Avant-Garde, Experimental & Non-narrative Films on DVD

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Gregory
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Re: Avant-garde & experimental film on DVD

#76 Post by Gregory » Sun Dec 21, 2008 6:00 pm

Would there be any objections to merging this thread into this one?

Adam
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Re: Avant-garde & experimental film on DVD

#77 Post by Adam » Sun Dec 21, 2008 8:06 pm

yes, one is for those seen or coming out on DVD; the other is for general discussion of the, including theatrical screenings.
The entries in the other thread dealing with A-G film on DVD could be moved to this thread; that's the main issue. But if we have screenings of experimental work at Los Angeles Filmforum that I want to discuss, a thread of A-G film on DVD wouldn't be appropriate.
Of course, i guess it could all be merged into the other thread, without "on DVD." But it seems like a lot of films have a thread under films and then an additional thread for the DVD release of the film, which seems like the same redundancy.

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Gregory
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Re: Avant-garde & experimental film on DVD

#78 Post by Gregory » Sun Dec 21, 2008 8:23 pm

Adam wrote:Of course, i guess it could all be merged into the other thread, without "on DVD." But it seems like a lot of films have a thread under films and then an additional thread for the DVD release of the film, which seems like the same redundancy.
That was what I suggested. I'm sure we can't get rid of all redundancy on the forum but it seemed like this case has resulted in some confusion or missed information: people posting news in this thread that's already been discussed in the other; posting a lot of DVD-related comments in the other thread as opposed to this one.
I'm grateful to sevenarts for compiling his list in the opening post but now that discussion here has moved away from that purpose it acts like a duplicate thread. For most of the forum's history there was only one thread for DVD- and non-DVD-related posts on avant-garde film and that seemed to work well.

Oggilby
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Re: Avant-garde & experimental film on DVD

#79 Post by Oggilby » Thu Jan 01, 2009 3:59 pm

Fantoma's first volume of Kenneth Anger films went OOP a few months ago, but the second pressing will be out on Jan 23rd. This is direct from Fantoma and also confirmed by DeepDiscountDVD. DDD will have it for cheapest, at only $16. FYI, the films in the volume are: Fireworks, Puce Moment, Rabbit's Moon (longer 1971 cut), Eaux D'Artiface, and Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome. The restorations are gorgeous. The extras are audio commentaries by Kenneth Anger, outtakes from Rabbit's Moon, and restoration demos. Also there's a full color booklet. The second volume is not in any danger of going OOP. That volume has Scorpio Rising, Kustom Kar Kommandos, Rabbit's Moon (1979 cut), Invocation of My Demon Brother, Lucifer Rising, and The Man We Want to Hang. Again, great restorations and Lucifer Rising's soundtrack is remastered from the stereo master tapes. Also has commentaries by Anger, alternate soundtrack for Invocation, restoration demos, and a full color booklet.


One question... are there any Len Lye collections out there? I think A Colour Box is on a GPO collection from the BFI and a Thunderbean compilation has his experimental "monkey" animation, but nothing else. Considering we have collections of Norman McLaren and Stan Brakhage films out, it's a pity there's nothing for Lye.

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Gregory
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Re: Avant-garde & experimental film on DVD

#80 Post by Gregory » Thu Jan 01, 2009 4:28 pm

I agree with you that a Len Lye collection is desperately needed. A few of his animated works are scattered around on various DVDs, though. For example, the Len Lye foundation has a DVD of his lectures that includes "Particles in Space." Another disc called "A Box of Birds" that includes his impressive and groundbreaking debut "Tusalava." The opening post of the thread lists a French disc that has "Rhythm" ("Who could ask for anything more?").

Thanks for the update about the Fantoma discs staying in print. I rarely buy anything on release date but I did with those two because (in addition to wanting to see them ASAP) Anger is so erratic that I figured they could drop out of print at any time, but I'm glad they haven't.

