Wednesday, December 3, 2014

12/10/14 Sidney Peterson

The Cage 1947 28 min.

We were trying to say goodbye to an epoch, the one into which we had been driven in Apollinaire's "Petite Auto." The adventures of a detached eyeball. Resources limited, content almost unlimited. Most celebrated shot: artist with head in birdcage. "Marks the emergence of a naive-sophisticated style." -- S. P.
 Petrified Dog 1948 19 min

Scrambled Alice in Wonderland with brutiste track. Pierre Schaeffer (musique concrete) threatened to sue. "Chases within chases. A mother runs after a child. A man ... seems to be pursuing himself. A woman who has been nibbling her lipstick through half of the film is pursued by a man. The pursuit of art is represented by a painter daubing at a landscape in an empty frame." -- TDOTS

Mr. Frenhofer and the Minotaur 1949 21 min

Based on Le Chef-d'Oeuvre Inconnu, Balzac's Abstract Expressionist parable. "... should be studied by experimental filmmakers in every detail." -- Parker Tyler "We are at the crux of Peterson's genius: his ability to formulate a new perspective and to test its implications." -- P. Adams Sitney

Lead Shoes 1949 17 min

"THE LEAD SHOES issued almost totally without flaw ...." -- Parker Tyler

Man in  Bubble 1981 16 min

There is a wild sound in the streets where once bells called men to prayer and choruses chanted in march time to the decibels of an infernal brimstone cacophony from which the damned in a Boschean hell sought refuge in the solitude of the philosopher's egg, the transparent bubble of the alchemical Hermetic vessel. MAN IN A BUBBLE is a short documentary about personal acoustical space in an age of intolerable noise. Some stuff their ears against the electronic smog. Others wear headphones. A few scream and very few begin to discern in the deafening uproar the emergence of a Tondichtung worthy of the urban primitivism which gives birth to it. The film was shot in Chicago and New York. "Peterson has always been good on street photography, and the fragmented views of New York and Chicago have a jangling abrasive kick." -- J. Hoberman, The Village Voice "I think you've managed one of the happiest most hopeful visions of yr life withOUT one jot of sentimentality to spoil it. The 'dancers'/skaters, each wrapped in his or her own 'bub' is a tough weave of HARD joy ... Bravo!" -- Stan Brakhage 

Film Society Schedule Fall 2014

9/9    My Name Is Johah
10/15 Andean-Garde: Experimental Documentation in the Andes(1963-2014) Juan Daniel
11/12 Lost Lost Lost by Jonas Mekas
11/19 Saul Levine
12/3   Film by James Broughton
12/10 Films by Sydney Peterson

Tuesday, December 2, 2014


1946, 24 Min, BW
"For his first film Peterson collaborated with fellow experimental filmmaker James Broughton. Inspired by the exhuming of a San Francisco cemetery the two men set out to “try every trick the camera knew.” Chronicling a man’s exploration of a decrepit house populated by aging women, The Potted Psalm divides the protagonist into both a young man and a headless figure, revealing Peterson’s interest in the depersonalization of character, which would continue throughout his career. Using intense close-ups and a disjointed narrative, Peterson combines the erotic with the decaying in this depiction of Freudian desires."
—Eight Weeks of Film History: 1940-1959 Harvard Film Archives 2006

1948, 22 Min, BW
“Accepting the potentialities of the medium to manipulate both time and space, Broughton brings past and present head-on as he regards with adult feelings his childhood family and friends. Grown-ups romp like children, and by their magnified infantilism playfully underscore such basic traits as sadism, sensuality, arid egocentricity."
—Melbourne International Film Festival

1950, 11 Min, BW
A satiric version of the Hero Quest, about a naive country boy's search for his ideal Love in the big city (San Francisco) with crazy frustrations at every turn. Broughton himself enacts bewildered Jimmy. Photography by Frank Stauffacher; jazz score by Weldon Kees. "Hilarious and very witty. Mr. Broughton is an odd bird in the film aviary." Manchester Guardian

1974, 20 Min, COLOR
"James Broughton’s Testament is the purest and to my mind the most powerful of the film autobiographies of the seventies. In style and in technique it is quite eclectic; its most moving sequence comes right our of Hill’s Film Portrait, a sequence of photographs in reverse chronological order. Yet an extreme and profound transformation of the strategies of autobiography is the result of Broughton’s art."  
P. Adams Sitney “VISIONARY FILM: The American Avant-Garde 1943-2000″

