The Last 200 Feet (roll 1) - video transcript

 

 

 

 

This is not the perfect instrument, no, though it seems to be, extruded from the spirit of a Panzer tank then assembled with grim German precision, this Arriflex thirty five, roman numeral three, motion picture camera stinks rancid like the gunmetal of my grandfather’s Colt sidearm that he carried through terror across a beach in Europe, then smuggled home in a Navy ruck sack next to a bottle of French perfume that sprayed clouds of relief, later, fired by me and my Daddio, The Colonel, (now dead) in the woods every weekend, as a bond between father and quiet son, only to be stolen from our home where The Colonel condemns through grinding molars, the thieving dirt bag who will use his boy’s birth right to rob a Seven Eleven; now, me, replaying his rant, wishing he were alive to answer, always, one more question, blindly tracing the film’s perforations under the tip of my finger with the kind of affection that movies reserve for a tool of vengeance, whose sweet emulsion softens the edge, until grandpa abruptly screams from the beach, through a curtain of wind, to advance, now, with the last load of 5219 tungsten film ever to be cut and spooled in two hundred foot lengths, discontinued, rotting from gamma rays, in a Kodak warehouse in Reno, Nevada because its measure of time is so brief that if I take a single shot, using the entire roll, at the instrument’s maximum frame rate of one hundred and thirty frames per second, then the film will roll for twenty four point four seconds, and I’ll pucker at the clamor of the instrument’s thrusting elliptical pulse, as it claws the film, yanks it down to advance, steady, violent, amplifying too late the probability of failure compounded by the emasculating blow of a broken loop or a soft shot, the quick climax of 200 feet, light leaks and hair in the gate, but ever since I started shooting the last rolls of film on Earth, I’ve found that I’m more sensitive to the smell of lipstick and coffee, in combination, that I’m less generous with my middle finger, that the flame stutters in reverse every time I light her cigarette; whoever left the lipstick, and that I weep, over the kitchen table, at the antics of Laurel and Hardy in faded morning re-runs, as an eager plea that this won’t be the end because, wait, there are still plenty of women out there that I want to kiss and fuck, so when the last frame of the last two-hundred feet flutters through the camera’s gate, I’ll have no choice but to take comfort in the notion that, well, “it’s only a movie”, but I’ll know that, really, there’s no such thing as “only” because this solitary 200 feet will only be seen through the lens of this single unwavering sentence.