Photo: Bleu Shut, Dir. Robert Nelson 1970, 16mm, 33 mins

Robert Nelson

Film Programme: Bleu Shut

Bleu Shut, Dir. Robert Nelson, 1970, US, 16mm, 33 mins

A kind of audience activating, structured film guessing game in the manipulation of time, sound and image.  “At 11:15, weiners. At 21:05, pornography. At 23:30, a duet. Watch the Clock.”

Robert Nelson's 1970 film is a pretty funny yet serious meditation on cinematic time and is concerned primarily with the structural side of the structuralist/ materialist equation. Made around the same time as Hollis Frampton’s Zorns Lemma it’s an equally direct challenge to the film viewer to participate in what they are experiencing. Bleu Shut’s guessing game manages to allow different clips of film to remain just what they are (home movies, adverts etc) while giving the task of synthesising them into a whole ‘film’ over to you the viewer, while still playing with your sense of time with both an aleatory aesthetic and a sense of humor. A link to a video for reference viewing is below.

Even when we know the game is an illusion, the experience of Bleu Shut is entirely a pleasure: the ‘game’ is fun, the Nelson/Wiley debates, infectiously funny; and Nelson’s choice of imagery, quirky and amusing. Bleu Shut reveals, and allows us to enjoy, our gullibility within the pervasive absurdity of modern life. (Scott MacDonald)
 
Some of the intentional energy of the game carries over to the inserts, as if the audience were being called on to solve perceptual puzzles, to interpret them, and above all to construct a unity out of their diversity. (P. Adams Sitney)
 
Below is an online link which you can use for reference. To see the film in its original glory, check with the distributor of the film for their terms and conditions.

 

  • Bleu Shut