+ tba possible bonus film

(November 10, 1913 – May 17, 1999) was an American a poet, playwright, and filmmaker. He was part of the San Francisco Renaissance, a precursor to the Beat poets. He was an early bard of the Radical Faeries as well as a member of The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, serving her community as Sister Sermonetta.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

11/19/14 Saul Levine

1967-73 16mm, b/w, silent, 10min
"[The film] intercut[s] two Charlie Chaplin shorts centering on policemen with newsreel footage of police crowd control and street fighting. Levine questioned the social implications of media, not only by making temporal, aesthetic and contextual comparisons of his sources, but by presenting this discomforting ragout in a film gauge whose cost, availability and mobility make simply working it an intrinsically political gesture. Levine also understood how to use very fast cutting in old-style 8mm, a difficult task in that the splice is in the middle of the frame. A cut is therefore void of illusion, and in fact threatens to obliterate a weak image [...] Levine's adroit use of graphic action from the newsreels and close-ups from the shorts changed the rapid cuts from awkward stumbles to almost profound superimpositions." - James Irwin, Artweek

1966-68 16mm, color, silent, 4min

1968 16mm,b/w, silent, 6.5min
A study in grey and white of my parents. An evening film. - S.L.

l968-69, 16mm, b/w, silent 10min

1969, 16mm, color, silent 7.5min
"Note on snowstorms in February-March '69. The restoration of the landscape. Begun to show friends on west coast violent beauty of this period. Childhood memories, snowball fights, sleddings, etc., and how I felt about Medford where I live kept entering into the film. The principal birds in the film are the blue jay and the crow, both beautiful, smart and ruthless." - Saul

1984-89, 16mm color, sound, 15.5min

1999-2000, 16mm, b/w, silent, 10min
A portrait of my father in the last days of his life. "Nothing is as whole as a broken heart" hasidic saying. S.L. 

* subject to change, possible bonus film! 

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

11/13/14 Lost Lost Lost by Jonas Mekas

About this Film
"These six reels of my film diaries come from the years 1949-1963. They begin with my arrival in New York in November 1949. The first and second reels deal with my life as a Young Poet and a Displaced Person in Brooklyn. It shows the Lithuanian immigrant community, their attempts to adapt themselves to a new land and their tragic efforts to regain independence for their native country. It shows my own frustrations and anxieties and the decision to leave Brooklyn and move to Manhattan. Reel three and reel four deal with my life in Manhattan on Orchard Street and East 13th St. First contacts with New York poetry and filmmaking communities. Robert Frank shooting The Sin of Jesus. LeRoi Jones, Ginsberg, Frank O'Hara reading at The Living Theatre. Documentation of the political protests of the late fifties and early sixties. First World Strike for Peace. Vigil in Times Square. Women for Peace. Air Raid protests. Reel five includes Rabbit Shit Haikus, a series of Haikus filmed in Vermont; scenes at the Film-Maker's Cooperative; filming Hallelujah the Hills; scenes of New York City. Reel six contains a trip to Flaherty Seminar, a visit to the seashore in Stony Brook; a portrait of Tiny Tim; opening of Twice a Man; excursions to the countryside seen from two different views; that of my own and that of Ken Jacobs whose footage is incorporated into this reel.
The period I am dealing with in these six reels was a period of desperation, of attempts to desperately grow roots into the new ground, to create new memories. In these six painful reels I tried to indicate how it feels to be in exile, how I felt in those years. These reels carry the title Lost Lost Lost, the title of a film myself and my brother wanted to make in 1949, and it indicates the mood we were in, in those years. It describes the mood of a Displaced Person who hasn't yet forgotten the native country but hasn't gained a new one. The sixth reel is a transitional reel where we begin to see some relaxation, where I begin to find moments of happiness. New life begins. What happens later, you'll have to see the next installment of reels ..."
-- Jonas Mekas from Jonas

