco-based filmmaker, educator and media arts programmer. He made several films, such as Wild Gunman (1978), RocketKitKongoKit(1986), Tribulation 99 (1991) and Spectres of the Spectrum (1999). He is interested in archival retrieval and re-combinatory forms of cinema, performance and installations. He uses found footage exclusively to create new meaning, a new narrative and oft times scathing social commentary. His latter two mentioned works especially are called pseudo or meta documentaries. He is a self-proclaimed collagist turned documentarian His work is aimed at opening a space for thought and discussion and new ideas. His films call fact and documentary truth into question and provide and atmosphere of skepticism.