Fort Buchanan (2014)
16mm transferred to HD, color, sound, 65 minutes
16 April until 6 May 2016
Screening at 11am, 12:30pm, 2pm, 3:30pm, 5pm
15 April 2016, 7–9pm
(film begins at 7:30pm, with an introduction by Kunstverein München film curator Vincent Stroep)
It’s a war movie without war, centered on those who get left behind to wait. And it’s funny. All of the dialogue in Benjamin Crotty’s 65-minute film Fort Buchanan (2014) was taken from American television shows, re-contextualized into a slippery narrative, then translated into French (with English subtitles). The result is a hybrid equation: dry humor + slapstick + melodramatic pathos + reality television + cinéma vérité = a decidedly queer soap-opera.
Fort Buchanan is set primarily in a French army base, populated by a close-knit group of lonely spouses whose husbands have been deployed to Djibouti (France’s largest military installation in Africa). It revolves around Roger, who struggles to supervise his rapidly-maturing adopted teenaged daughter Roxy, and to overcome his beloved husband Frank's physical and emotional distance. The cast lounges in a bucolic forest, while speaking candidly of their erotic cravings and yearnings for their absent husbands. Disregarding both marital fidelity and sexual orientation, they attempt to seduce one another. Some fail, some don’t. They all go to Djibouti.
Other ‘characters’ operate more structurally — the progression of seasons, news footage, 16mm film grain, a glittering CGI helicopter. War operates as a backdrop to the group’s temperamental and tawdry escapades, yet its horrors remain unseen and unspoken. Instead, domestic conflicts replace foreign conflicts, bringing the war home.