This interview took place on 8 September, 1976, at the London Filmmakers’ Coop,
Fitzroy Road, London. Frampton already had a reputation as one of the major
theorist-filmmakers of the contemporary avant-garde, although his work was
comparatively little known in Britain at this time.
With the enormous span of time embedded in the very grain of the celluloid, old
films and footage touch, in a sensate way, the strange and familiar longing for the
archaic past which lies at the heart of the modern dilemma. Walter Benjamin‘s
suggestion - that when delving into the secrets of modernity, including its
technology, the archaic is never that far off - grows palpable when watching film
from the archives. This project could just be called, ‘Why do we love old movies?’ To
begin to grasp how old films touch us, its instructive to look at how technology
functions within films. The power of degraded technology to create intimacy does not
go unnoticed by filmmakers today where its use extends from the avant-garde to
popular cinema. To further understand such effects, this paper focuses on one way
technology provokes intimacy: how people fall in love in the movies.
Violence and Miscegenation in Jean Toomer‘s ‘Blood- Burning Moon’
Jean Toomer‘s Cane (1923) has long been considered a signature text of both avant-garde Modernism and the Harlem Renaissance. While Gothic tropes and imagery lurk throughout Toomer‘s collection of poetry and prose, Anglo-American Gothic conventions come to the foreground in the story ‘Blood-Burning Moon’. The story‘s interracial love triangle provides a locus of conflict between the post-Reconstruction American South and the haunting economic logic of slavery. Though the three characters each aspire to new racial, sexual and economic identities, they are terrorized by a society where employer-employee relations cannot escape the violence of the master-slave dialectic. Toomer does not relinquish his aesthetic experimentation and political radicalism to the Anglo-American Gothic, but instead engages the Gothic form in order to critique the violent racism of American capitalism. In this way, Toomer positions the Gothic centrally within African-American literary and cultural history.