Shannon Plumb makes funny movies. Usually with her in the leading role. You call them ‘personal art films’. They are in the collection of The Museum of Modern Art as well as in Private Collections. Here is the interview I did with her in Prospect Park. (Planes flying over, baseball practice and wind competing with my sound!) Her work is very ‘low-fi’ so I decided to shot the interview in that style. I attended her screening at MOMA’s New Directors/New Films series and was very moved by her wonderful sense of the absurd in daily life expressed thru her very funny short personal films. My friend Ben Model accompanied one of her silent films on the electric organ.
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Shannon Plumb’s cinematic studies of life’s various roles and characters explore the complexities embedded in the ordinary and extraordinary. From the humble persona of a new mother to iconic figures from the silver screen, Plumb portrays these characters with zest and humor. Inspired by the curious spirit of slapstick comedy and the physical humor of silent film legends such as Buster Keaton and Charlie Chaplin, Plumb employs a low-fi aesthetic by using Super-8 film, stationary camera shots, long takes and hand-made props and costumes. Plumb is a one-woman show starring as all characters and acting as the creative force behind her films. The low-quality production of the films and her elastic expressiveness as an actress adds to the charm of her work and pushes it beyond its obvious predecessors and influences. She wrote, directed, and starred in her first narrative feature,”Towheads” (2013) and is now in pre-production for her second narrative feature “The Narcissist”.
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From MOMA Website:
Shannon Plumb (American, 1970) becomes a literal one-woman show when she stars as all of the characters in her humorous, often caustic short films. She weaves her life as an artist, wife, and mother into these comedic works, morphing the ordinary into the astonishing by channeling the physicality of Buster Keaton, Charlie Chaplin, and Lucille Ball. There is also a charming low-tech aesthetic in Plumb’s work, particularly with her preference for Super 8mm film and handmade costumes and props. But the payoff is sophisticated, shrewd, and wholly original, offering deft commentary on fashion, domesticity, body image, and the curious world of contemporary art.
In 2013 Plumb’s first feature film, Towheads, a self-assured visualization of modern-day motherly responsibility, premiered in MoMA’s New Directors/New Films festival. Plumb again played all of the key roles, defining her fictional characters using wigs, stuck-on mustaches, and the nobility of a woman pushed to the edge by two young sons and a distant husband. Many of these familiar themes are persistent in Plumb’s work—a result of her constant intertwining of real life and art making.
Shannon Plumb joins us to screen several of her films—including Rattles and Cherries, Rollercoaster, and Olympics—and premiere a performance from her new work Chopped Liver.
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RATTLES AND CHERRIES
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To find out more about Shannon Plumb and her work visit her site here.
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