Hale County This Morning, This Evening (2018), directed by RaMell Ross.

Watched at ICA cinema.

The movement happens and then it is gone. Just a moment in time – light through tree, shadows of basketball players thrown onto the wall of a high school gym, insects on window sills, tiny children getting to grips with space. Beads of experience strung together, each given space to shimmer. The film is a porous object that has a beginning and end but is not barriered. It inhale and exhales outside of its restraints of time. Is this what poetry is? The excess of experience that transcends the material and/or symbolic caging of the medium? There are small episodes of aesthetics and affect in films I have been obsessed with in the past. A few seconds to a few minutes from things like …

Kids by Larry Clark, Gummo by Harmony Korine, Paranoid Park by Gus Van Sant, Women in Revolt by Andy Warhol, Breathless by Jean-luc Godard, Tarnation by Jonathan Caouette, America Honey by Andrea Arnold, Borderline by the Pool Group, Song to Song by Terrence Malick, Decasia by Bill Morrison, Daisies

The sequences I would form an attachment to, usually the filming of exquisite nothings, are like lines in books you underline, write on a bedroom wall, doodle on scrap paper or get tattooed on your body perhaps. A stock content in your mind for something poetic… Sonic Youth lyrics that fall off the page of sleeve notes like it was the easiest thing to write. Photographic images you scan in the library and blue tack to the wall by your bed. School books covered in misquotes.

But there is no way to underline or capture these films clips. I used to want to hold them in my cupped hands. But the poetry of cinema is enhanced by the inability to still it in the time it must always be moving through.

Hale County is a film that is made primarily of exquisite albeit colloquial looks at Hale County, Alabama. The politics are vibrant but not didactic, arising from the showing and not telling of the images, small inserts of text, and one clip from another film. I sense the politics, they communicate clearly from the film, but pounding this into language now is tough. Hale County is difficult to write about, each clip a testament that one could write forever in attempt to describe a moment of film – words are so often insufficient.

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