In 1977, at the age of 33, George Landow changed his name to Owen Land and put filmmaking aside for the following three decades. Prior to this hiatus, Landow had amassed a body of short experimental films that consistently challenged notions of avant-garde cinema. His earliest works not only anticipated and bled into the 1960s structural film movement, but also led to the artist becoming alienated by the scholarly, humorless interpretations that such films were subjected to. Remedial Reading Comprehension sees Landow moving further away from Brakhage-inspired visual experiments, while pushing the “meta” dimension of structural film into a more participatory realm.
Short, fun, and not particularly monotonous, Remedial Reading Comprehension is decidedly less patience-testing than structural films are known for being. Using a series of what at first might seem like disparate images, Landow encourages the audience to question its role in the viewer/film/filmmaker relationship. The result is an amplified awareness of “the gaze of the screen” and the power it has over us, the viewers. Heady intellectual stuff, but not suffocatingly so.