Damnation of Faust: Charming Landscape

1987, 6:30 min, color, sound

In the third part of the Damnation of Faust trilogy, Birnbaum shifts her focus from the individual to the social being, as she examines the collusion of personal history and collective memory through technology and mediated images. The demolition of a lower Manhattan playground is juxtaposed with images of two teenage girls reflecting on their pasts. Birnbaum then constructs an historical timeline of mass street demonstrations as chronicled in "found" television news footage, from the American Civil Rights Movement and anti-war protests of the 1960s to student uprisings in China in the 1980s. From playground to military police, across cultures and time, Birnbaum isolates the smallest and grandest of gestures, linking and questioning their meaning as signs of communication and dominance. Ending with a dedication to "Georgeann and Pam, who were born in 1968," this is a potent statement on the power of mass media to redefine history and memory, and the struggle of the individual voice to become a political voice.

Producer/Director: Dara Birnbaum. Camera: Dara Birnbaum. Featuring: Georgeann Ditelli & Pam Hysinger. Post-Production Collaboration: John Zieman. CMX Editors: Rick Feist, Tom Crawford. Music: The Picassos (Keith James and Mike Nolan), "Hardcore Pastoral" © 1987 Technical Records. Key Production Assistant: Thomas Burr. Production Assistants: Sarah Johnson, Andy Soth. Post-Production: Standby at Matrix Video, Inc., New York. Facilitated by the Raindance Foundation. Produced in part with a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. Produced in association with New Television WGBH/WNET.