Flatpack Festival
Film, and then some

Bruce Conner, r.i.p.

Ian Francis
Monday 28th July, 2008 Posted by Ian Francis

Please be standing for Mr Bruce Conner, artist, founder member of the 'Rat Bastard Protective Society' and an inadvertant pioneer of the music video. A man who made speeches entirely composed of dessert names, and handed out badges labelled I Am Bruce Conner. A lot of his film work was assembled from old industrial shorts and B-movie offcuts, and until now we mainly thought of him as the guy that did Mongoloid (pictured, a cut-up classic from 1978 presented as "a documentary film exploring the manner in which a determined young man overcame a basic mental defect and became a useful member of society.") Since he died on 7th July further digging has revealed plenty more of interest, particularly an even earlier proto pop-video called Breakaway (1966) featuring Toni Basil (of 'Mickey' fame, and she who choreographed 'Once in a Lifetime'). Although much of his work was made up of other people's footage Conner was extremely protective of his copyright, and we wouldn't want to make him posthumously cross by embedding his films here. But you can see Breakaway in pixillated form on Google Video, and read about it at Senses of Cinema.

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