Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Showing May 7 @ MassArt Film Society

Tales of the Forgotten Future by Lewis Klahr

1988 - 1991, video, 133 minutes

Klahr's four part, twelve film Tales of the Forgotten Future is, in his own words, an epic, "delirious genre hop through the twentieth century trying on different masks of identity."

Lewis Klahr is one of the most original and prolific artists of his generation. Intensely archeological in his approach to autobiography and cultural ephemera he created two major series in the eighties and nineties- PICTURE BOOKS FOR ADULTS and THE TALES OF THE FORGOTTEN FUTURE... J. Hoberman has called Klahr “the reigning proponent of cut and Paste.” one reason the casual viewer might find surface resemblance to the work of experimental animators like Harry Smith, Stan Vanderbeek and Larry Jordan. But Klahr more appropriately belongs to the lineage of filmmakers like Anger, Harrington, Kuchar, Warhol and Cornell. Artists who also had a profound understanding and affinity with Classical Hollywood while forging permanent departures through radical form. And like Jacques Tourneur, Klahr is a creator of atmospheres, not mere evocations of mood and setting but ontological terrains where event and emotion register with archetypical power and dreamlike intensity.
- Mark McElhatten

Part 1: The Morning Films
Lost Camel Intentions 1988, b&w, 10 min
For the Rest of Your Natural Life 1988, b&w, 9 min.
In the Month of Crickets 1988, b&w, 14 min.
Klahr's 1988 break-through is a masterpiece of populuxe surrealism that, set in a mysterious hotel-cum-department store, manages to coax a remarkable degree of eroticism out of a few suggestive maneuvers and the escalating soundtrack buzz that gives the movie its title. (J Hoberman)

Part 2: Five O'Clock Worlds

The Organ Minder's Gronkey 1990, b&w, 14 min.
Flashing the date '1957' on the screen, [this film] is an economical evocation of nuclear paranoia that suggests both the original D.O.A. and Godard's Alphaville.
(J Hoberman)
Hi-Fi Cadets 1989, color and b&w, 11 min.
A small classic during which a TV is emblazoned '1960,' boldly appropriates John F. Kennedy, providing his image with a strange form of afterlife. A cutout JFK wanders into a neighborhood tavern and drinks Mr. Boston with the black patrons until he passes out, alone at the bar. Klahr uses both photographs and editorial cartoons of Kennedy and, at one point presents him as the janitor of what seems to be an all-girl high school where the English class is studying Henry IV.
(J Hoberman)
Verdant Sonar 1989, color and b&w, 2 min.

Part 3: Mood Opulence
Cartoon Far 1990, color and b&w, 6 min.
A moodily psychedelic, flashback-and-moire-ridden noir set to the Shangri-Las' 'Past, Present and Future,' a tormented reworking of Beethoven's 'Moonlight Sonata.'
(J Hoberman)
Yesterdays Glue 1989, b&w, 14 min.
Fashion models, arranged in some sort of space craft, are subjected to various kinds of mechanical sex. (In one daringly organic bit, a viscous drop of fluid appears on one of the photos.)
(J Hoberman)
Elevator Music 1991, color and b&w, 14 min.
Klahr's X-rated Who Framed Roger Rabbit, a suburban fantasia that makes iconic use of thermostats, high heels, and an outsize box of Jell-O, mixing a photograph with various cutouts and drawings to effect a range of simulated sex acts. Some of the images come from soft-core comix, but what's astonishing is the psychic energy with which Klahr is able to invest them-I mean, after all, they're only pictures.
(J Hoberman)

Part 4: Right Hand Shade
Station Dramam 1990, b&w, silent, 14
Untitled 1991, b&w, silent, 21 min.
Untitled 1991, b&w, silent, 4 min.