In Carriage Trade, Sonbert interweaves footage taken from his journeys throughout Europe, Africa, Asia and the United States, together with shots he removed from the camera originals of a number of his earlier films. Carriage Trade was an evolving work-in-progress, and this 61-minute version is the definitive form in which Sonbert realised it, preserved intact from the camera original.
With Carriage Trade, Sonbert began to challenge the theories espoused by the great Soviet filmmakers of the 1920’s; he particularly disliked the ‘knee-jerk’ reaction produced by Eisenstein’s montage. In both lectures and writings about his own style of editing, Sonbert described Carriage Trade as ‘a jig-saw puzzle of postcards to produce varied displaced effects.’ This approach, according to Sonbert, ultimately affords the viewer multi-faceted readings of the connections between individual shots. This occurs through the spectator’s assimilation of ‘the changing relations of the movement of objects, the gestures of figures, familiar worldwide icons, rituals and reactions, rhythm, spacing and density of images.’
Postcards from Warren pays affectionate homage to Sonbert’s globetrotting endeavors by creating an original college from postcards that Sonbert sent to filmmaker Jeff Scher over the course of their more than twenty-year friendship and collaboration.
Warren Sonbert, USA 1972, 16 mm colour, 61 min
Postcards from Warren
Jeff Scher, USA, 1999, 16 mm, 1 min