Film Scratches: A Symbolic Journey – Catalysts and Aftershocks (2014)
Film Scratches focuses on the world of experimental and avant-garde film, especially as practiced by individual artists. It features a mixture of reviews, interviews, and essays.
A Review by David Finkelstein.
Catalysts and Aftershocks is a poignant and poetic four-and-a-half-minute silent short by Jessica J Giacobbe, examining a garden and an old barn which are full of childhood memories. Her beautiful videography uses a shallow depth of field to isolate one leaf in the garden, or sparkling dust motes caught in a shaft of sunlight inside the dark barn. A young woman digs in the dirt, then slowly explores the barn, discovering an old television set and strips of film. Peering through a knot in the wooden wall, she watches an old film, representing her memories of a real horse as well as a rocking horse. We see her wrapping a belt around her face twice, once inside the film/memory and once in the video/present.
Catalysts and Aftershocks is a psychological allegory, in the tradition of Maya Deren, creating a symbolic journey for the viewer. There is a lovely juxtaposition of past and present here, with film representing the past and video the present. Giacobbe compares the rocking horse to the real pony, the action of binding and of unbinding. She has an effective grasp of how to use the language of images to obliquely tell a story that is specific and personal, yet speaks to the universal experience of remembering childhood.