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PostPosted: Sat Mar 19, 2005 8:03 am 
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Carrying on a tradition of past forums, this thread is for information and discussion of avant-garde and experimental films old and new.

To start with, here is a site with MPEGs of 37 Fluxus films from '62-'70.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 22, 2005 5:21 pm 
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Gregory wrote:
Carrying on a tradition of past forums, this thread is for information and discussion of avant-garde and experimental films old and new.

To start with, here is a site with MPEGs of 37 Fluxus films from '62-'70.

Great site, thanks very much! Some of these are giving me trouble playing which is pretty frustrating (Heaven and Earth). The non-film part of the site is worthy of a look as a well. Lots of sound bites of interviews with artists/filmmakers etc and a collection of 365 public domain mp3s

This movie sounds beautiful: Queen of Sheba meets the Atom Man Does anyone have a lead on where to find this on vhs or dvdr?


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 11, 2005 6:33 pm 
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Bill Viola: Legendary Video Artist (Just look at those images! and Note that "There is currently no US distributor for VHS tapes or DVDs")

The Reflecting Pool, 1979
Ancient of Days, 1979-81
Chott el-Djerid (A Portait in Light and Heat), 1979
Hatsu-yume (First Dream), 1981
I Do Not Know What It Is I Am Like, 1986
Passage, 1987
The Passing, 1991
The Crossing, 1996
Emergence, 2002

I believe that Voyager put out a Collected Works in 1987 - is this right? He is an amazing artist; his films are incredibly powerful and beautful. Like myself, Viola is obsessed with images of water and mans' relation to it and the Nature of the Universe. I'd love to see his complete works on DVD, preferably from Criterion.

Bitter Cinema: Classic Experimental Films and Ubu Web short film downloads

I am ashamed to admit that, even though the films interest me greatly, I still do not own either of the Treasures from American Archives sets. This is mainly due to the danger of me receiving customs charges - I live in the UK.

Treasures From American Film Archives: Encore Edition is out 10th May ($43/£23 from DVD Soon)
Image

More Treasures From American Film Archives ($58/£31 from DVD Pacific)
Image

Those are amazing prices - I need to get my wallet out!

What are the odds of there being a third volume of Treasures?


Last edited by Gordon on Tue Apr 12, 2005 8:10 am, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 13, 2005 2:35 pm 
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Although the term 'esoteric' is thrown around too much, I believe that it aptly describes Belson's films. In some ways like later Coltrane, his creative output is an expression of visionary experiences from his spiritual practices. I'm sure I can't even begin to really understand, let alone describe, what his films express, but I find the shifting light and color of the films of his I've seen exquisitely beautiful anyway.

I've read the Kubrick thing, too. Belson was much more well known back in the '60s and '70s. Since then he's become more obscure largely because he took his films out of circulation about 20 years ago. He did this for several reasons: (1) he felt his work had gotten progressive better and didn't think the old films expressed what he wanted to express as well as his more recent work, (2) the old prints were pretty worn and battered anyway and didn't look the way he wanted them to, (3) he was bothered that some programmers were screening the films in a rather impersonal way and in combination with other filmmakers' works that he didn't approve of. He feels that distributing his more recent works to individuals for home viewing gives people a more personal experience of what he's trying to accomplish. I'm fortunate to have a copy of a collection Mystic Fire put out years ago titled Samadhi and Other Films which is now fairly hard to find. Anyway, the Iota Center in L.A. has undertaken a project to restore some of Belson's films on 16mm and screen his work in the kind of context that Belson wishes. Anyone who wants to know more about Belson screenings or help with Iota's work with get in touch with them through their web site: www.iotacenter.org

Belson's latest finished project is Bardo (2001) as far as I know. Not sure what he's currently doing.

P.S. Sorry to be anal but maybe previous posters or the moderators could make those Amazon links more compact so this page doesn't run so wide? Putting your cursor over the URL button on the page where you compose or edit a post displays two ways of linking a web site -- the second one shown shows how to use whatever URL text you wish to display the link.

Yes, the lower-priced Treasures From American Film Archives set comes out May 10, and it's a steal. By the way, for anyone who doesn't feel like waiting, some fine person at Amazon has the previous printing for sale for a mere $450.00.

Quote:
What are the odds of there being a third volume of Treasures?

There's probably a good chance, but the first volume came out in Sept. 2000, and the second (shorter) one came in October of 2004. If the next one follows that schedule, we won't see it til almost 2009.

