Film review: Sixty Six is emotionally-charged


Sixty Six, a compilation of 12 emotionally-charged shorts assembled during the years of 2002-2015 by Los Angeles-based artist Lewis Klahr, is a film created using a compilation of found images and sound to create a sort of story representative of American society and culture.

There is an almost dreamlike quality to Sixty Six’s visual style perhaps taken from a colour scheme associated with the vibrancy of Pop Art era. Klhar gathers newspaper clippings, magazines, comic books and other printed material layering them as collage, a collective combination of varied materials, which take on new meaning thanks to assemblage. Paired with an array of sounds including songs and noises, the carefully edited sequences transform into moments or playful recreations of universally relatable emotions in scenes open to personal interpretation.

There is no doubt the influence of pop culture and mass advertising in a world seeped in symbolism and visual language. Sixty Six is both a representation of American culture, evident in the title’s possible reference to the iconic U.S. Route 66, as well as a time capsule for Klhar’s own personal influence in filmmaking having spent his youth in 60s and early 70s America. The film seems an extended metaphor for both personal and collective journey perhaps, which may have influenced patterns of storytelling in how he constructs his story collages in Sixty Six.

Although most of Sixty Six’s source material is drawn from the influence of culture which has built up over the course of many periods of time, Klahr’s use of illustrated advertising materials, pop culture and print materials are representations of people in the form of drawings, artworks, graphic comic-book like visuals. It seems generic, but the use of such material creates a sense of timelessness and nostalgia thanks to the film’s almost surreal impression of time through the use of stop-motion photography that brings each on screen character to life.

Sixty Six showcases Klahr’s ability to draw you in purely by his clever use of cut out material, camera and editing to evoke meaning in structure. To me it seems that the brain tends to create associations or links between a jumble of images and sounds in order to sort out things, to possibly create structure out of chaos.

Collecting fragments of otherwise useless information and creating assemblages of story to make sense of some sort of plot when in actual fact there could have been none is something I think Sixty Six made me aware of, film’s ability to take on new forms of meaning thanks to context, audience, and form.

Catch the film at the “Essential Independents: American Cinema, Now” festival, taking place in the following cities:
Tuesday 17 May to Wednesday 1 June – Sydney
Wednesday 18 May to Wednesday 1 June – Melbourne
Thursday 19 May to Wednesday 1 June – Brisbane and Canberra
Thursday 26 May to Wednesday 8 June – Adelaide

See the full programme and find out more here:



Review by Addy Fong.