The Pettifogger

  • Sat Mar 2
The Pettifogger
DIRECTOR: Lewis Klahr

Pettifogger: 1560s, from petty; the second element possibly from obs. Du. focker, from Flem. focken “to cheat,” or from cognate M.E. fogger, from Fugger the renowned family of merchants and financiers of 15c.-16c. Augsburg. In German, Flemish and Dutch, the name became a word for “monopolist, rich man, usurer.” A “petty Fugger” would mean one who on a small scale practices the dishonourable devices for gain popularly attributed to great financiers; it seems possible that the phrase “petty fogger of the law,” applied in this sense to some notorious person, may have caught the popular fancy.—The Etymology Dictionary

A year in the life of an American gambler and con man circa 1963. A diaristic montage full of glimpses, glances, decaying ephemera and elliptical narrative. An abstract crime film and, like many other crime films involving larceny, a sensorial exploration of the virulence of unfettered capitalism. An impressionistic collage film culled from a wide variety of image and sound sources that fully exploits the hieroglyphic essence of cutouts to ponder what appropriation and stealing have in common. Definitely the longest continuous film I’ve ever created.—Lewis Klahr

The film will be screened during Cornell Cinema’s Elegant Winter Party on March 2.  Collage artist and animator Lewis Klahr will visit Cornell Cinema on March 7 to present a program of his short films.

See images from The Pettifogger at

Digital Projection
release year/country