I've just spent some time going through the Magic Worlds of Joseph Cornell DVD-ROM. It's the next best thing to seeing the works in person. It even offers things that most museum exhibits do not: for example, clips of Campbell scholars discussing the pieces, and clips of people handling and moving them to show how they "work."
Voyager has also released The Magical Films of Joseph Cornell DVD, which contains nine Cornell films in full and Larry Jordan's Cornell (1965).

Masters of Cinema has a press release that gives a little more information about the upcoming Unseen Cinema DVD set.
Sadly, I predict extremely low sales for this set, because:
1. With seven DVDs, it will likely be painfully expensive.
2. There are not that many fans of non-narrative film to begin with.
3. A good portion of those there are may end up passing the set over, judging from the backlash against it a few years ago which partially stemmed from alleged liberties taken with the way it was curated and publicized. It's a real hodge-podge of various types of films, not all of which relate directly to the U.S. avant-garde tradition as it's conventionally understood. Of course, that doesn't mean there isn't a lot of mindblowingly beautiful work in the program; there is.

Regarding #2, I remember a theatrical screening of the Mechanized Eye program that generated a turnout of approximately ten people, half of whom walked out at various intervals. One person left during the final film of the program, titled "Portrait of a Young Man." The film suggests a character ("Once there was a young man who loved to look at ripples on water and trees blowing in the wind...") who is never shown. Clearly, it's a device to facilitate showing natural objects in motion. It's not really about the young man at all. Still, one of the people who had gotten bored and gone to wait outside had clearly been desperate for some sort of narrative in the film, because when those of us who had stayed to see the rest were walking out, she came up and asked, "So, did they ever show the boy?"

DVD Planet has a synopsis and contents list for Kino's upcoming (August 2) Experimental Cinema of the 1920s & 1930s DVD here.


Last edited by Gregory on Wed Apr 13, 2005 9:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 13, 2005 7:58 pm 
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The beautifully battered Rose Hobart is available on the first Treasures from American Film Archives set.


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PostPosted: Thu May 12, 2005 2:17 am 
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Gregory wrote:
DVD Planet has a synopsis and contents list for Kino's upcoming (August 2) Experimental Cinema of the 1920s & 1930s DVD here.

WOW WOW WOW

This is even more exciting than synapse releasing the Balch/Burroughs short films.

With Kino doing all these early avant-garde shorts we won't have to worry about those silly short collections by small distributors. Plus what a nice price! Now we know Kino is officially out of pre-WW2 movies to release.


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PostPosted: Thu May 12, 2005 2:18 am 

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Gregory wrote:
3. A good portion of those there are may end up passing the set over, judging from the backlash against it a few years ago which partially stemmed from alleged liberties taken with the way it was curated and publicized. It's a real hodge-podge of various types of films, not all of which relate directly to the U.S. avant-garde tradition as it's conventionally understood. Of course, that doesn't mean there isn't a lot of mindblowingly beautiful work in the program; there is.

Huh?


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PostPosted: Thu May 12, 2005 4:35 am 
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What did you find confusing? For elaboration on the negative responses to the program, look up some of the reviews of the screenings in NY dating from Summer 2001. Frameworks was one arena for this discussion (as you may also remember if you were on that listserv at the time) because both the curator and one of the most vocal critics were contributors to that forum.
I can't imagine you'd be baffled by my statement that Unseen Cinema is a hodge-podge of films of various types, many of which aren't part of the avant-garde as the term is normally understood. That was pretty clearly the point of the program, but also one which was lost on many people who probably went into it expecting to see work that laid a coherent groundwork for the tradition developed by Maya Deren and others, and instead found an assorted mixture of films not only by independent artists working within the film medium but also films from Hollywood, industrial, and amateur filmmakers. The program questions conventional definitions of avant garde film means, but doesn't provide a very clear alternative -- not that there's necessarily anything so bad about that.


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PostPosted: Thu May 12, 2005 9:53 am 

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Gregory wrote:
What did you find confusing?

Didn't know you were referring to live screenings. In any case, I can't imagine the small target audience for a set like this would not take the release for its own merits, and find the diversity of the contents of the set just what the doctor ordered, but that's just one man's opinion. Thanks for the elaboration.


