And thus, the work of Stacy Steers and collage films could not have ended up in front of a more perfect short film programmer, and no doubt, Edge of Alchemy is a masterwork.
The striking collage work, combining illustrations with images from the film of Janet Gaynor and Mary Pickford, to tell a surrealist story that seems to look at myths ranging from Frankenstein and the Golem, mingling it with Hive Collapse Syndrome, and environmental concern and imagery.
Instantly, I was brought to my first feeling, that of what it was like to first encounter the Neo-DaDaist classic image Just what was it that made yesterday's homes so different, so appealing? but what instantly comes through isn't the same sensation of conflict enlightening the random, non-sensical idea of Suburban life, but of a time that is past, a place that is other. That came through, and felt right the same. The other thing that came to mind is the work of the legendary filmmaker Virgil Widrich, whose works like Copy Shop are massively lauded.
You can take nearly any frame from Edge of Alchemy, any single shot, and blow it up, turn it into a gallery piece. Steer's eye is so trained, so perfect, and the interaction of the stiffness of acting from Gaynor and Pickford due to the Silent Film form, it works perfectly.
This work is incredible, visually engaging, and rewards multiple viewings greatly.
You can see Edge of Alchemy as a part of Animated Worlds Shorts Program 4 at Century 20 Redwood City - Screen 10 on Thu, Mar 1 at 8:30 PM and Sat, Mar 10 12:55 PM and at 3 Below in Beautiful Downtown San Jose on Fri, Mar 2 4:30 PM and Sun, Mar 11 5:15 PM