William Wegman

film 44 of 46

Name Board

Film Review by Dean Duncan Jul 15, 2015

Not only the last word in shaggy dog, but it completely peters out, an observation/conclusion that’s very much in the spirit of the piece. Name Board is terrific, a picaresque tale, an improvisation that is also or actually a demonstration/critique of improvisation. It solves the challenge contained in some avant garde films, which is that lacking conventional story, we don’t know when they’re going to end. We do here—look at the board!

Also, if you want, here’s an inversion of Aristotle’s hierarchy of dramatic elements. This is what happens when character goes first, instead of plot, as was prescribed. Character, you ask? Well yes, but not only. With the way the names are printed, this is practically an exercise in structural linguistics, or semiotics. A demonstration of how paradigm and syntagm operate, which is to say how we understand, articulate, create our world.

Wegman endlessly does, or we as his extraordinarily well-served audience can endlessly take, so much out of so little.