麥特・沃夫 Matt WOLF
美國 USA | 2019 | DCP | Colour | 88min
超過七萬卷的電視節目錄影帶，長達 30 年的秘密錄製計畫，而今終於面世。瑪麗恩・史托克—— 世紀最狂檔案專業魔人，身為黑人女性知識分子，她走過冷戰時代，見證科技發展與新聞媒體生態轉型，細鑽如何「拆組」大眾意識形態、「創造」新興輿論的成形。她日復一日錄製電視節目，最多同時啟動 8 台錄影機，自 1975 年持續到 2012 年底嚥下最後一口氣為止。歷史從未離開，瑪麗恩將留予我們及下一代什麼解答?
Marion Stokes secretly recorded television channels 24 hours a day for 30 years from 1975 until her death in 2012. For Marion, taping was a form of activism to seek the truth, believing that a comprehensive archive of the media would be invaluable for future generations. Her visionary and maddening project nearly tore her family apart, but now her 70,000 VHS tapes are being digitized and they’ll be searchable online.
Matt WOLF is a filmmaker,documentarian, and producer, as well as a Guggenheim fellow. His notable films include Wild Combination: a Portrait of Arthur Russell (2008), Teenage (2014), and Bayard & Me (2017). His subjects include youth culture, artists, archives, music, and queer history.
2019 翠貝卡影展 Tribeca FF
2019 AFI 紀錄片影展 AFI Docs FF
2019 Hot Docs 加拿大紀錄片影展 Hot Docs Canadian IDF
Whenever I start a film I ask the questions, “So What? Why Now”? People sometimes ask me if Marion was just a pathological historian whose uncontrollable hoarding tore her family apart. My answer is no—she was an uncompromising activist, whose insight into media and technology was decades ahead of her time. Her work is incredibly relevant today.
When I started this film, facts and accountability were important. Now, as I’m completing it, we are living in the era of so-called “fake news.” Now more than ever, the truth is under attack. The New York Times published a full-page advertisement that said, “The truth is hard—to find, to know, and the truth is more important than ever.” This is what Marion committed her life to. She recognized that television is a persuasive and pervasive medium, and that it can be manipulated to shape public opinion. Her story should inspire others to fight for the truth in unusual and creative ways.
The moment I read about Marion’s 70,000 tapes I imagined an endless collage of fuzzy clips—from tragic and triumphant, to historic and mundane—images that show the texture of our times. As a filmmaker, I’m known for using archival footage in unconventional and cinematic ways. I like to make old things feel new by using found images and stories in unexpected contexts. Whether it’s vintage Kellyanne Conway defending Bob Dole on CNN or a four-screen montage that shows how the news of 9/11 broke on various networks in real time, I want viewers to see familiar things in a new way.
This story is also a mystery. Marion’s an enigmatic and complicated character, and one of the ways we got closer to her is with stylized recreations that peer into her private world. These cinematic sequences from Marion’s limousine or her secretive recording stations in her apartment trace the evolution of television and computer technology as vintage footage plays on screens. The first time I met Marion’s son Michael Metelits, he was intelligent, insightful, and he was also overcome with emotion about his complicated relationship with his mother. Through the film, Michael lucidly reflects on Marion’s mission, his anger and frustration about her selfishness, and his pride in her accomplishments. It’s a startling and emotionally moving family story.
In addition to taping television, Marion was an avid collector and investor in Apple Computer. She idolized Steve Jobs and, according to Michael, “Steve was the good son.” Like Jobs, Marion wasn’t warm and fuzzy and she put her work and her ideas above her personal relationships. She thought differently and people didn’t always get it. But she made profound sacrifices to pursue a project that she hoped would take on a life beyond her own. And now we have the opportunity to use it.