Jonas Mekas was born in 1922 in the farming village of Semeniškiai, Lithuania. He currently lives and works in New York City. In 1944, he and his brother Adolfas were taken by the Nazis to a forced labor camp in Elmshorn, Germany. After the War he studied philosophy at the University of Mainz. At the end of 1949 the UN Refugee Organization brought both brothers to New York City, where they settled down in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
Two months after his arrival in New York he borrowed money to buy his first Bolex camera and began to record brief moments of his life. He soon got deeply involved in the American Avant-Garde film movement. In 1954, together with his brother, he started Film Culture magazine, which soon became the most important film publication in the US. In 1958 he began his legendary Movie Journal column in the Village Voice. In 1962 he founded the Film-Makers' Cooperative, and in 1964 the Film-Makers' Cinematheque, which eventually grew into Anthology Film Archives, one of the world's largest and most important repositories of avant-garde cinema, and a screening venue.
During all this time he continued writing poetry and making films. To this date he has published more than 20 books of prose and poetry, which have been translated into over a dozen languages. His Lithuanian poetry is now part of Lithuanian classic literature and his films can be found in leading museums around the world. He is largely credited for developing the diaristic forms of cinema. Mekas has also been active as an academic, teaching at the New School for Social Research, the International Center for Photography, Cooper Union, New York University, and MIT.
Mekas' film The Brig was awarded the Grand Prize at the Venice Film Festival in 1963. Other films include Walden (1969), Reminiscences of a Journey to Lithuania (1972), Lost Lost Lost (1975), Scenes from the Life of Andy Warhol (1990), Scenes from the Life of George Maciunas (1992), As I was Moving Ahead I saw Brief Glimpses of Beauty (2000), Letter from Greenpoint (2005), Sleepless Nights Stories (2011) and Out-takes from the Life of a Happy Man. In 2007, he completed a series of 365 short films released on the internet -- one film every day -- and since then has continued to share new work on his website.
Since 2000, Mekas has expanded his work into the area of film installations, exhibiting at the Serpentine Gallery, the Centre Pompidou, Musée d'Art moderne de la Ville de Paris, the Moderna Museet (Stockholm), PS1 Contemporary Art Center MoMA, Documenta of Kassel, the Museum Ludwig in Cologne, the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, and the Venice Biennale.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

11/5/14 James Harrar


**Vlaamperd, HD, 2014, 4'08", Flemish horse race.

*Tian, HD, 2013, 6'42", Shanghai 

*Stardust, HD, 2013, 7'00", beauty, dazzle and excess of old Las Vegas.

*Death & the Injun, HD, 2013, 4'43", imagined encounter of a Native American meeting Death.

*Invisible College, HD, 2013, 4'36", a small group of mystics journey to discover hidden truths, invoke the night and participate in an initiation that reveals secret teachings resulting in departing their physical form.

*Alembic, HD, 2013, 3'36", themes of light, distillation, color and breath.

*Prime, 16mm, 2012, 4'49", for Tom Chomont, spirit portrait evoking psychic states through suggestions with playing cards, hands and face.  

*Prasad at the Mandir, HD, 2011, 6'15", thorough examination of Mandir Temple with themes of spiritual journey and facing cosmic awareness.

*Astro Mutable Equation, HD, 2011, 6'35", meditation and portrait of friend, musician, Marshall Allen of the Sun Ra Arkestra.

Noh Drama, HD, 2010, 5'36", Edo Period Noh Play depicting the life of husband and wife together with a suggestion of domestic violence.

Biblioteca Sol Oriens, 16mm, 2005, 8'15", special library of Hermeticism is examined, revealing  a rare collection of texts and imagery.

Ornamental, 16mm, 2005, 3'40", a union of opposites in the Alchemical cycle.

Bandolier, 16mm, 2005, 6'15", a meditation of Anasazi culture, cliff dwellings and Southwest land forms.

Thompson-Neeley House, s-8, 1993, 3'00", a house George Washington slept in becomes a study of filmic time and space.

The Yellow Lion, 16mm, 1998, 6'00", a gentle dance, ritual, allegory, meditation.

**World Premiere
* US Premiere
Event Synopsis:

James Harrar’s experimental and highly personal film/video images will be viewed with a live musical rendering of soundtracks for each work. The musical concepts are created, directed and performed by Harrar, often with local musicians.

The project places attention on exploring the moving image with live performance and when combined, attempts to reveal deeper levels of interpretation within Harrar’s visceral film poems. This presentation also celebrates the early beginnings of cinema, providing live music to support and elevate the silent movie experience.

