Mr. Saul's Utopia

super-8 film series, 2005-2009

This project emerged from a study of naive filmmaking as a naive art (see Splice magazine article). This study quickly moved into an investigation of fatherhood as it is the patriarch of the family who was the dominant controller of the 8mm cameras and their presentation. I created the satire of this patriarch, Mr. Saul, a domineering self righteous yet well meaning man to narrate home movies of my own family. The attractive thing about "Mr. Saul" is that he has the enviable position of being CERTAIN about everything in his life. It is irrelevant if he is right or wrong, all that matters is that he never has doubt. This is where his utopia springs from. It is with a nod to Voltaire who said "Uncertainty is an uncomfortable position. But certainty is an absurd one.” that I have found great joy in the creation of these works.

I have been presenting this series of films under the title “Mr. Saul’s Utopia”. These are made up of super-8 film footage, shot in a traditional home movie style, and accompanied by a voice over by a character called Mr. Saul. Super-8 film, due to its technical nature, was frequently the sole domain of the father or patriarch of the household. He would therefore decide where, when, and what was worthy of being filmed and thus would be creating a subjective portrait of his family. Mr. Saul does not believe in subjectivity, he believes that all people either do, or should, think exactly like he does.

The titles of the films are didactic descriptions of the content of the films similar to how Mr. Saul himself would have titled them. These titles hint at the subtext of the critique on masculinity inherent in each film. Humor is also intentional.

In many cases, these films were presented as live readings with the original super-8 footage, packaged to dvd for later screenings. These constitute my very first professional public performances.

A Summer Day With Mr. Saul and His Family 2005 (3:30)     
Mr. Saul’s Definitive Portrait Of His Family 2005 (11:00)
Mr. Saul Takes His Family on an Educational Outing 2006 (3:30)
Mr. Saul’s Day At The Beach 2006 (3:30)
Mr. Saul on How To Be A Father 2007 (5:00)

Mr. Saul's Ultimate Getaway 2009 (5:00)

Part Two:

Mr. Saul's Digital Utopia resulting in: 2012 web video series

Continuing adventures:

Mr. Saul Adventurs (writings, 2013, Tumblr)

Mr. Saul versus the Voice Recognition Software 2014 (4:30)

Mr. Saul's Mid-Life Crisis (Bad Film #50) 2015 (2 minutes)

Mr. Saul and Son 2016 (Super-8, 5:20)