Saturday, April 18, 2009

Weekend Avant-Garde Film and Video Festival (in celebration and use of Ubuweb's new video embedding function)


Alain Robbe-Grillet 'N. a pris les dés ... aka N. took the dice' (1971)
This film is evidently a reworking of Robbe-Grillet's previous film L' Éden et après, using alternate takes and re-editing that has the order of scenes to be governed by 'a throw of the dice' (shown in new footage). Directed and written by Alain Robbe-Grillet. Cast: Sylvain Corthay, Catherine Jourdan, Richard Leduc, Lorraine Rainer,
Pierre Zimmer

Alexander Kluge 'Brutality in Stone; Yesterday Goes on for Ever' (1968)
Alexander Kluge's theories of the cinema are founded on the conception that mainstream narrative cinema—not only Hollywood, but also importantly, 'Papa's Kino' (the post-war German cinema denounced in the Oberhausen manifesto)—works by a process of closing off the ability for the spectator to engage their imaginative faculties while watching a film. Kluge does not simply take for granted the notion of spectator as passive observer. For him, under the right circumstances—that is, those circumstances created by the right kind of film—the spectator can assume a much more active role during the screening of a film.

Bas Jan Ader 'Fall 1 (Los Angeles 1970)' 'Fall II (Amsterdam 1970)', 'I'm Too Sad To Tell You' (1971), 'Broken Fall (Geometric)' [West Kapelle - Holland], 'Broken Fall (Organic)' [Amsterdamse Bos - Holland], 'Nightfall'
Dutch/Californian artist Bas Jan Ader was last seen in 1975 when he took off in what would have been the smallest sailboat ever to cross the Atlantic. He left behind a small oeuvre, often using gravity as a medium, which more than 30 years after his disappearance at sea is more influential than ever before.

Terayama Shuji 'The Emperor Tomato Ketchup' (1971), 'The Cage (Ori)' (1964), 'An Introduction to Cinema for Boys and Young Men'
The content of The Emperor Tomato Ketchup is intentionally graphic and disturbing, meant to exploit the purile fixation of man to the socially, aesthetically and ethically abhorrent. The scenes described and the photos included herein may verge on the edge of voyeuristic exploitation if examined with a socially conservative eye. This is not the intent of this author, nor of the original work, though aesthetic and social schema, which define works as pornographic and obscene have been purposefully co-opted, exploited, and subsequently rejected by this film.

Chris Marker 'Junkopia' (1981)
One day, at the stroke of evening, on Emeryville beach in San Francisco, where unidentified artists, leave, without anyone knowing, sculptures manufactured with items that have washed ashore from the sea. This includes a short introduction by arte, approx. 1:12 secs long, with the film being around 6 minutes itself....there are 2 intertitles in the film itself, giving the latitudanal and longitudanal co-ordinates of the beach.

Paul McCarthy 'Class Fool' (1976)
His work is often an exercise in abjection and self-humiliation and an exorcism of infantile feelings that sometimes involve grotesque forms of female drag and a fair amount of physical pain. In ''Class Fool'' of 1976, Mr. McCarthy holds a doll between his legs, and hops about on a ketchup-slicked floor, his feet regularly and violently slipping out from under him.

Marie Menken 'Glimpse of the Garden' (1957)
Filmed in a garden through a powerful magnifying glass, filmmaker Marie Menken's Glimpse of the Garden is a simple visual poem accompanied by the sound of birdsongs. When Glimpse of the Garden was shown at the Cinemathèque Française in 1963, Jonas Mekas reported that the French audience laughed at it, embarrassed by the film's benign simplicity. Suffice it to say that Glimpse of the Garden represents Menken's interest in pure visuals and essentially feminine point-of-view.

Terry Riley 'Music with Roots in the Aether' (1975)
Music with Roots in the Aether, an artwork by Robert Ashley, is comprised of seven two-hour programs featuring noted American experimental composers, created during the 1970's. This episode features a performance by Terry Riley and an interview.

Jack Goldstein 'MGM' (1975)
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1975, Goldstein's iconic two-minute tour de force, brings media's subliminal power to the fore. The roar of the movie studio's trademark lion here is looped into a (neurotic) repetition, making it easy to discern that the picture moves partly in reverse. This attempt to pass off "backward" for "forward"--a quirk of the source material underscored by Goldstein's manipulation--stands as a particularly compelling visual analogy for the cyclical nature of history and exploitation, as well as for the endless diet of recycled stories Hollywood dishes out.