With the performance, the viewers will experience the spiritual states of mind through Harrar’s visual poetry, comparable to a moving painting.

He will be investigating aspects of his Tiwa/Isleta Pueblo Native American identity. Harrar believes that language is the essential lifeblood of any culture. Unfortunately, many Southwestern Native American tribes are losing the very soul of their heritage. Mythical Tiwa stories and mystic chants are presented in the Tiwa (Tuei) dialect (a historic first in New York). 

Press quote:

"What is most refreshing about James extraordinary lack of pretension with which the whole thing is carried off...Throughout the performance, one is reminded of Nietzsche's definition of maturity as the attainment of the seriousness of a child at play."  Robert Barry, The WIRE
James Harrar has been crafting densely lyrical film-poems since the late 1980’s exhibiting at prestigious venues all over the world, such as the Museum of Modern Art, Anthology Film Archives, Millennium Film Workshop, The Andy Warhol Museum and Yamaguchi Center for Art & Media to name a few. 

His films are personal in a very direct and explicit sense. In an intimate form, Harrar attempts to imprint thoughts, dreams and conceptual ideas onto the open-minded viewer while examining the possibilities of perception. 

Throughout his career, Harrar has tried to give the viewer new visual experiences while challenging fixed notions of filmic language and individual seeing. Since 1995 James has been collaborating with Marshall Allen, creating live music to Harrar’s silent films.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

10/29/14 Jessie Stead

Return to the Moon

Videos by Jessie Stead
A selection of recent solo and collaborative cinema works by Jessie Stead, including Page 59, Ambient Whiskey Slap and the world premier of Meanwhile at the Moon Hotel, from the Nocturnes episodics: "A reverie in 10 overlapping Meanwhiles at a downloaded lunar hotel..."
Filmmaker present!!
Jessie Stead (NY, Bard MFA ’07) produces and distributes work in overlapping patterns of cinema, installation, music and other forms of cross-disciplined art. Posing as a film director in an on-going IRL performance piece, her motion-pictures have been screened internationally, recent presentations include the Greater New York Cinema exhibition at MoMA PS1, the London Film Festival, Anthology Film Archives, and the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit. Collaborative events, performances, and installations have been presented at a wide variety of venues including Performa 13, Fridericianum, Akershus Kunstsenter, Real Fine Arts, nightclubs and many other places. Stead is the experimental percussionist in the art-band #hariboner. 

Tuesday, October 21, 2014



+ IRON-WOOD 2009, 7 minuets, 16mm
Iron-wood is an abstract visual exploration of the deeply fissured 'cog-like' bark of the Australian tree Eucalyptus Sideroxylon - Red Ironbark.

+ FLYSCREEN 2010, 8 minutes, 16mm
Flyscreen is a camera-less ‘rayogram’ film, made by layering fly-screen material onto raw 16mm film stock and then exposing to light. The sound heard is the optical sound of the images passing the 16mm optical sound head.

+ SEOUL ELECTRIC 2012, 7 minutes, 16mm
A North Asian metropolis. Electricity wires draped like thick webs adorn the street scape. Explosive sparks of colour electrify the frame. Filmed in Seoul in black and white. Colourised during processing using coloured torch light.

+ TREE LINES 2009, 7 minutes, 16mm
High country, high contrast. A collision of lines and patterns from the wood of burnt trees.

+ GINZA STRIP 2014, 9 minutes, 16mm
The Ginza of fable and memory. This is the first film I have finished using the 'chromaflex' technique that we developed. This is a very much hands on colour developing procedure that allows selected areas of the film to be colour positive, colour negative, or black and white.

+ ETIENNE'S HAND 2011, 13 minutes, 16mm
A movement study of a restless hand. Made from one five second shot. Sound constructed from an old French folk tune played on a hand cranked music box.

+ BLUE LINE CHICAGO 2014, 10 minutes, 16mm
Architectural distortions of the second city.

