Jonn Herschend’s New Experimental Comedy Premieres
We’re excited to announce that our production of Revelator director Jonn Herschend’s new comedy, DIRECTOR’S COMMENTARY, is now playing at The Suburban Riverwest, in Milwaukee, WI, through April. Produced by Revelator’s Executive Chris Ohlson, the experimental film stars Beth Lisick, Scott Vermiere, director Jonn Herschend, and the members of the band No Age.
According to Jonn Herschend, DIRECTOR’S COMMENTARY is a Three Channel Comedy installation that explores the structure of narrative, entertainment, and the dichotomy of fiction and reality. “The film was cowritten by Beth Lisick,” Herschend said. “I’m a big fan of her writing and acting, so it was great to get her involved in this,” Herschend added.
A lot of Herschend’s work is about the narrative structure and the way we make fiction into truth. “In some ways we are seeing this in a very real way, right now, in regard to politics, but I also think that our lives are also this fiction that we invent (and sometimes reinvent) on a daily basis,” Herschend said. “Each day we work to reinforce this narrative of who we are and what we do,” Herschend added. “So this piece plays around with the format of the ‘Director’s Commentary,’ and essentially collapses the narrative film and the commentary into one film, revealing the structure of the piece at the same time,” Herschend said.
According to Herschend, the narrative film starts becoming sidetracked by the commentary and becomes something else. The director is confusing the fiction of his film with the reality of his own life. And Beth’s character pushes through the fiction of the video piece to reclaim the narrative in her own way… essentially changing reality with her own fiction.
The formal structure of the film is comprised of three video screens. Screen 1 has the film narrative, which involves a middle aged couple in a bar, on vacation. The character of Lisa (played by Beth) wants to go Dancing and her husband Carl (played by Jonn) can’t seem to make it happen. Their conversation starts to get slightly uncomfortable as they reveal elements of a past affair. Screen 2 is the commentary by the Director and the two actors. This element of the film involves the Director’s fascination with Beth (the actor) and his inability to separate his personal feelings for her from the fiction that he wrote (which is the narrative of film 1).
Beth’s character announces from the onset that she assumed that this would be a dancing film…or a film that included dancing. As the conversation between the director and Beth becomes more complicated and uncomfortable, Beth decides to leave the film and create her own reality, one where she dances. The final scene of both Screen 1 and 2 involves Beth’s character leaving the film and returning to the Bar where she dances to a song by the post punk duo No Age. Screen 3 is essentially the soundtrack. It’s one long take of the band No Age in the bar preparing for the song, which they play for Beth.
The idea of setting this up as a three channel is that it requires the viewer to physically move through the structure of the film. The screens are situated in the space in such a way that the viewer cannot see all three screens at once. The audio from the three screens unites the film, but each screen offers a slightly different variation on the film’s narrative.
You can see DIRECTOR’S COMMENTARY at The Suburban in Milwaukee, through April. The Suburban is located at 2901 N Fratney Street, in Milwaukee, WI. The new film can be seen Saturday 12-3pm and by appointment. Congrats again to Jonn and the whole crew, and check back soon for more info about more Revelator director film news.