Nick Zedd 'War is Menstrual Envy' (1992)
Iconoclastic underground filmmaker Nick Zedd directed and starred in this visually brutal tale, in which a collection of short vignettes eventually cohere into a larger narrative. Set in a post-apocalyptic future, the story finds a handful of ragged survivors attempting to communicate with dolphins, while another cadre of survivors have made it their crusade to destroy all the world's religions. Meanwhile, mutilation, bizarre sex, and deformity are among the commonplace horrors which dominate the arid landscape. War Is Menstrual Envy features performances from Annie Sprinkle and Kembra Pfahler.

Jack Smith 'Normal Love' (1963)
By all accounts, Jack Smith was difficult but charismatic, a magical trickster manically involved in all kinds of projects at all times. Never far from poverty in spite of a few grants here and there, he was gifted in seducing actors and friends to work for free and in "appropriating" materials he needed for his art. In Normal Love, Smith discovery and Warhol regular Mario Montez appears as a mermaid lying in repose like an odalisque, occasionally twitching, in a milk bath. She's terrorized by a fake werewolf but remains typically unfazed, protected always by the pose. The film also has an elaborate cataclysm that mock those in films like Cobra Woman and Ali Baba.

Agnes Varda 'Blank Panthers - Huey!' (1968)
This riveting documentary, “Black Panthers - Huey!”, directed by French filmmaker Agnès Varda transports you to the pivotal Free Huey rally held on February 17th, 1968 (Newton’s birthday), at Oakland Auditorium in Alameda, California. Newton, the charismatic young college student who, along with Bobby Seale, created the Black Panther Party, had been jailed for allegedly killing a police officer. His arrest–widely believed at the time to be a setup–galvanized Party support throughout the nation and led to a boom in Party membership, bringing a new level of public attention to the Panthers’ cause.

Yukio Mishima 'Yûkoku aka Patriotism' (Rite of Love & Death)' (1966)
Playwright and novelist Yukio Mishima foreshadowed his own violent suicide with this ravishing short feature, his only foray into filmmaking, yet made with the expressiveness and confidence of a true cinema artist. All prints of Patriotism (Yûkoku), which depicts the seppuku of a army officer, were destroyed after Mishima's death in 1970, though the negative was saved, and the film resurfaced thirty-five years later. New viewers will be stunned at the depth and clarity of Mishima's vision, as well as his graphic depictions of sex and death.

Frank Zwartjes 'Pentimento' (1979)
This film is dominated by an icy blue. In a monumental building a group of scientists submit women to obscure experiments, in which sexuality and cruelty constantly merge into one another. When the film was released, this horrifying game of power and powerlessness was condemned severely by a militant group of feminists. The criticism was undeserved. After all, 'Pentimento' is an art-historical term for a hidden image underneath the actual image giving an indication of how the latter evolved to its current state. The film does not endorse the lopsided power relations in our world but actually challenges them.

Philippe Garrel 'Les Hautes Solitudes' (1974)
A personal portrait of the American actress Jean Seberg. "Jean Seberg saw the film and she said 'yes, it is very good'. When I asked her if we could leave it like it was, in black and white, without dialogue, she replied 'yes I'm happy if you leave it like that' (...) while shooting in Marrakech she said to me 'in the end, for an Arab, a film is a film. A film with Jean Seberg is a film with Jean Seberg.'" Philippe Garrel


heliotrope said...

the perfect thing for the weekend...absolutely needed.
I'll call after you have some time to settle in.
until then we send our love,

heliotrope said...

oh and jumpin' Jiminy...Ethier and Manny went off today! I'm trying to not get my hopes up too much about the Dodgers...but come on! With Hudson's hitting for the cycle the other day, and then this homer derby...well...They are playing just fine thank you very much.

PS...I just noticed that "Jiminy" could stand for Jimi NY...not that that has anything to do with anything.

Esther Planas said...

My computer
so shite
that i can't see
Do i know Scott?
Who must be this
My dixlexia
and brain damage
does not have
a clue of who
i know any more....
oh dear! dream as well!!
when ??
who knows...
one day
Esther does LA..!!