One of the most important experimental filmmakers of all time, the great Ken Jacobs shows no signs of slowing down: Today sees the release of the living legend’s latest feature, Anaglyph Tom, a 3-D reexamination of the same brief silent film footage that powered his seminal 1969 work Tom, Tom The Piper’s Son. In honor of that, we’re presenting Jacobs’s 2007 short Capitalism: Slavery, in which the director takes a Victorian stereograph of cotton pickers and, essentially, animates it into cinema. Technically speaking, it’s of a piece with Jacobs’s recent projects of taking images from the past and finding new ways of entering their frames. But there’s something particularly chilling about Capitalism: Slavery — by giving it movement and depth, Jacobs gives us the uncomfortable feeling that the past is never really that far away.
If you like this one, we’d also encourage you to check out Jacobs’s Capitalism: Child Labor, which is available on the DVD of the feature Momma’s Man, directed by his son Azazel Jacobs, himself a Picture Palace alumnus.
A word of warning: This film utilizes a strobing effect.