a Darkness Swallowed

Betzy Bromberg is director of the Program in Film and Video at the California Institute of the Arts and has been making experimental films since 1976.

When a Darkness Swallowed opens on some old photographs, it seems to be one kind of film, a personal work exploring memory, perhaps focusing on the child depicted in one of the photos, absent from the other. But very quickly it shifts to something unexpected, something uncategorizable. Beautiful abstract images fill the screen as we delve into a brooding, sensuous world, which critic Holly Willis describes as “dipping below the rational world to mine the seemingly infinite layers of the past stored within the fleshy entrails, chalky bones, sinewy spider webs and gnarled ligaments of both the body and the earth.” It is a landscape that suggests the murky process of searching, remembering, or grieving, and, as the title suggests, it takes us in. Willis writes, “(Bromberg's) films are effusive spaces of creation and enquiry, where she finds herself in the world and makes the chaotic inequity of loss and despair somehow bearable. And even beautiful.”

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