Tuesday, July 16, 2013

July 17th 2013 Fireworks+ programmed by Saul Levine

Sodom by Luther Price
Un Chant D'amour by Jean Genet
Testament by James Broughton
Fireworks by Kenneth Anger

Sodom Luther punched holes in the Super-8 frames and meticulously inserted the porn footage, which moves with jackhammer rhythm against the rapid-cut "Sodom" footage and a distorted medieval liturgy score. The conflation of what look like screaming souls in hell with images of edgy queer sex was enough to get the film banned even from the allegedly sophisticated New York and San Francisco gay festivals, but Price’s Boschian vision deserves a wide audience. This retrospective is a must-see for anyone interested in the far fringes of progressive, obsessive American art. Taken from Bright Lights Film Journal. More information about the films of Luther Price can be found there.

 Un Chant D'amour 
was banned in Berkeley Ca. after police tried to shut down it being shown and the appeals all the way to the Supreme Court were denied. It is a love story set in a french prison involving a guard that cannot allay the love between two inmates using violence and power, but its explicit sexual homosexual content and portrayal of voyeurism caused the verdicts.

TESTAMENT is "James Broughton 's exquisite self-portrait. A major figure in experimental filmmaking and poetry since the 1940s, Broughton views his life and life's work with irony, charm, humor, and a combination of joyous self-love and gentle self-depreciation. Scenes from his earlier films mix the elements of humor, magic, slapstick, melodrama, and romance which mark his aesthetic. A plethora of rich personal symbols is woven throughout the film, tied together by verbal games, Zen poems, anecdotes, songs, a child's prayer, dreams, and visions." – Karen Cooper

Years before the Beats arrived in San Francisco, the city exploded with artistic expressions – painting, theater, film, poetry. And at its center was the groundbreaking filmmaker and poet James Broughton. His remarkable story spans the post-war San Francisco Renaissance, escape to Europe during the McCarthy years, his special film prize at Cannes, his consorting with the Beats, making films celebrating the human body, meeting his soul mate at age 61, becoming a bard of Gay liberation, and dying a conscious death in 1999. Description from IMDb.

 is a witty, somewhat harrowing film that explores the intersection between sex and danger. The dialogue-free film depicts the feverish sexual fantasies of an unnamed protagonist, as he gets roughed up by some sailors and cruises a men’s room, among other highlights. Interspersed with these adventures are some gruesome Bunuel-style imagery involving milk, water, blood, guts and a flaming Christmas tree, as well as striking shots of Hollywood at night. The titular fireworks provide the film’s spectacular, hilarious climax, which I would not dream of spoiling.
Astonishingly, Anger directed Fireworks when he was only 17 years old. Anger’s grasp of technique at that age was as mature as the subject matter of the film. As the frame above makes clear, at this point in time Anger was already adept at dramatic compositions and lighting. Moreover, Fireworks displays a facility with depth and perspective that is also evident in his later works. In particular, Anger makes excellent use of a painted set of a barroom that looks both convincing and slightly surreal. Through these effective production tricks, Anger disguises well the fact that Fireworks was a homemade effort, produced while his parents were away for the weekend.
Description from Cinema Strikes Back. You can find more info there.