+ DOT MATRIX 2013, 16 minutes, 2 x 16mm
Dot Matrix is dual 16mm film involving two almost completely overlapping projected images. The ‘dots’ were produced by photogramming sheets of dotty paper (used for manga illustrations) directly onto raw 16mm film stock. These dots were then contact printed with ‘flicker’ (alternating black frames) creating strobing 'interruptions' to the dots. The drama of the film emerges in the overlap of the two projected images of dots. The product they make
is greater than the parts. The sounds heard are those that the dots themselves produce as they pass the optical sound head of the 16mm projector.
"While many commercial film labs are shutting there doors, a counter movement is taking place in the form of the international network of artist-run film labs. The Australian experimental filmmaker Richard Tuohy – a prominent figure in this cinematic d-i-y turn -- sees this new phase for the traditional media as an opportunity; as a chance for the film artist to directly engage with the once inaccessible, now too often discarded tools of the traditional film lab.

Tuohy's hand crafted cinema presents us with multiple visual manipulations in camera, in printer techniques, in experimental processing procedures and in projection to sculpt an activated and reanimated reality which collectively represent a distinctively cinematic experience. More visual then cerebral, these pictures move, and with an energy unique to film. While covering a range of techniques, strategies and visual themes, they each share the same tenacious unfolding of a set of abstract possibilities from out of singular visual ideas. This program presents eight hand-processed and d-i-y printed 16mm film works from the artists recent output. The films, though diverse, are all highly abstract and tightly structured and share a fascination with the visual possibilities of basic traditional film technology."

This program features a selection of his work from the past ten years, illustrating both Tuohy’s resourcefulness and versatility, and the inexhaustible, ever-surprising potential of Super-8mm and 16mm film.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014


Works presented:

+ Solo puedo mostrarte el color / I can only show you the color
Dir. Fernando Vilchez 25 min – Perú – 2014
In the high plateau of the Peruvian jungle, a mining company forces their way into the depths of the forest to search for mineral resources. Known for their fearlessness, the Awajun people stand up to the invaders. But in the fight for their land they are brutally struck down by the government. Violence breeds counter-violence. A video workshop is the way of follow the trail of violence. Short film premiered at Berlinale’s official competition of 2014.
 + Adelante / Forward
Dir. Miguel Hilari (Bolivia) 7 min – Bolivia – 2014
Energy in a time and space. An exploration of the relationship between dance and ritual. Hilari’s first documentary feature “The Corral and the Wind” premiered at Cinema du Reel 2014 and won best film at FIDOCS in Chile.

+ Los abducidos / The Abducted
Dir. Juan Daniel F. Molero 11 min – Perú – 2011
An unkown man with a camera invades a hermetic native village in the middle of the Peruvian jungle, when suddenly strange disappearances start happening in this ethnographical sci-fi film. Molero’s first feature, Reminiscencias (2010), screened at MoMA’s Modern Mondays, Rotterdam and FIDMarseille.

+ Enterprisse
Dir. Kiro Russo 9 min – Bolivia – 2010
The man, the city, the machine. Once he’s up in the Enterprisse, he has to follow the instructions. Russo’s next short film, Juku, premiered at Sundance 2012.

+ Radio Belén
Dir. Gianfranco Annichini 11 min – Perú -1983
Located in the middle of a market and a port on the Amazon jungle, a poor radio station can only broadcast through speakers. The filmmaker reduces his commentary to a few final shots, the rest is from the voice of the people.

+ Vía Satélite: En vivo y en directo / Via Satellite: live
Dir. Armando Robles Godoy 10 min – Perú – 1973
Five radial narrations of the same soccer match of the Peruvian national team juxtaposed with a suggestive montage of empty streets and emblematic monuments of the country’s capital city, Lima. Robles Godoy is Peru’s first and main auteur but still undiscovered for international audiences. His films, like The Green Wall (1970), are a mysterious combination of lyrical images and fragmented structures.

+ Revolución / Revolution
Dir. Jorge Sanjinés 9 min – Bolivia – 1963
Made out of fragments of footage filmed while making propaganda documentaries for the state lottery, and edited according to theoretical precepts of Soviet montage, Revolución could be considered Bolivia’s first experimental film. In addition to using cinema to resist dictatorships and American imperialism, Jorge Sanjinés was also one of the first to theorize the representation of non-Western subjectivities in cinema.

Juan Daniel F. Molero (b. 1987) is a Peruvian filmmaker and cultural producer.  Alumni of Trainee Project for Young Film Critics IFFR 2010, Buenos Aires Talents 2010, and Berlinale Talents 2011. His films have screened internationally at places like MoMA, Rotterdam, FIDMarseille, BAFICI, FICValdivia, La Habana and Flaherty NYC. Has programmed for Festival Cine//B in Chile, Festival Lima Independiente and Museum of Art of Lima, in Peru, Cineclub Universidad Central in Colombia, Festival de Cine Radical in Bolivia, and for MassArt Film Society, Nightingale Theatre and Cinema Tropical, in the US. 

