Bruce Conner (1933-2008)
If you're old enough, you probably remember where you were the day that John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, TX. I wasn't old enough, but I CAN remember my mother telling me the story of how she was at school when it all went down. Perhaps in all of our lifetimes there will be a tragic, national event that we will be able to replay over and over in our heads, remembering it for our entire lifetime. For me, it will be September 11, 2001, the day planes flew into the Twin Towers.On November 22, 1963, John F. Kennedy was en route to Dealey Plaza, riding in his limousine, alongside his wife, Jacqueline and Texas Governor John Connally. At 12:30pm shots rang out, coming from a nearby book depository. At 1:00pm the 35th President of the United States, John Fitzgerald Kennedy, was pronounced dead.
In "Report" Bruce Conner seems to be making a thirteen minute statement about the events, the way we replay such tragedies over and over in our minds and the erratic, confusing feelings that the day must have provided people with. The film starts with a radio reporter detailing the events of the Presidents drive in downtown Dallas, pretty regular stuff, the kind of second-by-second play by play that we get anytime any U.S. President ventures outside the White House. Then the reporter goes on to say that there's been a shooting. The reporter gets a little more excited, more hysterical and begins talking faster and louder, as the image of John F. and Jacqueline Kennedy, moments before the assassination, replay over and over on the screen. Following that we hear from an eyewitness, someone who was actually in the crowd, who claims to be certain that Kennedy was struck by bullets at least twice. We then go to a reporter live from the hospital, announcing the death of Kennedy. Throughout the final two commentaries, all we see is a very erratic black and white screen, flickering back and forth fast enough to give an epileptic a seizure. It's as if someone instructed Conner to use the colors black and white and those colors only to symbolize the events of that day. Beyond that we see a bunch of random images, as the voiceover goes back in time to the President's arrival in Dallas and as he begins his trek down the street that would ultimately be the site of his death.
I can't say what the images represent and why the soundtrack suddenly goes back to before the President was killed. I get the first half, how Conner replayed those images over and over on the screen, because that's what we're so used to. Anytime anything of note happens, the media will replay over and over the footage that they have, branding it into our minds so that we'll never forget it. I understand the erratic nature of the flickering black and white screen. The film just really didn't make much sense to me and I'm really not sure why it was included in THE BOOK. I can understand Conner's need to make this thirteen minute statement, because I believe that back then, people existed in a time when the public still cared about their leaders. Back then politicians were as big as celebrities and I believe that the aura that they once held is now gone. I think as time goes by, people are becoming more and more frustrated with the leaders of this nation and they've lost that appeal. I'm rambling, so lets call that a review....or at least lets call it a "write up".