The Dominoes Movie

The Medium is the Message - Marshall McLuhan

The Dominoes Movie is an audio-visual album of the sixties.  Not the chronological 1960s, but the electric, turbulent decade of rock, revolution, and the Vietnam War.  The Dominoes Movie focuses on a succession of thirteen evolutionary tableaus, conveying the director’s view that one thing leads to another, as in the domino effect where one change or event causes a similar one, which then causes an additional one, and so on in a linear sequence.

Dominoes’ Movie creation began in 1976, long before the appearance of “rock videos.”  Its composition marked a radical departure in documentary filmmaking, that continued to separate it from other sixties movies and videos.  Completed in 1989, the Dominoes Movie release was delayed until summer of 2009, when it acquired dynamic distribution.

Traditional documentaries which rely on talking head interviews or commentary are unable to capture the force and spontaneity of those times, because they ignore the sixties’ coda: “the medium is the message.”  In the 1960s, the real protagonists – youth and the disenfranchised – seized the world’s attention by expressing themselves directly through TV news footage and music, “as the whole world watched” and listened.  In a very real sense – and one not sensed quite that way since – the 60s generation’s spokesmen were their musicians.  The seminal rock groups and musicians of the times, The Rolling Stones, Santana, Neil Young, Grateful Dead and Janis Joplin were the de facto spokesmen for the 60s generation.

Between 1965 and 1975, TV news teams, independent filmmakers, and protagonists, as though by mutual design, were drawn together in producing a vivid drama, thousands of hours in length and preserved in archives and private collections.  The Dominoes Movie is a one hour distillation of the most compelling and rarest of that movie footage set to one of the best soundtracks ever assembled on film.

Dominoes Movie opens to a scene that presages the coming musical, social, and cultural revolutions of America in the 60s.  Gunshots, or maybe the sounds of tear-gas canisters being launched, set the score for a group of children performing a hoola-hoop revue for a suburban audience. An imposing American flag drapes the stage backdrop and the faint voice of a newscaster fades in and out.  Barely audible are reports “reminiscent of war-torn cities” and “100 square blocks … on fire…” As the scene fades, it is unclear whether the sounds are applause of an appreciative audience or a fire raging out of control.

[ Domino Effect excerpt  from Wikipedia - The domino effect is a chain reaction that occurs when a small change causes a similar change nearby, which then will cause another similar change, and so on in linear sequence.  The term is best known as a mechanical effect, and is used as an analogy to a falling row of dominoes.  It typically refers to a linked sequence of events where the time between successive events is relatively small.  It can be used literally (an observed series of actual collisions) or metaphorically (complex systems such as global finance, or in politics, where linkage is only a hypothesis).  The classic demonstration of the domino effect involves setting up a chain of dominoes stood on end, and toppling the first domino.  That domino topples the one next to it, and so on.  In theory, however long the chain the dominoes will still fall. ]