Tiempo Libre is a cultural organization based in Lima (Peru) created in 2011 by Juan Daniel Molero. It’s a young team focused on the development, promotion and experimentation of a complex audiovisual language via workshops, production, screenings and other moving image events.
Cinema Tropical is the leading presenter of Latin American cinema in the U.S.
Founded in 2001 with the mission of distributing, programming and promoting what was to become the biggest boom of Latin American cinema in decades, CT brought U.S. audiences some of the first screening of films such as Amores Perros and Y Tu Mamá También. Through a diversity of programs and initiatives, CT is thriving as a dynamic and groundbreaking 501(c)(3) non-profit media arts organization experimenting in the creation of better and more effective strategies for the distribution and exhibition of foreign cinema in this country.


Thursday, October 2, 2014

10/8/14 Mary Helena Clark

The Sound of Running in my Voice
Films by Mary Helena Clark
TRT: 60 minutes

After Writing, Clark, 2008
3 min., 16mm
Scraps of text gathered from molding filmstrips and peeling chalkboards are photographed and intercut with pinhole shots from a schoolhouse.

Orpheus (outtakes), Clark, 2014
6 min., 16mm
"Using footage from Cocteau's Orphée, Mary Helena Clark optically prints an interstitial space where the ghosts of cinema lurk beyond and within the frames." - Andrea Picard

The Sound of Running in My Voice, Clark, 2014
8 min., Digital video
We ape naturalism. (Overheard)

And the sun flowers, 2008
5 min., digital video

By foot-candle light, 2011
9 min., digital video
A walk through the proscenium wings. You close your eyes and suddenly it is dark. (MHC)

"In the dream we call cinema there is no either, no or. We move from cave to forest to theater and back again, certain only that we are elsewhere, at least until the reel runs out. Here is objective truth, or “hypnosis” by another name." - Ben Russell

The Plant, Clark, 2012
8 min., digital video
A spy film, built on the bad geometry of point-of-view shots.

Sound Over Water, Clark, 2008
5min, 16mm
Blue sky and blue sea meet on emulsion.

The Dragon is the Frame, Clark, 2014
14 min., 16mm

An experimental detective film made in remembrance: keeping a diary, footnotes of film history, and the puzzle of depression.

What are you thinking?
I am thinking of how many times this poem
Will be repeated. How many summers
Will torture California
Until the damned maps burn
Until the mad cartographer
Falls to the ground and possesses
The sweet thick earth from which he has been hiding.
What are you thinking now?

-       Jack Spicer, Psychoanalysis: An Elegy

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

10/1/14 Fern Silva

Fern Silva has created a body of film, video, and projection work that has been screened and performed at various festivals, galleries, museums and cinematheques including the Toronto, Berlin, Locarno, Rotterdam, New York, Edinburgh, Images, Oberhausen, London and Ann Arbor Film Festivals, Anthology Film Archive, Gene Siskel Film Center, Wexner Center for the Arts, San Francisco Cinematheque, Museum of Art Lima, Brooklyn Academy of Music, Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston, and the Museum of Modern Art P.S.1. He was listed as one of the Top 25 Filmmakers for the 21st Century in Film Comment Magazine’s Avant-Garde Filmmakers Poll, is the recipient of the Gus Van Sant Award from the 49th Ann Arbor Film Festival and was nominated for Best International Short Film at the 2012 Edinburgh International Film Festival. He received a BFA from the Massachusetts College of Art, MFA from Bard College and is currently based in Brooklyn, NY and Chicago, IL where he teaches at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. 
"Showing a preference toward making/taking footage while traveling, Fern Silva's films are filled with nods to the histories and aesthetics of home movies, ethnographic film and experimental film. Through a variety of collage-techniques and sophisticated sonic strategies, the works retain an alluring density that compels repeat viewings. Beyond the density, they have great levity and are propelled by their own internal rhythms. Busted pop songs and radio fuzz keep the party moving even if its attendants may not be sure where." -Jesse Malmed, Bad At Sports
Fern Silva‘s framing and in-camera editing techniques create a unique visual and narrative logic in which time and space are of little concern. From such far-flung locals as France, Turkey, and Egypt come a kaleidoscopic array of images, each depicting some expansive landscape, city sprawl, or sociocultural ritual. The technique is jarring yet intriguingly rhythmic.” — Drew Hurst, Chicago Reader
"Taking up a long-standing tradition of the avant-garde, the films of Fern Silva constitute a restless travelogue of a filmmaker exploring the world—but this is a far different world than that of Silva’s cinematic forebears, one pervaded by a post-millenial tension that no longer allows one the privilege of looking without consequence. Aware of this danger, Silva casts sidelong glances in his films, tempering his desire to experience the world head-on with an acute (and often humorous) awareness of the compromised situation of being a traveller in a foreign land."-Chris Kennedy, TIFF Lightbox