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 01, 2005 8:03 pm 
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The Tzadik label has released A Ken Jacobs DVD. The official release date is 10/4, and I haven't had a chance since last year with the film came out to see it but I look forward to doing so. Some film stills from Jacobs' work and an interview can be found here. Here is a description of the new DVD:
Quote:
Ken Jacobs/John Zorn: Celestial Subway Lines/Salvaging Noise DVD (TZ 3004DVD) 25.00
Featuring: Ken Jacobs, John Zorn, Ikue Mori. "One of the most consistently experimental and prolific filmmakers in Avant Garde Cinema, Ken Jacobs has produced enough work for several lifetimes, and continues on stronger than ever into his seventh decade. From film and shadow play to magic lantern and nervous system, Jacobs is a master improviser with live film, inventing new ways of seeing and creating with each new project. This special collaboration with John Zorn, a fan and cohort of Jacobs' since the late 1970s, documents the very best of a series of performances originally presented at the Anthology Film Archives in 2004. Exquisitely mysterious landscapes of elusive beauty --fragile and mystical -- from two generations of the New York Underground.


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 01, 2005 9:46 pm 

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I caught two Ken Jacobs short films this afternoon at the NYFF Views from the Avant-Garde: Krypton is Doomed and Louis Aimé Augustin Le Prince - Leeds Bridge. The former contains an epileptic disclaimer before subjecting the audience to 34 minutes of non-stop strobing while showing a single print from various quadrants while audio excerpts from the genesis of Superman is played; the latter is a film fragment projected also from specific quadrants such that the image becomes an abstraction.

Suffice it to say, Krypton is Doomed gave me a massive headache, but I liked Louis Aimé Augustin Le Prince - Leeds Bridge, so I still haven't quite completely warmed up to his work.


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 02, 2005 2:24 am 
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Gregory, I know you have a liking for some of Zorn's output, have you seen
Claudia Heuermann's 'A Bookshelf On Top Of The Sky: 12 stories about John Zorn' also on the Tzadik label? Any comments?


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 02, 2005 2:56 am 
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Quote:
This special collaboration with John Zorn, a fan and cohort of Jacobs' since the late 1970s, documents the very best of a series of performances originally presented at the Anthology Film Archives in 2004. Exquisitely mysterious landscapes of elusive beauty --fragile and mystical -- from two generations of the New York Underground.

I caught one of the Anthology shows, which was a "Magic Lantern" performance that used antique optics in a homebuilt projection contraption to create almost wholly abstract shadowplay. Some of it was exquisite, some of it tedious, but edited judiciously and accompanied by Zorn and Mori's improvisations from the nights in question, it has the potential to be beautifully hypnotic.


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 02, 2005 5:12 pm 
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Subbuteo: I'm interested in A Bookshelf On Top of the Sky but have not gotten around to it yet. I plan to order it during the next DDD sale. Anyway, from what I have read of it, I'm looking forward to the live footage of Zorn's musical projects but also seeing how the film transformed from a fairly straightforward documentary about a musician into something much more. Claudia Heuermann, the director, was forced to change her plans about the film's structure when for no distinct reason she lost all means of communicating with Zorn midway through the production.


Last edited by Gregory on Mon Oct 03, 2005 4:38 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 03, 2005 1:40 pm 

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Gregory wrote:
Yes, the lower-priced Treasures From American Film Archives set comes out May 10, and it's a steal. By the way, for anyone who doesn't feel like waiting, some fine person at Amazon has the previous printing for sale for a mere $450.00.

Quote:
What are the odds of there being a third volume of Treasures?

There's probably a good chance, but the first volume came out in Sept. 2000, and the second (shorter) one came in October of 2004. If the next one follows that schedule, we won't see it til almost 2009.

I know for a fact the third volume is in the planning stages. The when is all based on money. They were somewhat dependent on Federal granting money to make the first two sets possible, however the re-issue of the first set was at least in part funded by a winery in Napa.

It was Sterling Vineyards. Cecil B. DeMille Foundation also put up some money for this re-issue


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 21, 2006 8:49 pm 
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To answer a question on the previous page, I think the Fluxus film downloads may be gone for good from UbuWeb. We'll see. However, the general film downloads linked by Gordon McMurphy on the first page of this thread are still working, and there are also some Fluxus audio mp3 downloads on UbuWeb.

Faux Hulot wrote:
I caught one of the Anthology shows, which was a "Magic Lantern" performance [by Ken Jacobs] that used antique optics in a homebuilt projection contraption to create almost wholly abstract shadowplay. Some of it was exquisite, some of it tedious, but edited judiciously and accompanied by Zorn and Mori's improvisations from the nights in question, it has the potential to be beautifully hypnotic.

