Per the famous Godard quote that inspired found-footage fetishist Gustav Deutsch’s latest avant-essay—“All you need to make a film is a girl and a gun”—there is indeed a pistol-packin’ mama that kick-shoots the proceedings. (That’s Annie Oakley scoring bullseyes, for those of you playing along at home.) But it’s females, rather than the firearms, that Deutsch mostly irises in on: Women, often undulating and in various states of undress, are a constant presence throughout. Between borrowed scenes of vintage melodramas, Kinsey Institute research and rarer-than-rare archival treasures, a loose story of original sin insinuates itself into your subsconscious. Greek philosophers are quoted while techno and primitive chanting play on the soundtrack; Eros and Thanatos get namechecked over shots of erupting volcanoes and graphically copulating couples. It’s the sort of experimental-cinema cacophony that sounds like pretentious masturbation when you describe it, yet is completely mesmerizing to experience firsthand.
Like Deutsch’s two previous Film ist features (both of which Anthology Film Archives will also screen this weekend), this installment occasionally overplays the whirligig montages, with the antique-porno fixation detrimentally dominating the second half. But if nothing else, this moving-picture mixtape proves how jokey that old maxim is. You don’t need a girl or a gun to make a film. You just need celluloid, an editor and the ability to connect the dots.