Rob Nilsson (U.S., 1996)
Artist in Person
Rob Nilsson's powerful Oedipal drama revolving around pool–hall hustling is populated by a mix of professional and nonprofessional actors. Village Voice critic Amy Taubin contends that Chalk puts "Lars Von Trier and his hype–happy Dogme spawn in perspective....Chalk grew out of Nilsson's involvement with the [Tenderloin Action Group], where video is used as a teaching tool....Nilsson combines a performance-oriented, Cassavetes-like realism with a painterly, expressionist sense of color and composition. At first, Chalk seems like a slice of life, but by the end it has the heightened quality of a pool–hall legend. Collaborating with cameraman Mickey Freeman, Nilsson exploits the mobility, intimacy, and low-light capability of the video camera. With an electronic palette made up of a dozen shades of brown punctuated with hits of acid greens and iridescent violet, Chalk is in every sense a dark film. Its beauty is the result of pushing the unique qualities of video to their limit."
• Written by Don Bajema, Nilsson. Photographed by Mickey Freeman. With Kelvin Han Yee, Don Bajema, Denis Concetta Cavaliere, Johnnie Resse. (145 mins, Color, 35mm, From Pacific Rim Media)