I bought and watched the Ken Jacobs DVD from Tzadik which is a straightfoward documentation of one of those nights. My impression: I don't scare easily at all but I found this one of the most terrifying and nightmarish things I've ever seen in a waking state. The fact that it's not a film but an image being manipulated in a projector gives it the appearance of a moving, pulsing, 3-dimensional object. The overall feeling I had was that it was like observing the physical fabric of the entire universe being destroyed. Much of the time my mind tended to find disturbing shapes in the images, like a very dark version of the game of identifying shapes in the clouds. The long succession of non-recognizable images made the impact of the single slide in which I could see a group of people (in negative) far more powerful. Really, it's impossible for me to explain the experience.

I also watched Bookshelf on Top of the Sky and enjoyed it as one interested in Zorn's music. I'm not sure it would have much interest for the average filmgoer, but it's certainly not only for fans of the music. For one thing, it seems torn between being about Zorn and being about Claudia Heuermann's own creative process. This tension raises some interesting questions about the nature of the documentary film medium.


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 11, 2006 12:55 pm 
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Gregory wrote:
I've just spent some time going through the Magic Worlds of Joseph Cornell DVD-ROM. It's the next best thing to seeing the works in person. It even offers things that most museum exhibits do not: for example, clips of Campbell scholars discussing the pieces, and clips of people handling and moving them to show how they "work."

Voyager has also released The Magical Films of Joseph Cornell DVD, which contains nine Cornell films in full and Larry Jordan's Cornell (1965).

I'm working thru the UNSEEN CINEMA pak right now, and Cornell's CAROUSEL-- ANIMAL OPERA absolutely had me on the floor and is absolutely a highlight of the set. Another is the far superior print of HEARTS OF AGE (particularly vs. the Rohauer print).

Greg-- I'm curious if you secured a box for yourself, or-- if not-- how much of the series you saw in person (I recall up in this thread you indicated you saw the LIGHT series in the cinema)... and how you feel about the loose assignation of the Avant term. Beyond the fact that this is a sumptuous set for the rarities, truly one of the greatest utilizations of the DVD medium I've seen-- I wouldn't trade it for all the world (just the PITCURING A METROPOLIS disc alone is almost worth the hefty tag, being a lifelong New Yorker myself)-- the playing fast & easy with the Avant Garde term virtually for anything innovative or mildly unusual is a topic I'd love to explore with an informed cineaste.

I'm finding myself far more inclined to salute Kino's 2 discer for a truer representation of SOME of the best of "pure" Avant (French Impressionism i e Epstein & Kirsanoff, my personal favorites in all the world, right there next to Murnau)/Dada/Surrealism


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 11, 2006 10:33 pm 
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Yes, I scored it for a mere $58 during the last big DDD, but really I think it would be a bargain at the full price of $99 not most because of its 19-hour contents but all the incredible work and risk that went into it. It's not just a good thing to support, like the Treasures from American Film Archives boxes it's also something to which we should be grateful to have access.

As I discussed earlier in the thread, Posner and the other curators cast their "experimental" net extremely widely and provoked a lot of criticism from those who worried that if the term is applied carelessly it will cease to have any coherent meaning. What they were really doing with these programmes was trying to exhibit works that would continue the discussion of how these proto-avant-garde works are to be understood. None of these matters originated with Posner or the Unseen Cinema programmes, as he acknowledged. For example see Jan-Christopher Horaks' book Lovers of Cinema: The First American Film Avant-Garde, 1919-1945 which predated Unseen Cinema by several years.
Some would say that it's unavoidable that the definitions of the U.S. avant-garde have to be applied somewhat haphazardly (at least for now) because prior to "Meshes of the Afternoon" there wasn't a really coherent avant-garde film movement. (Although, in my opinion, the vagueness of "avant garde" never really went away.) Personally, I'm wary of declaring "Meshes" the definite beginning because earlier work by Harry Smith, Christopher Young, and Joseph Cornell was certainly avant-garde even if Deren's film has become the more well known landmark.

