Reviewed by: Andrew Robertson

"This is a film that might be best served not by a cinema but by a loop."

Scrapbook isn't, initially, a scrapbook, more an album of sorts, a spawning for reminiscence, but a recollection made more complicated by the effort of recollection, the consequences of looking back. In the Sixties, in an institution, a residential centre for children with a variety of conditions - photographs and other footages, a document of a time and a place - and then an interview with a person in that time or place, Donna.

Except, complicating things, Donna does not want to be heard. So Donna is not Donna, but an actress, the stumbling over things unseen for 50 years is performance, based in fact, but complicated by another remove - another set of tearing away from previous context, rearranged.

These are complicated recollections - "I couldn't tell whether emotions were a place in my body or a place [elsewhere]" - made more complicated by presentation, by a sense that this is a film that might be best served not by a cinema but by a loop - in seeing someone seeing things again there might be benefit in seeing things again. A 1966 'collective portrait project' provides the source material, but this builds upon it differently. Director Mike Hoolboom's work can be, is, difficult. This can and should be read as an experiment with form of documentary. Screening in Edinburgh's International Film Festival as part of the main shorts programme (rather than the frequently challenging Black Box strand) it won Best Short - in a strong year this is no small achievement - but this is perhaps a film that speaks most to some audiences, and it can be hard to determine who that might be. The act of making memory uncomfortable, or finding uncomfortable memory in the act, and the act of making becomes part of the film, the texture of scrapbook - to rip, to tear, to re-purpose, and to look.

Reviewed on: 29 Jun 2015
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Memories of life in a children's home.

Director: Mike Hoolboom

Year: 2015

Runtime: 18 minutes

Country: Canada


EIFF 2015

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