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Themesicon: navigation pathArt and Cinematographyicon: navigation pathDouglas
Le Détroit (Douglas, Stan), 2001

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were motionless. She rushes out of the house, her hasty exit producing a draft that blows back open the wardrobe door she had closed and sends flying back down to the floor the piece of paper she had placed on the desk. Just before she reaches the front door, she leaves behind a footprint. She goes to her car, takes the spotlight off the hood, gets inside, starts up the engine and ponders. She turns off the engine, gets out, puts the spotlight back on top of the hood. Going back into the house, she will encounter, and painstakingly erase, her own footprint. Thus the story goes on, and becomes the endlessly experienced quest for self-reassurance of a black woman who is, perhaps, representative of the people who once resided in that house, that district, and those derelict areas of Detroit in which the artist located his tale. «Le Détroit» (Fr.: the strait) is an infinitely self-repeating search for a secret and for clues to one's own self; it robs the protagonist of her peace of mind, imprisons her in the confined space of the deserted house, freezes her in an unvarying sequence of actions. Stan Douglas stages a horror story that is banal and complex in equal measure. With suggestive camera angles, nocturnal and


desolate scenery, and a disquieting soundtrack composed of external noises and sounds of movement, he stokes and intensifies the sense of the uncanny that pervades the film. Yet at the same time he succeeds in deconstructing precisely those genre-specific components and interpretive patterns, which, long established in books, films and television, have the power to make the everyday seem uncanny and strange. Douglas' chosen presentation mode for the loop film heightens the impression of the unfathomable, semi-conscious, buried: of indeed tragic entanglement. He constructed a complicated installation composed of two film projectors which, placed back-to-back, duplicate the projected loop mirror-inverted on a transparent screen mounted in the middle of the projection axis. The two films run only very slightly out-of-sync, and are identical except for the fact that one is a negative print. Stan Douglas based his film on research into Detroit he began conducting in 1997 and recorded in a photo-series, as well as on «The Haunting of Hill House,» an occult ghost story written by Shirley Jackson in 1959. A film adaptation from 1963 («The Haunting». Robert Wise.

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