Year Released: 2002
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 7 minutes
Click to Expand Credits:
This film is literally a slide show. It seems to have been shot with a camera directly from slides projected onto a screen, and the sound track consists of the clicking of the slide carousel, mixed with atmospheric sound effects which augment different aspects of the story.
Snapshot-like slides are interspersed with intertitles, in which Konefsky tells his tale in words which strike an odd tone, simultaneously garrulous, petulant, defensive, but also amused and detached.
The film concerns a prank which Konefsky organizes in the early 1980s in Bridgeport, Connecticut. It begins with some background information, portraying Bridgeport as a very poor city, located in the immediate vicinity of very wealthy communities such as Westport. In the college where Konefsky teaches, the entire faculty is fired for organizing a labor action; the school is subsequently sold to the Moonie cult and becomes a laughing stock of academia. The mayor of Bridgeport is indicted on multiple counts of corruption.
Actor Paul Newman (a resident of Westport) insults Bridgeport in an interview. Konefsky and friends retaliate by changing all the road signs which say “Welcome to Westport” to read “Welcome to Bridgeport.” The slides show how the pranksters had to balance on each other’s shoulders in order to reach the signs, all of which are quite high up. The reaction of the public is a mixture of confusion, amusement, and admiration.
Konefsky admits that the prank was silly and possibly immature, which is the single best thing about this film. As a New Yorker, I’m familiar with the intense stress caused by poor communities which are located right on top of wealthy communities. The road sign prank may have been silly, but it was also a witty, imaginative way of giving voice to the anger and shame that comes from having rich people constantly looking down on you.
Posted on December 22, 2003 in Reviews by David Finkelstein
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