Ken Jacobs’s Tom, Tom, the Piper’s Son (1969), a seminal work in the canon of American avant-garde film, can be taken as an example both of modernist reflexivity – it is a film about a film, in a sense – and the libidinal cinephilia that courses through the veins of filmmakers of the ‘independent persuasion’ (Annette Michelson’s wonderful phrase) no less than their devotees. Jacobs’s camera caresses and peruses the surface of an earlier artefact of film’s history in a manner…
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