H A C presents ‘The Rise of the American Psychopath versus the Plight of the American White Knight’ (2020)

H.A.C’s are short experimental videos consisting of a/v samplings of feature films, art films, online media, and documentaries. These are edited together with field recordings and minimal synth noise accompaniment, songs, etc. They fall somewhere between Adam Curtis-esque conspiracy documentary,…

H A C presents 'The Rise of the American Psychopath versus the Plight of the American White Knight' (2020)

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H.A.C’s are short experimental videos consisting of a/v samplings of feature films, art films, online media, and documentaries. These are edited together with field recordings and minimal synth noise accompaniment, songs, etc. They fall somewhere between Adam Curtis-esque conspiracy documentary, academic cinema video essay, music video, audio-visual tone poems, and sometimes something more personal.

‘The Rise of the American Psychopath versus the Plight of the American White Knight’ (2020)

During the lockdown brought about by the global Covid-19 pandemic of 2020 a black-American called George Floyd was murdered by white police officer Derek Chauvin on May 25, 2020 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. This event sparked protests against the systemic institutionalised violence toward black people from police and state. Marches and events of solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement quickly spread across the US and went international. A horrific history of brutal white supremacy fuelled by capitalism, gangsterism and racism was being called out once and for all.

The coronavirus lockdown and the #BLM protests encouraged a revisiting of Nolan’s ‘Batman’ trilogy, whilst a friend observed Trump shared similarities with Robert Mitchum’s terrifying preacher-man in Laughton’s dark masterpiece ‘Night of the Hunter’ (1955) suggested connective tissue:

1. The relentless paranoid violent pursuit of Mitchum’s Reverend Harry Powell for “Where’s the money hid?” may as well be Donald Trump’s bumper sticker!
2. What if the young John Harper, the brave protector of his little sister Pearl in ‘Night of the Hunter’ (1955) grows up to become the troubled adult pre-cog Johnny Smith in ‘The Dead Zone’ (1983), or Harvey Dent, the literal ‘White Knight of Gotham’ in ‘The Dark Knight’ (2008)?
3. And if so, then what damage has been wrought to John Harper’s fragile psyche over a century of cinematic narratives where the great American white knight has battled the great American white psychopath regardless of win or lose?
4. And finally, both knight and psychopath seemed to form the sides of America’s great white soul both on and off-screen – the liberal and the (far)-right winger. How much had this complicated relationship cemented a toxic co-dependence between them, and, as ever, contributed to the detriment and continued destruction of the immigrant, black and worker communities on the peripheral?
6. Both sides of Dent’s ‘lucky’ coin tossed to allow chance to make the final choice of direction are HEADS, even when he becomes Two-Face and one side is defaced.

Film samples:
‘Night of the Hunter’ (1955, dir. Charles Laughton)
‘The Dark Knight’ (2008, dir. Christopher Nolan)
‘Tales of Manhattan’ (1942, dir. Julien Duvivier)
‘Ghostbusters’ (1984, dir. Ivan Reitman)
‘Necrology’ (1970, dir. Standish Lawder)
‘The Dead Zone’ (1983, dir. David Cronenberg)

Computer animation:
Cinematic (Patung) Liberty Statue Construction – Sketchup 3D Section Scene Animation https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vo4PYGwB0Fo

YouTube documentaries:
Various on Trump Tower, President Donald Trump and his followers

Music samples:
Psycho Killer – Talking Heads
The Stairway to Heaven – from ‘A Matter of Life and Death’ (1946, dir. Powell and Pressburger)
In A Sentimental Mood – Duke Ellington & John Coltrane

Original new field and synth materials:
Synth treated Mattel Synsonics Drum Machine and wood and steel spring armchair.

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