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Miss Candace Hilligoss’ Flickering Halo

A claustrophobic and dreamlike experimental short in which frames from a 60s horror are manipulated in order to reflect on vision and on our relationship with images.

10 – 15 | 2011 | Experimental | Italy | Meta-Filmic | Video Art

Miss Candace Hillligoss’ flickering halo. The title of this experimental short provides in itself the necessary information to face its vision: 13 minutes of flickering, distorted, manipulated, multiplied images of the American actress. Director Fabio Scacchioli’s starting point were a few scenes from “Carnival of Souls“, a 60s horror-noir, he then worked on individual frames, editing and cutting pieces of the film, expanding and shortening the running time, obsessively repeating certain movements and cutting off others, multiplying some images and obscuring different ones.

The manipulation of images is accompanied by an equally alienating soundtrack, composed by Vincenzo Core – a true director of digital sounds – that helps to establish the nightmarish atmosphere of this hallucinatory short. Images and sounds become one, the scathing tones of the fragmented and dissonant music seem to arise directly from the distorted and manipulated images, making it complete audio-visual experience.

The light travels through time and space at a certain speed, it takes it a variable time to get from its source to our eyes. As a result, says the director, we always observe the past, never the actual present. There is a distance between ourselves and our image of reality, much like the distance that occurs between thought and language. This interval, which separates and unites, the silence between the words, the black between the pictures, are all elements that inspired the film.

A work on vision and cinema, in which analog and digital are blended together, and where the narrative needs leave room for a non-sequential series of visual and sound pulses. The ultimate effect, the estranging, almost hallucinatory state in which the viewer is placed is perhaps not unlike that of certain narrative cinema (echoes of Lynch, Cronenberg, the first Polanski, the experimentalism of Guy Maddin come to mind), but it’s taken to the extreme, obtained by reversing and blowing up the traditional channels. It ‘also interesting that the source material is a cult film with a claustrophobic, haunting and disturbing atmosphere. Maybe it wasn’t a coincidence, as if the director wanted to establish a dialogue on the frightening and the disturbing, in which two opposite ways of producing motion pictures find a common point in the primitive pictures of the movie.

Miss Candace Hillligoss’ flickering halo was presented in the Orizzonti section of the Venice Film Festival in 2011, and has received numerous awards in the international festival circuit. The short film is part of director Fabio Scacchioli’s research, primarily focused on the relationship between memory, perception and thought that he materializes in video, film and installations. His collaboration with musician Vincenzo Core is ongoing, and their latest work “No more lonely nights” (here‘s the trailer) won the Special Jury Prize at the Turin Film Festival of 2013.

Flavia Ferrucci

Flavia Ferrucci

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