To me, Unseen Cinema is more about the development of techniques and ways of challenging viewers' expectations than about distinct artistic lineages. In addition to the scattered assortment of strictly avant-garde filmmakers there were also commercial and amateur filmmakers developing experimental techniques within their craft, either for commercial or non-commercial ends. In the case of the latter, many of these films were never distributed or screened in any conventional sense. In the case of the former, Unseen Cinema presents quite a few mainstream filmmakers who were developing experimental techniques to enhance commercial, narrative films for general audiences. In this sense they were ahead of their studio colleagues who played it safer. In both cases, however, a number of these films are well-known and were already available, suggesting some degree of presumtion. But my guess is that "Unseen" was a general heading meant to underscore the need for reassessment here and neither it nor "American" were to be understood to apply to each and every entry in the series. Personally, I might have been a little more careful on these points, but this is a minor criticism. I believe Posner's aim was to shake up what he saw as a stale, exclusive canon by expanding its limits to suit his own far broader understanding of what avant-garde means. To the extent he succeeded it's inevitable that some will have claimed he went too far.

Aside from the discussion of what is avant garde, it's just wonderful to have these films available, again or for the first time as the case may be. These have been shown worldwide and have made quite an impact. Coherent answers of how the avant-garde in the U.S. developed are not going to come out of the retrospective itself. It's going to take years of discussion and scholarship to make headway on that, and this retrospective (and perhaps even more so the DVD set with all the context it provides) has only added to this process, and it's a joyful thing to experience. I'm glad to see all the praise it's received over the last few years.


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 12, 2006 2:16 am 
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Gregory wrote:
Yes, I scored it for a mere $58 during the last big DDD, but really I think it would be a bargain at the full price of $99 not most because of its 19-hour contents but all the incredible work and risk that went into it. It's not just a good thing to support, like the Treasures from American Film Archives boxes it's also something to which we should be grateful to have access.

I'm glad to see all the praise it's received over the last few years.

I'm glad to hear of your generally positive experience with the series. (I too grabbed it at a reduced rate but I go to a retailer near my studio who gives us all discounts to incentivize our buying w/them.) I wasn't sure what your overall feeling was about it, having read the (from one angle understandable) post above regarding the interlude w the frustrated young woman viz PORTRAIT OF A YOUNG MAN. I admit I didn't read the post closely enough to ascertain whether or not the post was sympathetic with her sentiment or written from a slightly sardonic standpoint... but though I can easily relate to a sense of frustration with a piece of film such as PORTRAIT (which isn't as obviously novel as, say, the work of Steiner) which is neither visually stunning (or inventive/conceptually novel i e the more prominent Dadaists) or providing even the slightest whisp of melodramatic narrative, I think it's probably to be expected that this will be one of the more 'difficult' programmes of the series-- and that an individual who would be surprised to discover that work like this was being done (which sort've corresponded to the abstract expressionist/modern art movement of the then-period ie totally white canvasses) probably shouldn't have been in the auditorium to begin with. Individuals who imagine themselves to be on the cutting edge of Cinematic Capability because they enjoy Criterion DVDs and go to Bergman & Kurosawa retrospectives @ their local FF are going to feel their attention spans treading water in certain cases.

Joseph Cornell is a perfect example. Water, in essence, provides as much of a "portrait" of a young man as the animals in Cornell's OPERA "provide" a commentary on "inter-relatedness in the world". Although I'd confess that I loved Cornell whereas PORTRAIT did very little for me beyond the historical-perspective angle, the average viewer may observe what Cornell is doing only with very great difficulty. These films, like the quietest Bresson's, can be made use of by flexible processing-sense in a thousand different ways, and we could debate endlessly what the "statement" or "commentary" (or simply Goal) of ANIMAL CAROUSEL-OPERA was for their maker... or for us as viewers. But the pleasure of such pictures require the active participation of the symbol making faculty, as well as a truffle-pigs nose for a good sense of humor. For me, CAROUSEL started off as a relatively blank experience, whereas I quickly started noticing something in these temper snaps & jerky movements of the animals that increasingly made me laugh until I was on the floor--

the animals, which start out doing tricks i. e. Imitating Humans are actually edited whereby they are PARODYING HUMANS... the animals seem, by the magic of his deceptive editing (now you see it now you don't), to be MAKING FUN OF HUMANS... spastic, dopey, retarded, jealous, petulant, hilariously fucking overprotective. Couple of minutes of wordless, harmless "zoo" film, being put to use with no added dialog or intertitles or inserted content whatsoever, in what for me was just as efficient (and objective) a sum-up of humanity as, say UGESTU MONOGATARI.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 04, 2006 4:56 pm 
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I'm teaching a Freshman seminar on German culture between the wars in the fall and will be devoting a good amount of time to film.

