Thursday, September 27, 2012

10/10/12 Shirley Clark

THE COOL WORLD 10/10/12  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. Written by alfiehitchie  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

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

10/3/12 & 10/10/12 Shirley Clark next two weeks!

The Connection 10/3/12

"Eight drug addicts are waiting for their connection in a New York apartment belonging to Leach. Jim Dunn, a budding filmmaker, has agreed to pay for the fix if the addicts will allow him to film the connection scene. After the men get their shots, they talk Dunn into trying heroin in order to understand the subject "first hand." He becomes ill and while sleeping, Leach takes an overdose that puts him into a coma. Dunn recovers, with the aid of the connection, and writes off the film as a failure." IMDB

"Fifty years ago, a movie called The Connection opened in New York — then closed after two showings. Police shut down the theater and arrested the projectionist.
The movie is about drug addicts, and the language is sometimes frank — too frank for 1962 standards. The director was an independent pioneer named Shirley Clarke, whose movie has been restored and is back in theaters, soon to be followed by restorations of nearly all her work." NPR

"Shirley Clarke was a vital part of the burgeoning post-war American film movement. She was one of the first signers — and the only woman — of the New American Cinema manifesto in 1961. For her first feature film, she decided to take on a controversial play by Jack Gelber that was running off-Broadway. The Connection was a play within a play within a jazz concert. It portrayed a group of drug addicts, some of them jazz musicians, waiting in a New York loft apartment for their drug connection. A producer and a writer, meanwhile, have entered their lives to study them and write a play about them. The brilliantly written Beat dialogue was blended with jazz music written by the great pianist Freddie Redd.
Clarke changed the character of the writer to Jim Dunn, a young, preppy filmmaker out to make a name for himself by documenting the "scene." As Clarke was best friends with the hot new indie directors, she added a level of humor by poking fun at the cinema verité movement. She also chose to keep the play's one-set constriction, but she combined the French New Wave’s mobile camera with a whirling choreography of movement and jazz to create an exciting, kinetic film that was acclaimed at the Cannes International Film Festival as a masterpiece. Yet even knowing the avant garde nature of the play and her film, little could Clarke recognize the furor the film was about to create.
Although Hollywood had previously depicted drug addiction in the recent years, it was mostly of the good men gone bad scenario with tragic endings. THE CONNECTION, with the raw, graphic depiction of drug addicts that Gelber wrote for the stage,  A hit at Cannes, it was promptly banned by government censor boards for indecent language and a struggle ensued to have it theatrically screened in the United States. After a two-year battle, the producers and director ultimately won in court and as important as it was judicially, it was sadly a case of too little too late as the film lost its timeliness and failed at the box office. But among filmmakers, it was highly influential. The film has been out of distribution since the early 1980s.
Arthur Ornitz's black-and-white cinematography sparkles on the screen, and the performances of Freddie Redd and saxophone legend Jackie McLean sound impeccable in the new UCLA restoration. The release of THE CONNECTION is one of the cinema events of the year!
The Connection was preserved by the UCLA Film & Television Archive with funding by the Film Foundation." Milestone

Thursday, September 20, 2012


Wednesday September 26, 2012 8pm
FILM Dept. Screening Rm 1

1981, 16 mm, colour, silent, 17 min.
"Brakhage describes the impulse to make the 'Murder Psalm' as coming from a nightmare he had of murdering his mother. The film is made largely from found footage... The most striking imagery comes from an educational film on epilepsy, and Brakhage's film is structured around that preexisting narrative. There is a girl seen in various settings: in a yard gazing into a birdbath into which a bright red ball is thrown; as a rider in a car; as the subject of a medical examination; and as a figure contemplating herself before a mirror and, through a cinematic dissolve, growing into a mature version of herself. Also included in this film is a doctor who seems to explain the cerebral dysfunction that causes her epilepsy... The film material about epilepsy is transformed into a meditation on the social and cultural circumstances of childhood trauma via a visual string of semicircular imagery. By substituting one image for another - for example, the model of the brain for the covered wagon - Brakhage links their meanings and implications. The girl's seizure is made part of the social organization through visual rhyme. Within Brakhage's system, all of the semicircular imagery can be said to 'cause' her traumatic response... A cartoon of a mouse-as-policeman careening forward is integrated into the rest of the film material in a number of ways. The mouse's club is shaped like a penis and at one point, placed like the penis of the cadaver in the autopsy footage. Again, Brakhage is pointing out the phallic nature of violence in general..."     From The Untutored Eye: Childhood in the Films of Cocteau, Cornell, and Brakhage, by Marjorie Keller (Rutherford, New Jersey: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press).

2009, video, color, sound, 63min.
As a child, filmmaker Minda Martin's life was one of poverty, constant relocation and even homelessness. Mixing found footage, historical documents, and personal interviews, she traces her family's history to the forced Cherokee relocation in the 1800s. What emerges is a challenging, heartbreaking and visually-arresting documentary that draws unsettling parallels between land, history, Cherokee culture and American identity. Martin creates a unique cinematic landscape that conveys the trauma of displacement and the reality of poverty.

