Digitally Restored, 2017
Soundtrack: "The Assassination of John F. Kennedy: Four Days That Shocked The World" originally released by Colpix Records, 1963
Following the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in November 1963, Conner worked for years on editing the footage, ultimately producing eight different versions. As he told his friend the filmmaker Stan Brakhage, “If the film was completed, then [Kennedy] was as dead as they had made him.” In the final version, shown here, intense flickering lights accompanied by the sound of a radio commentator are combined with newscasts and commercials, mimicking the structure of a television broadcast. The insistent repetitions in the first half defy narrative closure and amplify the media’s role in this traumatic national event. The second half explores the larger landscape of commodification and spectacle, offering a pointed analysis of the tensions within our consumer-driven, televised culture and American mythology.