LOVE KILLS DEMONS, a film in 12 parts
LOVE KILLS DEMONS is a series of twelve short films by Jim Helton, the editor of BLUE VALENTINE, who followed artist Chris Rubino off and on for a full year, documenting his studio, his creative process, individual projects as well as his body of work as a whole. It’s an incredible feat of filmmaking and a tour de force for Rubino, who insists that even though he didn’t find the project invasive ([Helton] is quite low key with his cameras which really allowed me to just work and not think too much about the filming…It was a special experience work with this crew around me. All of these guys are like brothers), he did remark that “due to the speed that I was working in this film there was a higher amount of spontaneity in the work,” producing pieces that were different than if he was “left 100% on [his] own.”
It begins with an introduction to Rubino’s studio in Brooklyn, which features a big wall covered with ephemera he’s collected over the years – posters, scraps of paper, bits torn from magazines. When I visited his studio it’s what immediately caught my attention; I stood still and stared, moving my eyes from thumb-tacked piece to piece. Clearly, it grabbed Helton too, and his camera moves much like my eyes did, going over the wall in detail for the entirety of “Part 1: Studio.”
It’s also a fitting introduction because it’s what Rubino himself sees every day when he goes into his studio to work. From there, we move to a series of overheard shots (the time-lapsed ones are particularly fun to watch) of Rubino displaying transparencies of his work on a lightbox. We see small pieces, parts of larger works and then entire, full-size images. The film, like Rubino’s work, is a collage, building until we get to the later films in series that show him creating full pieces from start to finish.
Dividing a larger film into twelve separate parts is a compelling way to tell a story, one especially suited to profiling Rubino. We not only see how the different parts of his life and his work come together, but we begin to notice patterns, recurring color schemes and motifs, and we get to feel as if we’re discovering them right alongside the artist himself, day by day, piece by piece, over the course of an entire year.
You can purchase the limited edition collection of screenprints Rubino made to accompany the film.