America Is Waiting, 1982

Assembled from found film culled from propaganda reels, public service announcements, and movie westerns and set against a percussive, industrial soundtrack by David Byrne and Brian Eno, Bruce Connor’s America Is Waiting is a terse, but potent statement on the Reagan-era reactionary culture of moral righteousness, military aggression, and Cold War paranoia. Juxtaposing images depicting circa 1950 Americana that exemplify idealized notions of innocence, benevolence, rugged individualism, and glorified violence that define the national psyche – a child playing with a realistic toy rocket launcher, and identification with a hero riding a white horse who uses his gun to exact justice – Connor subverts the implicit morality of these conflated images in the closing shot of a lamb violent suckling in an open meadow: reflecting both society’s role as naïve consumers and complicit perpetuators of cultural (and sociopolitical) dysfunction.

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