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foggy eyes
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Re: Avant-garde & experimental film on DVD

#81 Post by foggy eyes » Fri Jan 02, 2009 7:59 am

Oggilby wrote:One question... are there any Len Lye collections out there? I think A Colour Box is on a GPO collection from the BFI and a Thunderbean compilation has his experimental "monkey" animation, but nothing else. Considering we have collections of Norman McLaren and Stan Brakhage films out, it's a pity there's nothing for Lye.
There's a comprehensive VHS still available from Re:Voir.

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MichaelB
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Re: Avant-garde & experimental film on DVD

#82 Post by MichaelB » Fri Jan 02, 2009 9:42 am

Oggilby wrote:One question... are there any Len Lye collections out there? I think A Colour Box is on a GPO collection from the BFI and a Thunderbean compilation has his experimental "monkey" animation, but nothing else. Considering we have collections of Norman McLaren and Stan Brakhage films out, it's a pity there's nothing for Lye.
I'm happy to confirm that Len Lye's other GPO films will be included on the BFI's other GPO volumes - I think the bulk (if not all) of them are on volume 2, We Live In Two Worlds, out in February.

I'm guessing that the reason we haven't seen a definitive Lye compilation is the reason for the lack of similar career overviews of other equally important artists: the rights and materials situation is much messier than it is for McLaren and Brakhage (both of whom were lucky/canny enough to keep the bulk of their work in one place).

Just to give an example of what a tangle this sort of thing can be, it took three-and-a-half years to put the BFI's Jan Svankmajer compilation together, and the end result involved a dozen rightsholders based in six different countries. I'm guessing Lye is nowhere near that convoluted, but he's certainly not as straightforward as McLaren/Brakhage either.

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Zazou dans le Metro
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Re: Avant-garde & experimental film on DVD

#83 Post by Zazou dans le Metro » Fri Jan 02, 2009 11:18 am

Hurrah!! Thanks for the news Michael. Now we can look forward to a (near) definitive Jennings collection too I hope.

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MichaelB
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Re: Avant-garde & experimental film on DVD

#84 Post by MichaelB » Fri Jan 02, 2009 11:30 am

Zazou dans le Metro wrote:Hurrah!! Thanks for the news Michael. Now we can look forward to a (near) definitive Jennings collection too I hope.
I don't know of any plans for that, but Jennings' GPO films will of course be featured on the upcoming GPO volumes - Spare Time is definitely on volume 3, which I believe is scheduled for mid-2009.

It's also worth noting that volume 2 should be a bit of a feast for animation fans, since it features work by Norman McLaren and Lotte Reiniger as well as Len Lye - and a more comprehensive survey of McLaren's GPO work than that offered by the NFB compilation.

(To be fair to the NFB, they did a pretty good job, offering everything directed by McLaren, but the GPO sets also include films that he edited, and the complete version of Mony a Pickle, which was cut short on the NFB set once McLaren's contribution had finished).

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HypnoHelioStaticStasis
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Re: Avant-garde & experimental film on DVD

#85 Post by HypnoHelioStaticStasis » Fri Jan 02, 2009 12:34 pm

A Len Lye collection in R1 is one of my most wanted releases (I'm region-locked still, for self-induced financial reasons). Hopefully his profile has been raised a little more on our side of the pond by the induction of Free Radicals into the National Film Registry. It IS a national treasure.

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Gregory
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Re: Avant-garde & experimental film on DVD

#86 Post by Gregory » Fri Jan 02, 2009 1:27 pm

MichaelB wrote:I'm guessing that the reason we haven't seen a definitive Lye compilation is the reason for the lack of similar career overviews of other equally important artists: the rights and materials situation is much messier than it is for McLaren and Brakhage (both of whom were lucky/canny enough to keep the bulk of their work in one place).
Isn't the "one place" for the vast majority of Lye's work is the New Zealand Film Archive in conjunction with The Len Lye Foundation? Open questions, however, include whether they have anything like the amount of personnel and funding needed for all the work that would go into a DVD set and whether they'd even be interested in such an undertaking. I would guess it wouldn't be as immense a task as the big McLaren set from NFB simply because Lye's filmography is much smaller.

Oggilby
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Re: Avant-garde & experimental film on DVD

#87 Post by Oggilby » Fri Jan 02, 2009 10:56 pm

Unseen Cinema has content licensed from dozens of rights holders, including Warner, so anything is possible.

