Review: ‘Once Every Day’

"Once Every Day"

Shot in six days and edited over a year's span, "Once Every Day" consists of an eclectic, sporadically compelling mix of disparate sounds, images, groupings of people and written words proceeding in no ostensible order and following no perceptible logic.

Some 30 years after his sole foray into filmmaking, avant-garde stage director Richard Foreman, he of Ontological-Hysteric Theater fame, picks up where he left off, this time in the digital world, with “Once Every Day.” Shot in six days and edited over a year’s span, “Day” consists of an eclectic, sporadically compelling mix of disparate sounds, images, groupings of people and written words proceeding in no ostensible order and following no perceptible logic. Channeling ’50s-’60s experimental cinema, the pic has bowed, fittingly, at Jonas Mekas’ Anthology Film Archives.

Stony-faced thesps appear in closeup, arranged in tableaux, and obey whispered or matter-of-fact offscreen stage directions whose meanings remain mysterious: Actors are told to lie down, loom over one other, cover their faces with handkerchiefs or run to a bookcase to snatch up or redeposit stuffed animals. The pic feels like a deconstructed theater piece, using cinematic means — wipes; split-screens; irises; zooms; jerky camera movements; degrees of graininess, color or focus — to generate dissonance and fragmentation. Snippets of dialogue (“Help me!”) or cryptic pronouncements (“an original idea … may not be the best choice”) teasingly hover around significance.

Once Every Day

Production

A Bridge Film NYC, Ontological-Hysteric Theater, Center for the Moving Image, Dept. of Media Studies, State U. of New York, Buffalo production. Directed, written, edited by Richard Foreman. Reviewed on DVD, Feb. 10, 2013. Running time: 66 MIN.

With

Dana Block, Sarah Brown, Ryan Cupello, Diane Galdry, Neill Garvey, Hannah Lipkind, Abby Marianetti, Paul Marin, Amenda McDowall, Roy Roussel, Linda Stein. R. J. Voltz, Paul Hern, Yuri Hreshchyshyn.

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