dir. Betty Ferguson
“Betty Ferguson's ‘Kisses,’ an hour-long anthology of film clips presented without titles or voiceover, is the sweetest and, in avant-garde terms, the most conventional film on the program. Although the kiss reached its supreme expression as the on-screen replacement for copulation in post-Code Hollywood, Ferguson’s material is drawn largely from silent classics and the less-fetishized European cinema of around 1960. She compares her film to a patchwork quilt, but it’s basically morphological, cataloguing clusters of shots where kisses are delivered to the hand, the neck, rained down on a beloved face, perfunctorily bestowed on a spouse, awarded to dogs, dolls, gun, etc. The most cinematic series is a succession of long looks leading up to wordless clinches as the equally ecstatic camera dollies in for a close-up.
“Ferguson includes some longer scenes and there’s a certain charm in knowing how each of these situations will end. Thus the entire ice-floe/waterfall sequence from “Way Down East” becomes an epic prologue to Lillian Gish and Richard Barthelmess’ chaste embrace. More surprisingly, a dwarfish second-storey man literally smooches the earrings off a sleeping society dame without waking her, and Hedy Lamarr’s nude swim in “Ecstasy” climaxes with a shot of two nuzzling horses.
“…excellent finale – a five-minute excerpt from a 1956 episode of ‘Superman’ wherein Lois Lane dreams that the Man of Steel has finally popped the question. Ferguson’s inspired contribution is to hand-tint various objects – Lois’s hat, the box of flowers Superman sends her – as they float from shot to shot. These amorphous blobs of colour are the perfect corollary to the TV show’s wonderfully infantile fantasy world.”
—J. Hoberman, Village Voice
Canadian Filmmakers Distribution Centre