Seems like the nature of Len Lye's hand-painted films would be a huge undertaking in terms of restoration and remastering. The hand-painted films on the NFB Canada Norman McLaren set obviously required a heavy amount of digital work.

Adam
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Re: Avant-garde & experimental film on DVD

#88 Post by Adam » Sat Jan 03, 2009 3:31 am

Oggilby wrote:Unseen Cinema has content licensed from dozens of rights holders, including Warner, so anything is possible.

Seems like the nature of Len Lye's hand-painted films would be a huge undertaking in terms of restoration and remastering. The hand-painted films on the NFB Canada Norman McLaren set obviously required a heavy amount of digital work.
The New Zealand Film Archive and the Len Lye Foundation did much of that work ( I belive) a couple of years ago, and had a traveling show of his films. I screened it at Los Angeles Filmforum, and I know it played a variety of other venues. It included GPO films, New Zealand films, "Free Radicals" and lots more. I hope that the next step will be the appropriate DVD. I don't think there are anything like dozens of rights holders. Fingers crossed.

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zedz
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Re: Avant-garde & experimental film on DVD

#89 Post by zedz » Fri Jan 09, 2009 8:51 pm

The other major custodian of Lye's archives and legacy is the Govett-Brewster Gallery (link here), who would no doubt be involved. Considering how Lye's films are continually trotted out by NZ cultural institutions - including new live musical accompaniment for films which were designed to the microsecond for existing soundtracks (ouch) - a comprehensive DVD release is either a very good (increased revenue from DVD sales) or a very bad (decreased revenue from other screening activities) idea for them. But after several full retrospectives, exhibitions, installations, events, documentaries (which can be acquired on DVD) and the biography, surely it's time for the actual films to be released.

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MyNameCriterionForum
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Proteus (David Lebrun, 2004)

#90 Post by MyNameCriterionForum » Sat Jan 17, 2009 1:34 pm

In light of the recent announcement of the Criterion Painleve set, I was reminded of a recent documentary that I really admired, and one which has - at least superficial - similarities to the content of that set: David Lebrun's Proteus. Anyone interested in aquatic science (and evolutionary science in general) and the intersection of art/science might appreciate this film as well, I'd think.

From the official site:
The central figure of the film is biologist and artist Ernst Haeckel (1834-1919). As a young man, Haeckel found himself torn between seeming irreconcilables: science and art, materialism and religion, rationality and passion, outer and inner worlds. Through his discoveries beneath the sea, Haeckel would eventually reconcile these dualities, bringing science and art together in a unitary, almost mystical vision. His work would profoundly influence not only biology but also movements, thinkers and authors as disparate as Art Nouveau and Surrealism, Sigmund Freud and D.H. Lawrence, Vladimir Lenin and Thomas Edison.
Haeckel's work is extraordinary, and the available portfolios/books of his work are among the most lovely volumes I've ever seen. He was a masterful observer, excellent designer, and the work is a brilliant example of the printmaking craft as well. Just imagine page after page of this sort of thing:

Image

Image

Lebrun "animates" these source images in a way not unlike Lawrence Jordan, though in my opinion much more successfully, for a number of reasons. The two filmmakers have different intentions, of course, but maybe I'm just more sympathetic to Lebrun's content. At any rate, fans of Haeckel, or other artists (and scientists) like Max Ernst, Jim Woodring, Karl Blossfeldt, as well as books like Lynn Gamwell's Exploring the Invisible, may be interested in having a look at this film.

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MichaelB
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Re: Avant-garde & experimental film on DVD

#91 Post by MichaelB » Mon Jan 19, 2009 7:00 am

The specs for the BFI's second GPO Film Unit survey have been announced - as expected, it includes three Len Lye titles (Rainbow Dance, Trade Tattoo, N or NW) plus films by Norman McLaren and Lotte Reiniger.

