Where the Chocolate Mountains / Runs Good
dir. Pat O’Neill, US, 2015, DCP, 55 min.
Completed in 2015 with a Creative Capital grant, Where the Chocolate Mountains is Pat O’Neill’s most recent film, and true to his oeuvre, it is both narrative and abstract. The Chocolate Mountains lie along the border between South Eastern California and Arizona just north of the Mexico border. Much of the range is used for bombing practice by the US military and its clients. It is off limits to everyone else. The mountains do not appear in the film, but are mentioned in the soundtrack. The film, running 55 minutes, is made up of wooden cones in rotary motion, human bodies, fire, smoke, and bells. Occasional interruptions and narrative are provided by a lame Irish Retriever. There are some stories, as well.
dir. Pat O’Neill, US, 1971, 16mm, 15 min.
Runs Good, its title derived from language surrounding used cars for sale as a nod to Los Angeles permeating car culture, is one of Pat O’Neill’s earliest films using an optical printer. This signature device allows for pictures to influence one another through additive and subtractive processes in an effort to make a reality that a camera cannot find. Influenced by filmmaker Bruce Connor’s A Movie, O’Neil considers ways in which sourced footage can be used differently than its original purpose to make narrative out of secondhand film. Completed in 1970, Runs Good was a direct response to film theory in the late 1960s from which O’Neil felt excluded. It is not a linear narrative, but instead a collection of episodes from a number of separate events with pauses in between that addresses various visual concerns.
Films courtesy of the artist and Mitchell-Innes & Nash, N.Y.
Film programs at International House are funded by The Andy Warhol Foundation for Visual Arts, The Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, and The Wyncote Foundation.