Filmmaker Brent Coughenour in person to present a narrative city-poem exploring the devastation left by post-industrial collapse in the city of Detroit


April 18th, 2009

In 2005, in an effort to improve its image for the nationwide attention brought to the city by the hosting of the 2006 Super Bowl, the city of Detroit began demolishing long-vacant buildings, hastening the natural slow decay caused by decades of industrial collapse. As the city dismantles itself, clues to its past resurface. Collections of scraps sifted from rubble-an archeology of unanswered questions-combine to tell a surrogate narrative filled with missing pieces and forgotten motives, old letters, photographs, and home movies. Fractured moments occurring on one summer day echo events from thirty years earlier. The day is sunny, but it is humid, and clouds are gathering. It is going to rain.

“Like the pieces of a puzzle, I PITY THE FOOL gradually accrues more elements as it goes on: fragments of narrative combine with other fragments that at first have no obvious connection. As opposed to story-lines in many feature-length films that gradually tie up and resolve their different threads, the focus of the film continues to broaden and expand, becoming more complex, open-ended and mysterious. Undertaking a kind of archaeological search for things nearly recent and long past, the film attempts to re-capture the marginalized and defiantly minor histories of [the city’s] forgotten tenants . . . . I PITY THE FOOL is essential viewing to anyone interested in, among other things, urban space, post-industrial landscapes, psycho-geography, found objects, DIY filmmaking, super 8, experimental narrative, and radical film form.”
-Luke Sieczek, Northwest Film Forum

I PITY THE FOOL (Super 8 film presented on video, 83 min, 2007)

Born in the Motor City (USA) but raised in the suburbs, Brent Coughenour currently lives in Cream City (USA) which recently erected a bronze statue in honor of a fictional character from a 1970’s American television sitcom. As a film and videomaker, his work has dealt largely with various attempts at wresting narrative cinematic language away from a dependence on drama and plot. His most recent work incorporates computer programming for audio and video manipulation into projects designed for live performance. He is also an occasional member of the Milwaukee Laptop Orchestra (MiLO).

Filed under: film