If you've ever heard a woman scream and thought, this is music to my ears, then Cantata in C Major is the fucked up short film for you. It's filled with screams, shrieks, howls, and dramatic fainting. The movie is underground filmmaker Ronnie Cramer's ode to fear and distress. Compiling 605 brief audio and video clips from various vintage motion pictures, he assembles an experimental cantata, which is basically a bizarre ménage-a-trois between Hollywood screams, actor's faces, and electronically synthesized versions of their terror. All of this is concurrently transposed on screen into traditional musical notation, which, if played, is the equivalent of musical masochism.
Cramer's no stranger to strange. A re-appropriator of perverse Hollywood and schlock art, he's made films where 100 celebrity mug shots morph into each other or hundreds of trashy romance novel covers blend into a hot mess. Cantata in C Major similarly references pop culture and society. The opening video clip is reminiscent of the Network's famous scene where Albert Finney's character demands everyone walk to their window, open it, and yell, "I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take this anymore." Functioning as catharsis, the screaming becomes almost hypnotic with the electronic drones amplifying the musicality of it. Then after it's all done, there's a calm, an apology, time runs out, and a woman announces she "feels better already." Classic happy Hollywood ending.
Ronnie Cramer first rose to (relative) popularity with his acclaimed feature film Even Hitler Had a Girlfriend, which was about a lonely security guard who spends all of his savings on call girls in under two weeks. Ten years later, he made his first feature documentary called Highway Amazon, which follows a female body builder who travels the country wrestling men in hotel rooms. These are weird films. You should check them out.
Jeffrey Bowers is a tall mustached guy from Ohio who's seen too many weird movies. He currently lives in Brooklyn, working as a film curator. He's the Senior Curator for Vimeo's On Demand platform. He has also programmed at Tribeca Film Festival, Rooftop Films, and the Hamptons International Film Festival.