“Who is Bozo Texino?” Screening

Directed, photographed, edited by Bill Daniel
2005, 56 min, B/W
Photographed on 16mm and Super 8, mastered on Digibeta NTSC
Suggested $5 donation at the door.

We are happy present another monthly screening at 327 Braun Court. This month's film Who is Bozo Texino? is the picaresque chronicle of a 16-year search for the source of a ubiquitous rail graffiti—a simple sketch of a blank-staring character with an infinity-shaped hat and the scrawled moniker, “Bozo Texino”—a drawing seen on railcars for over 80 years. Daniel rode freight trains across the West carrying a Super-8 sound camera and a 16mm Bolex, interviewing tramps and brakemen and in his quest discovered the roots of a folkloric tradition that has gone mostly unnoticed for a century. Taking inspiration from Beat artists Robert Frank and Jack Kerouac, the film functions both as a subcultural documentary and a stylized fable on wanderlust, outsider identity, and escape.

"About 20 years ago I sanctimoniously departed from the shackles of straight society on a west-bound freight train on a quixotic quest to find the origin of a mysterious box car graffiti. With some difficulty, my adventures culminated in the making of a film, Who is Bozo Texino? which since completed has somehow not facilitated my re-admission into the stability of society, but merely shifted the mode of my chronic vagabondage from living on freight trains and shooting film, to living in a van and showing film. I’ve screened the movie in likely over 400 venues, from the Museum of Modern Art, to the Slab City RV Park, and earned numerous citations for my efforts; a Guggenheim Fellowship, Illegal Inhabitation of a Motor Vehicle, and a prized NYC Open Container Violation." –Bill Daniel

“Bill Daniel’s homegrown epic is as kinetic and raggedly beautiful as the trains he hopped to make it. Using the search for the origin of a near mythical example of railroad graffiti as a point of departure, Bill made a film about freedom as literal passage across the land. Corporations brand things to say they own them, but there are ways in which humans have marked things to say they can’t be owned.” –Jem Cohen

“…a gloriously rough-edged elegy for an America that is being swept away before our eyes.
Daniel's film manages a near-perfect union of radical form and radical content, in less than an hour manages to say more about life, art, America and the simple joy of filmmaking than most directors manage in decades.” –Neil Young's Film Lounge

“I am not going to hold back any enthusiasm… it is the best movie I have ever seen.” –Josh from Edmonton

 

Posted on May 21st, 2011