back in stock as of
april 18th, 2013
first in stock on
july 30th, 2008
|swill radio (usa) #swill 028 dvd|
scott foust “here’s to love!” digital versatile disc
|july 2008 release ; dvd (properly replicated & packaged in a full-color digipak) of the long-awaited feature film by idea fire company / swill radio’s scott foust. featuring a cast of friends & close ones (matt krefting, meara o’reilly, jessi swenson, foust himself as “the commander”, graham lambkin as “control”) ...|
it’s a heady, abstract-but-narrative affair with many long, lingering shots of winter-night-times and an excellent score (featuring music by idea fire company, tart, the pickle factory, xx committee, and y front) ...
|swill radio press release...|
here's to love!
a film by scott foust (swill radio 028) dvd
starring: matt krefting, meara o'reilly, jessi swenson.
with scott foust, graham lambkin.
music by idea fire company, tart, the pickle factory, xx committee, y front.
here's to love! is reminiscent of the past glory of silent film, when the beauty of the image predominated, yet it looks firmly to the future. it is the story of a quest by three young people to find their aesthetic idol and save him from his degraded state, told through slowly unfolding scenes with striking, lingering, and sometimes aethestically challenging videography. these images are closely matched with original music by foust and his various sound projects from throughout his career. a film to be watched with thought and a patience not usually demanded by today's methods of hyperactive, cartoonish editing, here's to love! should be viewed as a series of extended moving paintings, accompanied by truly timeless music.
here's to love! reviewed by ed pinsent, of the sound projector magazine, uk.
|here's to love! tells the story of a dissatisfied avant-garde artist, electing to live in supreme isolation from an audience who ignore what he has to say, and filled with disdain for the movement he founded and which subsequently betrayed him. lost in self-loathing and alcoholism, he is sought out by three devotees who have dedicated themselves to the study of his work and his message. the story begins at the point where interest is at its most intense, almost as though we'd bypassed 20 minutes of plot build-up. in defiance of narrative conventions, a spoken-word exposition neatly lays out the 'backstory' in less than 3 minutes. the fictional artist at the centre of the story has already withdrawn from the world, occupying his own self-made ivory tower, living in isolation with supreme contempt for the mob who don't understand his work. almost immediately, three young acolytes (played by three young ex-student friends of foust) appear in the story, and with very little narrative justification, decide to make their way to the isolated artist's home to pay him homage. the fine detail of the cultural context of their quest is expressed with close-ups of very specific book and lp covers and other esoterica, which so happen to coincide entirely with foust's own preoccupations in the worlds of philosophy and avant-garde music and art.|
already the symbolism of this is pretty potent, even if the setting lacks any real specificity. the events are taking place in foust's home town and his own house, but - apart perhaps from the specific books and lps referenced - the overall story is so generalised and abstracted that we could be anywhere, or any time. the characters have no personalities and are simply ciphers for some deep philosophical symbolic statement. so far it reminds one of some desiccated version of an albert camus story.
but from here on in, here's to love! starts to occupy its own turf. for the best part of an hour, the film treats us to a series of extremely sumptuous and beautiful images (some photographed by karla borecky, foust's wife), telling the story in a very slow-moving way as they unfold. the exterior shots were made in the winter, allowing for some gorgeous snow-filled landscape photography, across which the three acolytes slowly pick their way towards the hq of the 'commander'. the interior shots are saturated with glowing oranges, yellows and reds, providing a supreme contrast to the white and blue snow scenes; and these become even more intense as the story delivers one of its set-pieces, the martini-drinking sequence.