Minda Martin writes and directs personal experimental documentary and narrative films that explore the underpinnings and disparities of social class in America. Her films and videos have won many festival awards and screened internationally at venues that include the Museum of Modern Art in New York, RedCat, Viennale, Punto de Vista, BAFICI, New York Video Festival, Frameline, Northwest Film Forum, Creteil Films de Femmes, and Mostra/OMNI Video Art Tour. Along with her collection of short films and videos, her features include FREE LAND (2009) and AKA KATHE (2000). Her most recent work, THE LONG DISTANCE OPERATOR, an experimental video made for the omnibus feature film FAR FROM AFGHANISTAN, set to premiere this year.
She received an M.F.A. in film and video from California Institute of the Arts, and a B.A. from University of Arizona. She is currently an Associate Professor in the Visual and Performing Arts department at California State University, San Marcos.
James Stanley Brakhage ( January 14, 1933 – March 9, 2003), better known as Stan Brakhage, was an American non-narrative filmmaker. He is considered to be one of the most important figures in 20th-century experimental film.
Over the course of five decades, Brakhage created a large and diverse body of work, exploring a variety of formats, approaches and techniques that included handheld camerawork, painting directly onto celluloid, fast cutting, in-camera editing, scratching on film, collage film and the use of multiple exposures. Interested in mythology and inspired by music, poetry, and visual phenomena, Brakhage sought to reveal the universal in the particular, exploring themes of birth, mortality, sexuality, and innocence. Brakhage's films are often noted for their expressiveness and lyricism.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

9/19/12 Harry Smith

#No. 10 & #No. 11: MIRROR ANIMATIONS 

# No. 10: Mirror Animations (1956–57) 16 mm, color, 3:35 or 10 min. Study for No. 11. "An exposition[disambiguation needed] of Buddhism and the Kaballah in the form of a collage. The final scene shows Agaric mushrooms growing on the moon while the Hero and Heroine row by on a cerebrum."

# No. 11: Mirror Animations
(1956–57) 16 mm, color, 3:35 or 8 min. Features Thelonious Monk's Misterioso. Cut-up and collage animation. Later expanded to No. 17.

# No. 12: Heaven and Earth Magic a.k.a. The Magic Feature a.k.a. Heaven and Earth Magic Feature (1943-58 or 1950-60 or 1950-61 or 1957-62 or 1959-61) (reedited several times between 1957–62) 16 mm, black & white, mono, initially 6 hours, later versions of 2 hours and 67 min. Extended version of No. 8. Collage animation culled from 19th century catalogs meant to be shown using custom-made projectors fit out with color filters (gels, wheels, etc.) and masking hand-painted glass slides to alter the projected image. Smith explains, "The first part depicts the heroine's toothache consequent to the loss of a very valuable watermelon, her dentistry and transportation to heaven. Next follows an elaborate exposition of the heavenly land, in terms of Israel and Montreal. The second part depicts the return to Earth from being eaten by Max Müller on the day Edward VII dedicated the Great Sewer of London." Jonas Mekas gave the film—which is often regarded as Smith's major work—its title in 1964/65.S

HARRY SMITH (1923-1991)

Harry Smith was an artist whose activities and interests put him at the center of the mid twentieth-century American avant-garde. Although best known as a filmmaker and musicologist, he frequently described himself as a painter, and his varied projects called on his skills as an anthropologist, linguist, and translator. He had a lifelong interest in the occult and esoteric fields of knowledge, leading him to speak of his art in alchemical and cosmological terms.

Enter to MASSART through the South Building, Admissions on Huntington Ave
FILM SOCIETY shows are held in Screening Rm 1 in East Hall in the FILM Department

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

9/12/12 Jodie Mack

A Joy (2005, 3m, 16mm, color, sound)
A music video four Four-Tet’s “A Joy” made with ink and stained-glass contact paper.

Lilly (2007, 6m, 16mm, color, sound)
Animated photo-negatives illustrate a WWII tragedy.

Yard Work is Hard Work (2008, 28m, 16mm, color, sound)
Part experimental animation, part romantic comedy, part light critique of capitalism, this musical follows a pair of newlyweds as they learn the perils of homeownership and life in general.

Posthaste Perennial Pattern (2010 , 3m38s, 16mm, color, sound)
Rapid-fire florals and morning birdsongs bridge interior and exterior, design and nature

Rad Plaid (2010 , 6m, 16mm, color, silent or with live sound)
A series of chromatic intersections.

Unsubscribe 1-4 (2010, 16m, 16mm, color/bw, sound/silent)
Formal studies of domestic objects that enter the home via unwanted junkmail ask
questions and seek answers about cinema, life, and (as always) love.
#1: Special Offer Inside (16mm, 4m30s, color, sound—optical +/- live)
#2: All Eyes on the Silver Screen (16mm x 2, 2m45a, b/w, silent)
#3 Glitch Envy (16mm, 5m45s, color, sound—optical + live)
#4 The Saddest Song in the World (16mm, 2m45s, color, sound—optical + live)

The Future is Bright (2011, 2m45s, 16mm color, live sound)
‘Tis a rhyme for your lips and a song for your sing it whenever the world falls apart”

Point de Gaze (2012, 4m30s, 16mm, color, silent)
Named after a type of Belgian lace, this spectral study investigates intricate illusion and optical arrest.

Blanket Statement #1 (2012, 3m, 16mm, color, sound)
Discordant dysfunction down to the nitty griddy.

Jodie Mack is an independent animator, curator, and historian-in-training who received her MFA in film, video, and new media from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2007 and currently teaches animation at Dartmouth College. Combining the formal techniques and structures of abstract/absolute animation with those of cinematic genres, her handmade films use collage to explore the relationship between graphic cinema and storytelling, the tension between form and meaning. Mack's 16mm films have screened at a variety of venues including the Anthology Film Archives, Images Festival, Velaslavasay Panorama, Onion City Film Festival, Ann Arbor Film Festival, Black Maria Film Festival, and the Robert Flaherty Film Seminar. She has also worked as a curator and administrator with Dartmouth's EYEWASH: Experimental Films and Videos, Florida Experimental Film and Video Festival, Portland Documentary and Experimental Film Festival, Eye and Ear Clinic, Chicago Underground Film Festival, and Chicago's-favorite micro-cinema, The Nightingale. Additionally, Mack is an Illinois Arts Council media arts fellow and the 2010 co-recipient of the Orphan Film Symposium's Helen Hill Award.