Ross Lipman

  • Bruce Conner, Crossroads, 1976, 35 mm, black-and-white, sound, 37 minutes. Still from the 2013 digital remastering.

    CONSERVATION AT A CROSSROADS: THE RESTORATION OF A FILM BY BRUCE CONNER

    IN 1996, I was working at the Pacific Film Archive in Berkeley, California. Although I was the cataloguer, Edith Kramer, the PFA’s director at the time, knew I had a background in film printing and processing, and she let me hang around the screening room when the archive was preserving Crossroads (1976), Bruce Conner’s profound reworking of the 1946 Bikini Atoll atomic-bomb test footage.1 The film, a thirty-seven-minute montage choreographing twenty-three black-and-white shots of the underwater nuclear explosion to the accompaniment of a transcendent dual score by pioneering synthesist Patrick