FILM PRODUCTION, INSTALLATION, EXHIBITION
North of South, West of East, directed by Meredith Danluck, takes a scrupulous look at the American Dream through Hollywood tropes and conventional cinema. Working with a narrative structure this four-part 85 minute film takes the chronic existential crisis that is the American identity and turns it inside out, laying the typical components of comedy, thrill, violence, love and death (the ultimate reinvention) neatly side by side. The loaded archetypes of the Cowboy, the Rebel, the Immigrant and the Actress coupled with the romantic symbol of car culture paint a portrait of post-hope America through it’s most fitting medium, film.
Using the automobile, a ubiquitous symbol of the American landscape, as an entry point into the characters lives we realize they are connected in so many ways. They are all searching for reinvention and sincerity, true love and meaning. After a series of mystical encounters, uncanny coincidences and one drug deal gone wrong, they wind up stranded together out in the harsh west Texas desert where they each face their personal demons in a bizarre ceremony with a Mexican priest. They are each tasked with a special journey that results in personal reinvention and in one case, death. Shot on location in Detroit, Michigan and Marfa, Texas, the weighty character of both places add nuanced meaning to the film.
Each of the four character’s retention of the past, attention to present actions and future anticipation play out on separate screens simultaneously manifesting both mobility and stasis—the chronic existential crisis that is American identity. The desire to be entertained becomes hyper realized as the multi-screen installation creates a fully immersive non-linear cinema experience. Dialogue occurring on one screen at a time, we watch each of the four character’s personal trajectories play out, uncovering hidden transitions and giving a voice to cinematic moments typically deemed extraneous.