Wednesday, April 18: Paul Bryan and Richard Bailey, Filmmaker Showcase and Reading
Oak Cliff Cultural Center, 7:30 p.m. Reception, 8 p.m. Film
Co-Hosted by: Dallas VideoFest and WordSpace
“Paul Bryan has made a new short film that amazes me. It’s a unique balance of daft and anagogic possibilities — a fun and provocative film, also pretty spooky. The title is CORDYCEPS AND CONVICTIONS. It is a religious film, one that practices a brave theology. Christianity is compared to a fungus that spreads through ants. It lives in an ant’s brain, controlling its movements, guiding it back to its colony. And there the brain explodes, spreading spores throughout the colony. All the ants are now carriers, their movements controlled by the fungi in their brains. This is a real thing. It’s called, colloquially, the Zombie Ant Fungus!In Paul’s film, we meet Christian denizens of east Texas, where Paul lives. They speak in direct address to the camera, like a documentary, and give their Christian testimonies. But they’re also made up with weird spores and flakes taking over their faces. The images in this film are terrific, fascinating — DIY but very well-accomplished. Paul is a devout person who doesn’t accept easy answers to hard questions. He’s rather like Flannery O’Connor in this way.Here is a trailer for Paul’s previous film, BELIEVE IT ANYWAY, which I wrote about for Glasstire.
To make a full evening with the film, I propose to read a few poems. I’m from a rural background and attended an old wood panel, single-room Baptist Church in a town of 100 people. I’m fascinated by the confluence of Christian legend, American folklore, and ancient Roman death cult mysteries that fuel the religious imagination in the rural south.The downside of this program: There are few things more terrifying in all the world than the religious imagination in the southern United States.”–Richard Bailey.