Every year the Librarian of Congress selects 25 films to include in the National Film Registry, which recognizes and preserves American films that are “culturally, historically or aesthetically” significant. One of the films selected last year is “Fake Fruit Factory,” a 20-minute-long documentary made in 1986 by former Occidental College professor Chick Strand. Strand arrived at the Eagle Rock campus in 1970 as the school’s filmmaking program got underway. Working only in 16-milimeter film, Strand distinguished herself as an avant-garde filmmaker focuses on ethnographic documentaries.
The “Fake Fruit Factory” features her artistry as she tells the story of the Mexican women who made papier-mâché fruits and vegetables. The Library of Congress, in a summary of last year’s National Film Registry selections, said of Strand’s work:
In “Fake Fruit Factory,” Strand employs a moving camera at close range to create colorfully vivid images often verging on abstraction, while her soundtrack picks up snatches of conversation to evoke, in her words, “the spirit of the people.” “I want to know,” Strand wrote, “really what it is like to be a breathing, talking, moving, emotional, relating individual in the society.”
Strand died in 2009 at age 78.