Shuttlecock and other film screenings come to the SD Art Museum

Tonya Krauth

Tonya Krauth

The South Dakota Art Museum will be holding a reception for artist and filmmaker Jerry Ross Barrish on Thursday March 21 from 4:30 to 7 p.m. Barrish will speak to the audience at 5:30 p.m. There will be a screening of his 1989 film Shuttlecock at 7 p.m. Friday, March 22 will provide a screening of two more of Barrish’s films Recent Sorrows (1984) and Dan’s Motel (1981) at 7p.m.

According to Barrish, “These films are low budget, independent features, basically R rated.” They deal with subject matter that, in the 1980s, was controversial. Barrish went on to say, “When I was in film school, I was strongly influenced by the French and German New Wave Cinema. My films have a very European aesthetic, but the story content is very American.” His films are “more story driven than energy driven.”

Shuttlecock was Barrish’s third feature. It made its premier at the 1989 Berlin International Film Festival and had wide European exposure. Peter Moore of the Mill valley Film Festival calls Shuttlecock, “An intriguing and affecting adult drama about the complicated relationships that develop between four friends who are better at expressing their art than their love. Well-know Bay Area comedian Will Durst stars as Jack, a successful stand-up comic who is having problems in his relationship with Kristie, an erotic dancer. They move to a pacific beach house next door to Mona, a painter and art teacher, and Lena, a sultry German chanteuse.

Local actress Ann Block is a revelation as Mona, showing vulnerability and passion as she finds herself recovering from a failed affair and falling in love with Jack. The characters like to talk, and the film eavesdrops on them as they reveal themselves in bits and pieces; Mona with her shrink, Kristie to Mona, Jack to Lena and Lena to the cabaret audience as she sings her songs. A painfully honest film filled with humor and hope. The film runs 87 minutes and was written, directed, produced and edited by Barrish.

Recent Sorrows is “a bizarre tale of two men whose respective love affairs have recently ended. A strange encounter between the two in a cafe leads to a mysterious murder.” Barrish got the idea for this film from his mailman, who is also a filmmaker. He said, “I was the first straight person that he told when he came out. After listening to him talk about his personal love life … I realized that he was dealing with the same trials and tribulations that a straight person goes through.”

Barrish’s first feature film was Dan’s Motel. He wrote, shot, directed and edited the entire film himself. The film stated out as a short story, but using the trilogy format, it became a full-length film (80 min.).

The film used three unrelated stories with the motel as the common theme. Barrish says, “Dan’s Motel was quite popular. It had a great run at film festivals around the world and played on European television after it was a surprise hit at the New York New Directors Festival in 1984.”

The Museum of Modern Art, New Directors/New Films Series said that “Dan’s Motel” is a last refuge for integrating lives, and is actually a sympathetic and soothing haven for its lonely guests?eccentrics, would-be suicides and stand-up comics, poets and singers?all who are somewhat revived in Dan’s cheap rooms. Deceptively straightforward, the film is a true and emotionally winning original.”

Tickets for this event are $2 for SDSU students with ID and $3.50 for general admission. While at the museum check out Barrish’s Dames exhibit running through June 24.