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Image: Coconut/Cane & Cutlass (1994) by Michelle Mohabeer

dir. Betty Ferguson



55 min


“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


  • Artist(s)
    Betty Ferguson




    55 min




    Canadian Filmmakers Distribution Centre

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