AKA, One Cop Will Risk Everything to Make Sure There’s Only One of Him
I’m excited to say that next weekend, I will be premiering my new film, Violent X, as a live performance at Images Festival in Toronto (4/18) and ISSUE Project Room in New York City (4/19) with my collaborator Taku Unami, who’s coming from Tokyo for the occasion. The work joins, often quite literally, a number of the currents that have carried my thinking, writing, and watching along in past years. It’s an anti-cop cop film, a film of historical inquiry, a pulp film of popping wheelies on dirt bikes and crawling under lasers, a film of landscape but not nature, a film of conspiracy and architecture, a film of blur and overlay, a film about minor details, glitches, damage, senseless repetition, disaster, and, above all, the war over time. I’ve been away from public writing for a spell – working towards this is why. I hope you’ll be able to join me.
Press description, performance info, and images below
(My particular thanks to Images Festival for the backing without which this film and especially these live performances would not have been possible.)
Written, directed, and narrated by Evan Calder Williams
Music by Taku Unami
In the midst of the street fighting and social collapse of Italy’s 1970s, a talented and ruthless police inspector in Rome is fighting his own war on crime when he stumbles onto a disturbing fact: someone is impersonating him, identical down to the mustache and fingerprints. In fact, there may be not just one but an innumerable horde of these bad copies scattered across the country. And to make matters worse, all seem to be taking the law into their own hands, inexplicably multiplying his one-man campaign for vengeance into a veritable killing spree. And so, while trying to ward off what may be the ghost of long-dead revolutionary Carlo Pisacane, the inspector sets out to put an end to not only his glitchy and murderous imitations but also the arcane source from which they sprung…
The first part of a planned trilogy, Violent X is an experimental cop horror film constructed from the materials of a dense cycle of low-budget Italian action movies made between 1973 and 1978. For this project, Williams assembled five thousand digital stills from these films into an animated, overlaid, and narrated document that draws out the small gestures and social world glimpsed in the background of every shootout. It is joined by a new musical score, composed and performed by Tokyo-based musician Taku Unami for the film, that mines the history of soundtracks, such as those of John Carpenter and Franco Micalizzi, and incorporates sonic elements from the same cycle of films. In both sound and image, Violent X is at once a history of circulation, tracking such films through the working class theaters of Italy into contemporary torrents and bad transfers, and a new speculative tale, one of violent cops and copying, haunted hippodromes and riots, and a conspiracy that refuses to quit.
The Canadian and US Premieres of Violent X feature a live voice and synth improvisation by Unami and Williams. This performance joins its work of pulp and radical history to early instances of cinema narration and accompaniment and conjures in sound, words, and halting frames the high-speed chases and low-grade rip-offs that marked an era’s subterranean thought.
Images Festival (Toronto)
[The film/performance will be proceeded by a screening of Deborah Stratman’s excellent Hacked Circuit]
ISSUE Project Room (Brooklyn)
[Followed by a second set where Unami collaborates with philosopher Eugene Thacker and scientist Jarrod Fowler in a musical and non-musical improvisation]