White Homeland Commando screening and discussion

February 7, 2016
  • White Homeland Commando discussion

    In conjunction with a screening of White Homeland Commando, this discussion took place on Sunday, February 7 at 356 S. Mission Road, Los Angeles.

  • White Homeland Commando
    (directed by Elizabeth LeCompte, 1992, 63 min.)

    followed by a discussion with Kate Valk, Elizabeth LeCompte, and Lewis Klahr

    White Homeland Commando is The Wooster Group’s skewed take on the police procedural, conceived at the start of the true-crime craze. The first totally stand-alone video by the Group, WHC plays like a transmission from a parallel universe.

    The plot centers on the infiltration of a white supremacist cult by a special unit of the police force. Written for the company in 1987 by Michael Kirby, the teleplay is a Structuralist narrative that interweaves the stories of eight characters – four cops and four white supremacists – and mixes experimental theater strategies with the aesthetics of popular television crime shows like Kojak and Hill Street Blues. Kirby’s Structuralist script also incorporates actual propaganda material from sources such as “The Aryan Nation Archives” and the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith’s Bulletin.

    Under the direction of Elizabeth LeCompte, working with cinematographer Ken Kobland and editor Melody London, the video is abstracted by intentional disruptions – garishly beautiful computer animations, stuttering playback, and sound-sync delays – that invite an impressionistic viewing, akin to late-night channel surfing. The result is an indelible portrayal of the sinister violence and aggression seething within society. Broadcast, just once, on public television, the video was also screened at the New York Film Festival, The Kitchen, MoMA, and was selected for the controversial “politically correct” 1993 Whitney Biennial, where it struck a disharmonic chord with the tone of much of the art on display.

    Shot in various locations in New York, WHC includes original music by David Van Tieghem, and features performances by Wooster Group members Willem Dafoe, Kate Valk, Peyton Smith, Anna Köhler, Jeff Webster, Nancy Reilly, Michael Stumm, and Ron Vawter.

    Sunday, February 7 at 7 PM
    356 S. Mission Road, Los Angeles


    A program was distributed at this event, a scan of this program can be viewed below:

    Tags: Elizabeth LeCompte, Kate Valk, Lewis Klahr, The Wooster Group