Panic Bodies Mike Hoolboom (Canada, 1998, 16 mm, 75:oo)
The six parts of this film, made in the shadow of AIDS, represent the gradations in Hoolboom’s attitude towards the mortality of the human body.
The image is divided into quarters. On the upper-right a man appears who carries out a monologue on AIDS and the body. The two left segments of the screen are filled with fragments from science fiction and horror films, scientific films and music videos (Michael Jackson!). Here the body 1s ‘incredibly shrinking’ or ‘amazingly growing; it is frozen or has crumbled to ash, ii is tortured or indulged. On the bottom right, a doctor is visited, blood is tested and medicine 1s ingested; here, the body is the open wound that the media can’t get enough of.
A Boy’s Life
Performance artist Ed Johnson interprets a man who by means of a masturbation ritual attempts to escape the sins of his youth. He gets so absorbed in the ceremony that he loses his dick. We follow him on his surrealistic journey for the lost organ.
To the backdrop of dark footage from Disneyland, where the visitors loom like ghosts, rolls the text of a letter that Hoolboom received from fellow filmmaker Tom Chomont. He wrote about Parkinson’s disease, his brother’s last minutes in the emergency ward, and the white light after death.
A tipsy couple is secluded by the music to a dressing up.
This feminine reverie focuses on the clumsy gestures of youth and a nostalgic reminiscence of a lesbian idyll.
In this film, Hoolboom captures the loss of his loved ones. His parents, his brother, they appear in the picture as if they’re disappearing. He tells how his brother went to buy a newspaper and never came back, and how as boys they used to secretly watch horror shows on TV at night. A recurring, striking shot of black lines crossing through the white film screen conjures up a great beyond where the souls should go to. A lyrical portrait of death as an old acquaintance.