A gaudily bright color film documenting a friend's ritzy-ditzy garden seems an odd subject for an avante gard filmmaker. Glimpse of the Garden (1957) is almost a biology film it's so normal, but it does have a few odd touches to betray its avant gard origins.
There's a soundtrack of harshly recorded bird songs, sounding metallic & grating. Given the nature of Marie Menken's films generally, I can't help but believe she made this gorgeous setting harsh-sounding & dizzily filmed on purpose, to make it just a little horrific, a dissonance between a peaceful subject & a stomach ache.
By the time the film reaches extreme close-ups of plants through a magnifying glass, it's hard to know if a cold scientific view is intended, or a revelation of the disturbing within the beautiful. But my search for deeper intent of the garden imagery is in part because the film fails so badly to be interesting one has to try hard to make it so.
Marie Menken & her husband Willard Maas rather boozed their way through the Warhol scene making films, reading poems, doing art of a sort.
Willard showed up at the exhibit of Andy Warhol's Silver Flotations (1966) to make the only visual document of the show, capturing the absurdity of Andy's store-bought floating foil-balloons totally unaltered & unarranged yet posing as art.
The filmmaker gave it a science fiction musical score & races his camera over the balloons in a manner at least as disorienting as Marie's swift view of the garden.
Though Floatations is a color film, the mostly pillow-shaped silver baloons against grey background & white lights give the impression of a b/w film.
The final affect of the film, however, is to convey the abject intentional phoniness of much that passed for art in a decidedly anti-art moment of the cultural history of America.
From a time when life itself was defined as "art" just by altering one's mind with drugs & making porn with Andy watching (as Willard had done), Silver Floatations is no more or less authenticc than Andy himself might've had it.
copyright © by Paghat the Ratgirl