Saturday, September 20, 2014


16mm print, 102 min 1964
Produced by Frederick Wiseman and directed by Shirley Clarke and based on the novel by Warren Miller
Filmmaker Shirley Clarke ("The Connection") directs this powerful, stark semi-documentary look at the horrors of Harlem ghetto slum life filled with drugs, violence, human misery, and a sense of despair due to the racial prejudices of American society. There is no patronizing of the black race in this cinematic cry for justice. A fifteen-year-old boy called Duke is ambitious to buy a "piece" (a gun) from an adult racketeer named Priest, to become president of the gang to which he belongs, and to return them to active "bopping" (gang fighting) which has declined in Harlem. It is a clearly patent allegory of an attempt by Duke to attain manhood and identity in the only way accessible to him - the antisocial one. from IMDB

The Cast
THE COOL WORLD, screenplay by Shirley Clarke and Carl Lee, based on the novel by Warren Miller and the play by Mr. Miller and Robert Rossen. Directed by Miss Clarke and produced by Frederick Wiseman. Released by Wiseman Film Productions. At Cinema II, Third Avenue and 59th Street. Running time: 105 minutes.
Duke . . . . . Hampton Clanton
Luanne . . . . . Yolanda Rodriguez
Priest . . . . . Carl Lee
Blood . . . . . Clarence Williams 3d
Angel . . . . . Joe Oliver
Miss. Dewpont . . . . . Marilyn Cox
Mrs. Custis . . . . . Gloria Foster
Grandma . . . . . Georgia Burke
Littleman . . . . . Gary Bolling
Mr. Shapiro . . . . . Jerome Raphael
Hurst . . . . . John Marriott
Rod . . . . . Bostic Felton
Beep Bop . . . . . Charles Richardson
Warrior . . . . . Bruce Edwards

Miss Clarke uses her camera to assemble facts and observe, to establish the nature of the environment and chase after the characters who interest her. She follows them, watches them closely, regards them in intimate, personal scenes. But the attitude in which she functions as a recorder is that of the outsider looking in.
New York Times Review
Scorpio Rising is a 1963 experimental short film by Kenneth Anger, starring Bruce Byron as Scorpio. Themes central to the film include the occult, biker subculture, Catholicism, and Nazism; the film also explores the worship of rebel icons of the era, namely James Dean and Marlon Brando. As with many of Anger's films, Scorpio Rising contains no dialogue – it instead features a prominent soundtrack consisting of 60s pop, including songs by Ricky Nelson, The Angels, The Crystals, Bobby Vinton, Elvis Presley, and Ray Charles. "WIKIPEDIA"

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

9/17/14 Hope Tucker

 Hope Tucker visits Film Society with new selections from THE OBITUARY PROJECT, a compendium of media that expands what we know as a daily narrative form as it gives new life to the antiquated documentary practice of salvage ethnography.
Tucker has animated cyanotypes of downwinders; photographed fallen witness trees and decaying civil rights era landmarks; recorded mobile phone footage of the last public phone booths of Finland; written the text of a video out of paper clips, a Norwegian symbol of nonviolent resistance; and retraced the path of protest that closed the only nuclear power plant in Austria.
Works from the project have recently screened at 21er Haus, Vienna; 25fps Festival, Zagreb; Ann Arbor Film Festival; European Media Art Festival, Osnabrück; International Film Festival, Rotterdam; Iowa City Docs; Museo Nazionale del Cinema, Torino; New York Film Festival; Seattle International Film Festival.