Third and final program in a retrospective look at the films of SF experimental filmmaker Warren Sonbert curated by Johnny Ray Huston and Konrad Steiner for kino21.

Prints from Canyon Cinema.

A Woman's Touch  16mm, color/silent, 22 min. (1983)

Short Fuse  16mm, color/sound, 37min. (1991)

While Sonbert's work is infused with his awareness of experimental film from Brakhage to Warhol, it is just as profoundly informed by his love of narrative genres: opera and feature films. Among avant gardists, his was a rare case of someone with a deep appreciation of the films of Hollywood masters, in particular the films of Douglas Sirk, Nicholas Ray, and Alfred Hitchcock. A Woman's Touch is a complex rendition of his sense of the narrative spark engendered by images of women, men and their dramatic and quotidian roles, with glimpses of many friends around the world, which is both an homage and a response to Hitchcock's Marnie.

On the other hand Short Fuse, with its many symphonic and lyrical soundtrack references, Sonbert engages his love of music and minor career as an opera critic. His usually silent montage is guided into an episodic structure by the soundtrack of a vast range of music: from Strauss' Capriccio, Bernard Hermann's Vertigo soundtrack, to motown and world music. The film is also rarity in Sonbert's catalog for incorporating quoted film footage into the weave of his trademark polyvalent montage. This is the last film Sonbert completed himself. (The later film, Whiplash, was completed posthumously under his instructions by Jeff Scher and released in 1995.)