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der_Artur
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Re: Avant-garde & experimental film on DVD

#92 Post by der_Artur » Fri Jan 23, 2009 5:38 pm

After seeing Yevgeni Yufit's "Vesna" on Youtube I have seen his movie "Woodcutter" in the cinema today. The curator of the screening informed me that there are DVDs of his movies available - and with some copy-n-paste and a helping hand of my mother who still knows some Russian from her school-time I was able to find them here.
But now the tricky part: The shop sells only to russia and I could not find an other one. Maybe a russian user has any information concerning the availability of this release?

gelich
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Re: Avant-garde & experimental film on DVD

#93 Post by gelich » Sat Feb 14, 2009 11:57 am

There is a new DVD label, Red Avocado, which will specialize in experimental and avant-garde film. The announcement can be found here.

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Gregory
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Re: Avant-garde & experimental film on DVD

#94 Post by Gregory » Mon Feb 16, 2009 9:26 pm

This has been in the works awhile, but it's good to know their website has gone live. Anyone planning to pre-order the Paul WInkler release? I'd be interested to know when it's released and how the quality is.

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Fierias
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Re: Avant-garde & experimental film on DVD

#95 Post by Fierias » Mon Feb 16, 2009 10:14 pm

I emailed them to ask about what their standards for their releases would be and I got this response:
Thanks for your good wishes - we'll need them!

For the first couple of titles we received the digital files from the filmmakers – all PAL – to make publishing them affordable in the first instance. “Success” will determine how we’ll go in future. That also includes the question of Blue Ray. We intend to be as true as possible to the films so no ratio “enhancement”.

As we are a small company who are in it because we LOVE these odd films and in all likelihood won’t make any money, we may have to stick with those filmmakers that we have contacts to. Also, we have an inclination towards European film makers – not because of a bias but simply because generally – always exceptions from the rule – the North American ones are already being taken care of, more or less that is.

Thanks again

Ingo
The comment "so no ratio 'enhancement'" pertains to my question regarding whether or not any widescreen works would be anamorphic transfers.

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colinr0380
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Re: Avant-garde & experimental film on DVD

#96 Post by colinr0380 » Sat Feb 21, 2009 6:09 pm

DVD Beaver on Treasures IV: American Avant Garde Film 1947-1986.

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bearcuborg
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Re: Avant-garde & experimental film on DVD

#97 Post by bearcuborg » Mon Feb 23, 2009 1:31 am

Eh, too bad Gary Tooze reviewed the release.... I wish Stan Czarnecki still wrote for them.

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Gregory
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Re: Avant-garde & experimental film on DVD

#98 Post by Gregory » Tue Feb 24, 2009 3:31 am

At the end of next month Microcinema is releasing a generous collection of Phill Niblock's work: The Movement of People Working.
I was just looking at an earlier release of his work, "China and Sunsets," the first part of which is closely related to what's going to be on offer with this new release, and am very much looking forward to seeing more. The link provides a good description.

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HerrSchreck
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Re: Avant-garde & experimental film on DVD

#99 Post by HerrSchreck » Tue Feb 24, 2009 8:51 am

bearcuborg wrote:Eh, too bad Gary Tooze reviewed the release.... I wish Stan Czarnecki still wrote for them.
Didn't seem lik such a bad review-- I expected a bunch of howling over interlacing or rounded corners or something. He sounded very appreciative of the release and got a touch into the substance of the content. I presume what you're lamenting is the lack of comment on the contents? Beaver's mission is primarily to assess the transfer quality/image/package presentation. On that front it seems a decent enough review, no?

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bearcuborg
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Re: Avant-garde & experimental film on DVD

#100 Post by bearcuborg » Tue Feb 24, 2009 1:51 pm

HerrSchreck wrote:
bearcuborg wrote:Eh, too bad Gary Tooze reviewed the release.... I wish Stan Czarnecki still wrote for them.
Didn't seem lik such a bad review-- I expected a bunch of howling over interlacing or rounded corners or something. He sounded very appreciative of the release and got a touch into the substance of the content. I presume what you're lamenting is the lack of comment on the contents? Beaver's mission is primarily to assess the transfer quality/image/package presentation. On that front it seems a decent enough review, no?
Gary's writing skills leave a lot to be desired to begin with and he seems to have a slim knowledge of experimental cinema at best, I just think a review by Stan Czarnecki would have been more enlightening.

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