Wednesday, August 19, 2015

9/2/15 The Sleepers...Films of Mark Lapore

A Depression in the Bay of Bengal
Mark LaPore | 1996 | 28 minutes |16MM
"A DEPRESSION IN THE BAY OF BENGAL is a 28-minute color film shot while on a Fulbright Scholars Fellowship to Sri Lanka in 1993-1994. I went to Sri Lanka with the idea that I would remake Basil Wright's and John Grierson's 1934 documentary Song of Ceylon. After spending three months there I realized just how impossible that would be. Wright's film was formally innovative and visually brilliant but his experience was not to be revisited. Each of the places he filmed still exist, but thirteen years of ethnic war have colored the way in which those places can be portrayed. I have made a film about travelling and living in a distant place which looks at aspects of daily life and where the war shadows the quotidian with a dark and rumbling step."...- Mark LaPore

The Sleepers
Mark LaPore | 1989 | 16 minutes | 16MM
Memory, as well as the residue of information in text and film from Sudan, led me to make THE SLEEPERS in order to resolve the impression that the third world is present in the first world as an idea and a condition. THE SLEEPERS is a film about how notions of culture are often defined by information received indirectly - information that frequently violates the particulars of people and place and makes questionable one's ability to portray specific individuals as representatives of culture. THE SLEEPERS concludes with a description of an African girl cleaning up after a meal being read over the image of a red storefront in New York's Chinatown. Time and space contradict, then collapse to suggest a new third world city; a city of the imagination, where rural Sudan, China and Manhattan exist simultaneously.- Mark LaPore

The Glass System
Mark LaPore | 2000 | 20 minutes | 16MM
"THE GLASS SYSTEM, made from images shot in New York and Calcutta, looks at life as it is played out in the streets. Every corner turned reveals activities both simple and unfamiliar: a knife sharpener on a bicycle; a tiny tightrope walker; a man selling watches in front of a department store on Fifth Avenue; a hauntingly slow portrait of the darting eyes of schoolgirls on their way home; the uncompleted activities of a young contortionist. The sound in the film (which is from a Bengali primer written by British missionaries) is a meditation on how the English language teaches ideas about culture which are often incongruous. The disjunction between what you hear and what you see evokes reflections about the impact of globalization and the hegemony of Western-style capitalism. - Mark LaPore

Mark LaPore | 2002 | 10 minutes | B&W | SILENT
Shared intimacy mingles with unabashed voyeurism in a distilled, complex rumination on the pleasures and problems of gazing. Mark LaPore had intended to create a soundtrack for this film, but never did. However, it was initially shown and circulated as a silent work, so it was decided to release MEKONG into regular distribution as-is. - Mark Toscano

Kolkata Mark LaPore | 2005 | 35 minutes | 16MM
A portrait of North Kolkata (Calcutta), this film searches the streets for the ebb and flow of humanity and reflects the changing landscape of a city at once medieval and modern." - Mark LaPore

Joseph Cornell | c. 1940s | 6MIN | 16MM

Mark LaPore was an experimental ethnographic filmmaker who made several films in the Sudan, India and Sri Lanka, as well as various parts of the U.S. over a period of nearly thirty years. A dedicated iconoclast and personal artist, LaPore strove to document and portray the cultures with which he connected in ways that were true to his experiences as a traveler as well as being honest reflections of people and scenes that he was witnessing. LaPore worked against conventions of ethnographic narrative, using cinema at its most fundamental level as an objective tool that could also be harnessed for personal response and expression. He was also an influential teacher at the Massachusetts College of Art, and many of his students have gone on to become significant filmmakers in their own right. LaPore's tragic and premature death on September 11, 2005, robbed American independent cinema of one of its most original and dedicated talents. - Steve Anker