foust's method eschews dialogue, the action takes place at a snail's pace, and certain movements are repeated frequently, photographed from different angles, or even restaged by the actors. everything is perfectly clear and well-expressed. nothing is rushed; every shot is set up to communicate precisely what it needs to; the actors move through their parts and carry things forward with simplicity and clarity. at the same time, the rich visuals are extensively treated; using, for example, simple lighting effects, and extreme out-of-focus close-ups to create strong abstractions. the lighting effects in particular create something close to strobing; this, and editing and framing, means many shots have an internal rhythm that is as natural as breathing. add to this the fact the entire film is accompanied by hypnotic music (provided by idea fire company, and others of foust's musical projects), which provides a mesmeric counterpoint, then you have a very compelling effect. it's impossible not to be drawn in by the entire experience. some might call it 'monotonous' or 'numbing', but this intensive image-sound combination provides the very same intoxicating effect as the dry martini that lurks at the heart of the film.
it takes only about 15 minutes of this sort of cinematic treatment before the symbolically-charged storyline underpinning the actions of the characters is all but forgotten; we're following the figures through the snow, but we could care less now about why they're doing it. it is testament to the power of the film that it can create actions and images powerful enough to do this; we're more drawn into the drama of the individual moment, rather than seeing the narrative framework surrounding the whole. this reading of here's to love! may in fact be quite some way from foust's intent, but it does add to the mystery and ambiguity of the story.
the intended symbolism makes a return however, as the film shifts into its violent, highly-charged and deeply ambiguous ending. collaborator graham lambkin makes an appearance as a baleful death-figure, setting the ground for an extremely pessimistic finale. the unexpectedness and plain weirdness of the final moments of the film provide excitement and bewilderment in equal amounts.
the orgiastic drinking scene is reminiscent of the scenes at the centre of kenneth anger's inauguration of the pleasure dome, where the actors imbibe a potent psychedelic drug during a slow ceremony, and double-exposed scenes generate visual mayhem equivalent to the fireworks in their heads. the preceding snow and forest scenes also remind one of another us underground film-maker, stan brakhage and his famous dog star man. foust claims to have seen neither film (and indeed approaches film-making with a characteristic go-it-alone individuality). likewise, the use of one's own home as a movie set, one's friends and oneself as the actors, and one's own life and dreams as a scenario, corresponds with the work of many post-1945 us underground film-makers, a loose affiliation labelled 'trance' film-makers by critic p adams sitney. one of the more well-known is maya deren; she starred in her debut film meshes of the afternoon, got her husband to photograph it, and their house was used as the set.
in making this film, foust has arrived at something approaching a metaphor for the artistic dilemma as faced by any artist who works in the marginal and misunderstood areas of avant-garde or conceptual art. he has seen fit to do it by coming up with a thinly-veiled story of his own career, where the main character is clearly modelled on himself - and, it just so happens, is played by himself too. this may seem like egomania, but isn't necessarily - after all the same trick has worked for woody allen for over 25 years, and nobody complains about that. this is one project which could potentially have turned out to be nothing more than an insider joke, a home movie to be shared with the foust inner circle for private amusement only. on the contrary, it has real staying power and a core of strangeness that means it remains memorable, with a distinctive taste all of its own. considering it's foust's first full-length statement in film, that's not half bad!
- ed pinsent
about scott foust
visionary theorist, musician, composer, filmmaker, performance artist - scott foust is a true outsider artist. unlike most outsider artists, who tend to be mystical crackpots or mental defectives (usually both), foust has a clear world view grounded in reality. for three decades foust, now 50, has pounded away at the spectacle, employing a wide array of aesthetic approaches with no public or financial support. foust's hermeneutics lie at the strange crossroads between guy debord and oscar wilde. if foust's ideas seem idealistic and impractical at first, it is only because being against power and for beauty is always idealistic and impractical. his swill radio record label, founded in 1983, has released not only his own work, but lps by the shadow ring, asmus tietchens, and ralf wehowsky among others. his longest running musical project, idea fire company (founded with long time associate karla borecky in 1988) - while not having the bloated catalog of many contemporary bands - produced three of the finest, if still unknown lps of the last decade: anti-natural, stranded, and the island of taste. in 1997 foust along with borecky and dr. timothy shortell founded the anti-naturals, an art and theory group which has few but dedicated members worldwide.