FRAGMENTS 83 a film by Richard Millen
Not long ago, I showed a friend of mine a short film I made in 1983. She had known little about my life in the 1980s beyond a few anecdotes, and somehow it was this movie, set in New York City early in the AIDS epidemic, that I thought to share with her.
I've often wondered what it would be like to return to the subject of that earlier time in the context of the present day, and Fragments 83 has emerged as the response to these considerations. Repurposing old footage into this new film, I wanted to link the world of the past to my own present, intimate preoccupations. I wanted to see whether the sense of freedom I had making that first movie could be rediscovered, knowing now what the losses have been. So I revisited old haunts and viewed them with fresh—though older—eyes; I sifted through old snapshots, letters, historical archives; I found myself connecting the end of a long relationship to the beginning of my artistic work as a filmmaker. But what could these investigations offer a contemporary audience? Longing? Nostalgia? Consolation? And what could they offer me?
Fragments 83 attempts to answer these questions, and to bear witness to a time both terribly close and long since disappeared.