I want to use one screening day to show some avant-garde and experimental films. I can't seem to track down too much that was actually made in Germany, Austria or Switzerland (or by exiles of these countries). I plan on screening some Hans Richter and Ruttmann shorts. Then there's Ueberfall from the Kino set, which is quite nice. Can anyone suggest some more experimental and avant-garde film of this era that could be said to be a part of German (or Austrian or German-Swiss) culture?

Did the Zurich or Berlin Dadaists produce any films that are available on video? What would be the defining Dadaist film, anyway? Clair's "Entre'Acte" or Duchamp's "Anemic Cinema"?


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 04, 2006 5:56 pm 
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Yes, Richter and Ruttmann would probably also be my main choices. There's not a lot else to choose from, as far as I'm aware.
The Austrian and Swiss avant-garde scenes didn't emerge until after WWII.

The issue which is "the" defining dada film would be a big discussion. I would lean toward Entr'acte due to its political dimension over anything of Duchamp's. According to Richter, these were the essentials, most of which are on the Kino set:

Rhythmus 21, Hans Richter, 1921-24, 3:30.
Symphonie Diagonale, Viking Eggeling, 1921-24, 7:00.
Le retour à la Raison, Man Ray, 1923, 2:00.
Entr'acte, René Clair and Francis Picabia, 1924, 20:00.
Le Ballet Mécanique, Fernand Léger et Dudley Murphy, 1924, 14:00.
Filmstudie, Hans Richter, 1926, 3:30.
Emak-Bakia, Man Ray, 1926, 17:00.
Vormittagssupuk (Ghosts Before Breakfast), Hans Richter, 1927, 6:00.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 04, 2006 5:59 pm 
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denti alligator wrote:
Can anyone suggest some more experimental and avant-garde film of this era that could be said to be a part of German (or Austrian or German-Swiss) culture?

The Magical Films of Joseph Cornell


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 04, 2006 8:10 pm 
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Anyone living in the DC area should check out the Dada exhibit at the National Gallery right now. They're showing a repeating series of Dada films, including many that are listed in Gregory's post. And you get to watch them while the noises of some recorded Dada performances play in the background. A very cool exhibit.


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I think Unseen Cinema is absolutely essential, but I can't imagine it sold very well because of the aforementioned loose application of the term "Avant Garde," which is bound to seem misleading for avant-garde enthusiasts, and off-putting to others. I myself don't mind that the term isn't used appropriately (for lack of a better word), but "avant-garde" is almost too broad a term for what they were trying to accomplish with this box set. And if people are complaining, I think it's justified because many, if not most, of the films were not intended as "avant-garde" films, but instead came out of a period of greater experimentation in cinema before the artform became so homogenized.

The one major complaint I have about the set is the musical accompaniment. Besides the fact that many of the scores are unpleasant, synthesized and anachronistic (and just plain bad in most cases), they often go too far in recontextualizing the films as "avant-garde" by being avant-garde themselves (in the most benign, cliched way possible. And do we really need to see the website address for each composer after every film? Very tacky, although that might just be the Kino set, can't remember--both sets have terrible music). At worst, it's a problem of semantics (or marketing, possibly bad marketing) to use the term "avant-garde" to describe some of these films, but it's another thing to actually make them more avant-garde by way of the musical score. I guess it wouldn't bother me quite so much if the scores weren't so terrible (the use of vintage recordings on some of the older films works much better).

The only other complaint I have about this set is that the DVDs could better designed and easier to navigate (the Film Archives set is much better in this regard).

But why am I being so negative? If you don't have this set, you're missing out. Cinema was far more exciting and innovative, and far less self-conscious back then, and there will never be films like this again. This set is what DVDs are made for.


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 06, 2006 3:15 am 

Joined: Thu Apr 06, 2006 2:47 am
Gregory wrote:
The Iota Center in L.A. has undertaken a project to restore some of Belson's films on 16mm and screen his work in the kind of context that Belson wishes. Anyone who wants to know more about Belson screenings or help with Iota's work with get in touch with them through their website.

Belson's latest finished project is Bardo (2001) as far as I know. Not sure what he's currently doing.

Belson no longer works with Iota, they have no rights or any of his films, and the two parted ways in 2003.

Belson completed a new film Epilogue in 2005, produced by The Center for Visual Music in Los Angeles, www.centerforvisualmusic.org, and funded by the NASA Art Program. It was commissioned for the Hirshhorn Visual Music exhibition and played at the Hirshhorn for several months. Center for Visual Music has recently presented screenings of Belson's films, is placing his films in other museum exhibitions, and is working on other projects with Belson.


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