Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son (film)

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Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son
Directed by Ken Jacobs
Release date
  • 1969 (1969)
Running time
115 minutes
Country United States

Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son is a 1969 experimental film made by Ken Jacobs. The film is considered a landmark in avant-garde and structural filmmaking, and remains Jacobs' best-known work.[1] It was admitted to the National Film Registry in 2007, and is part of Anthology Film Archives' "Essential Cinema" repertory.[2][3]

In a meticulous experiment in rephotography, Jacobs deconstructs, manipulates, and recontextualizes a small fragment of found footage: a 1905 film showing a group of people chasing a thief through a barn, "shot and probably directed by G.W. ‘Billy’ Bitzer, rescued via a paper print filed for copyright purposes with the Library of Congress," according to Jacobs.[4] Jacobs' refashioning of the footage is an essayistic meditation on the nature of cinematic representation; in the words of Chicago Reader critic Fred Camper, it is "a film about watching movies."[5]


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