The new pawn is thrown back into the mirror world and from there relives the story of the old pawn. Finally, the Son of Pawn returns to a chess game similar to that of chapter 1, but with altered squares and alien pieces residing thereupon.


Q: Tell us, Mr. Holt, when and where did you make your film THE SERIAL OF PAWN?
A: During the years '65 to '78 in the corners of various small rooms.

Q: You mean, you spent 13 years in some corner pushing around a piece of plastic?
A: Well, yes. Six years on and off, rested six. Then a year or so for the sound track. Another year to pay for it.

Q: But why? What kind of obsessive-compulsive are you anyway?
A: I was hungry for an in-depth experience. I didn't find any in the world around me, so I made one up.

Q: Kind of like a monk drawing in The Book Of Kells, eh?
A: Yes, in a sense. In another sense, it was a challenge to make trivial things meaningful in some way, profound or otherwise.

Q: And maybe, vice versa?
A: Yes, and vice versa. It satisfied a certain impishness to turn profundities into ironies.

Q: Building your own personal pyramid, it sounds like. But why so long? It seems such a masochistic enterprise for such a funky product.
A: Well, besides the physical difficulties—learning to work the equipment, building sets, drawing pictures, playing the music, synchronizing the sounds, moving objects 24 times for each second of film—there was the psychological anxiety which paralyzed me often for months and then years at a time. Not knowing sometimes for a month or two what I had done or was doing continually built up anxiety. It was like working in a vaccuum. There was no immediate feedback.

Q: Isn't this the nature of the medium, though, that every animator has to contend with?
A: I don't think it's simply the nature of animation that's paralyzing; I think it's the anxiety we feel in our dependency upon machines that paralyzes. All machines are animated objects. The animation camera makes us aware of this property in all machines.

Q: You're saying that the animation camera, because it itself is a machine, is a way of studying this relationship of man and machine? Go into that.
A: O.K. The camera to me is a mysterious and alien thing. Oh, I can describe how it works optically and mechanically, but I don't understand it. I try to make it a part of my life, take it into myself, and experience an in-depth intimacy with it, but it still remains an unknown, alien, dead thing.

Q: Pardon me, but if you felt this way, why didn't you get married to a real live person?
A: I suppose it was the love affair with technology which all Americans are conditioned to. Some have it with their car, others with their stereo. I had it with a camera.

Q: Sounds almost necrophilious. A love-hate relation actually.
A: Agreed. Love for a machine is not only necrophilious and idolatrous, but narcIssistic, a self- fixation thing. You see, machines are mirrors of ourselves as well as windows into the world. A camera is an extension of our eyes and also a mirror Into our mind's eye. It allows us to see seeing. I wanted to see myself in the act of reflecting. I wanted to freeze consciousness. I wanted what Narcissus wanted: to capture my own Image, to discover its essence, to possess the essence of human being itself.

Q: Impossible. Is this narcissism what you mean by paralysis?
A: Yes. Everyone who loves machines, everyone who seeks to see their true nature in their own creation will eventually freeze their movements and stop their world. Some call it "creative block".

Q: Maybe some of us would be better off if we ceased in our activities and stopped our world? But I notice that your pawn-hero never stops. He, she, or it keeps on going, going, going. It's like a variation on Xeno's paradox: a paralyzed creator gives birth to a hyperactive child.
A: Glad you noticed that. Each chapter in this film is a variation on that same idea: reflection trying to give birth to action, psychokinesis, mind attempting to move matter, the mind trying to capture itself, the container trying to contain itself, the part trying to circumscribe the whole, the catatonia and hypomania that result.

Q: But if that is the overall meaning of THE SERIAL OF PAWN, what does the pawn symbolize? Is Pawn some black spot of contemporary consciousness? Your plot structure resembles the structures of traditional heroic epics. Could Pawn be some kind of epic hero?
A: Perhaps the film could be considered, or interpreted, as an investigation into the nature of the heroic - an examination of what all heroes have in common - and how their story relates to the story each of us must create - for ourselves - given the world we live in.

Q: You mean, like, in a world of mass production and technology, how does one rediscover the heroic act or life?
A: Yes, what is the essential nature of the hero's story? What do Christ and Buddha, John Wayne and Woody Alien all have in common?

Q: Are you implying, then, that everyone might have their own heroic epic to live or express?
A: Yes, and more: until a person discovers for him or herself what their heroic story personally means, that person cannot feel complete, nor can he or she mature as a person.

Q: Hmmm. Heavy stuff. But don't you think we as a civilization have progressed beyond such fairy tales? And speaking of maturity, what's a grown man like you wasting away his life on some silly child's play? Why are you not concerned with reality rather than fantasy?
A: How can you know what reality is until you know what fantasy is?

Q: If you wanted us to know what fantasy and reality were, why didn't you slow your film down so we could find out? Your film goes by so fast we miss all its subtleties, if indeed there are any. There's not nearly enough time to see all the pictures let alone read all the words whizzing by. It's an absolutely frustrating experience. It put me to sleep twice.
A: Well, In The Flight Of The Bumble Bee there isn't time to hear all the notes, but I've never heard anyone complain about it being too fast - except maybe the flutist. Besides, one of the qualities I like best about film Is that it can compress time. My film compresses 13 years into 35 minutes. Think of how frustrated you would be if you had to watch this film for 13 years like I did. You should thank me for the favor I did you,

Q: You're saying, then, that your film is a sort of time capsule seen from the inside out? Why don't you bury it somewhere, then? And yourself with it?
A: Hey, that's not very nice.

Q: I know, but we're running out of space. So let me express my appreciation to you, Mr. Holt, for co-operating in this interview today. I look forward to seeing your next film 13 years from now. But slow it down a little, O.K.? Thank you and good day, Mr. Holt.
A: Thank you, Pawn. Same to you.