Avant-Garde, Experimental & Non-narrative Films

Discuss films and filmmakers of the 20th century (and even a little of the 19th century). Threads may contain spoilers.
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razumovsky
Joined: Sun Jan 11, 2009 3:52 pm

Re: Avant-Garde, Experimental & Non-narrative Films

#551 Post by razumovsky » Mon Oct 22, 2012 4:51 am

I thought Kubelka responded with tremendous good grace to the technical problems - in fact, he seemed to take some delight in the fact that the failure to present his Monument underscored his thesis about 2012 being the darkest year for film. Of course, this doesn't exactly cast the BFI on the side of the angels. Really hope they manage to sort this out for January.

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MichaelB
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Re: Avant-Garde, Experimental & Non-narrative Films

#552 Post by MichaelB » Mon Oct 22, 2012 5:03 am

razumovsky wrote:Of course, this doesn't exactly cast the BFI on the side of the angels.
Since they weren't the BFI's own projectors, I wouldn't be quite so quick to point the finger.

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htshell
Joined: Sun Jul 24, 2011 4:15 pm

Re: Avant-Garde, Experimental & Non-narrative Films

#553 Post by htshell » Mon Oct 22, 2012 10:58 am

Who was on projection duties? I assume it was an outside/boutique projection outfit?

Kubelka was very thankful for the projectionists at NYFF (Robert Film Service/RFS from Montreal) and stressed that film is a medium that needs actual people to run it, unlike a digital projector that could be turned on and off by a robot.

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warren oates
Joined: Fri Mar 02, 2012 12:16 pm

Re: Avant-Garde, Experimental & Non-narrative Films

#554 Post by warren oates » Mon Oct 22, 2012 6:20 pm

htshell wrote:Conner was yet another believer in medium-specificity and the Conner Trust are not interested in releasing his films on home video (even the ones that he made on video, rather than film).
I'm old enough to remember my college library having some kind of Conner collection on tape or laserdisc. Was that a bootleg? Seriously, of all the filmmakers who disdain video for philosophical/aesthetic reasons, this must be one of the silliest cases, as just about every film I've seen of his was made up of found footage that was already of varying quality. And most of them were not so much sublime as ridiculous. Really, B.C., must we screen your found footage funnies on film only? Sure it isn't more of a clearance and copyright because of collage issue?

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Gregory
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 4:07 pm

Re: Avant-Garde, Experimental & Non-narrative Films

#555 Post by Gregory » Mon Oct 22, 2012 6:47 pm

I don't think you can attribute that to Conner himself, because when he was still living he authorized several video/DVD releases for sale to the public, for library collections, for gallery presentation, etc. in addition to having the works available on celluloid. He obviously often used archival and found footage but also filmed quite a lot himself, so I think you're somewhat off-base with that as well. I don't see the relevance of that anyway. If an art book were published with images riddled with jpeg artifacts and blurriness, would this not matter if they were images of collages incorporating images of varying quality rather than paintings or drawings? Would it only matter if the works were "sublime," whatever you mean by that?
I've enjoyed lots of BC's work on VHS and DVD, but I don't feel any kind of entitlement to own it on those formats.

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warren oates
Joined: Fri Mar 02, 2012 12:16 pm

Re: Avant-Garde, Experimental & Non-narrative Films

#556 Post by warren oates » Mon Oct 22, 2012 7:10 pm

Gregory wrote:I don't think you can attribute that to Conner himself, because when he was still living he authorized several video/DVD releases for sale to the public, for library collections, for gallery presentation, etc. in addition to having the works available on celluloid. He worked quite a bit with archival and found footage but also filmed quite a lot himself, so I think you're somewhat off-base with that as well. I don't see the relevance of that anyway. If an art book were published with images riddled with jpeg artifacts and blurriness, would this not matter if they were images of collages incorporating images of varying quality rather than paintings or drawings? Would it only matter if the works were "sublime," whatever you mean by that?
I've enjoyed lots of BC's work on VHS and DVD, but I don't feel any kind of entitlement to own it on those formats.
No entitlement here either. Just the sense that whatever's being protected by his estate has little to do with the integrity of the work itself and more to do with an outmoded notion of how the legacy of his film work would best be served. And by "sublime" I mean, you know, visually inspiring some sense of majesty or awe -- especially one that would be in some way integrally related to the texture of motion picture film itself. Something like the beauty in Brakhage's work, which had a much better case for eschewing video as long as it did. The half dozen films I've seen by Conner seem to have no such aspirations, as their beauty is more about intellectual connections and juxtapositions. The visual interest in the shots of that bridge collapsing in A Movie, for example, has next to nothing to do with the quality of the camerawork or the resulting print. It's a shame too, because these films are quite easy to like and would probably find some kind of crossover audience if they were widely available on DVD or Blu-ray. They are fun and funny and I'm certainly not denigrating the films or holding them as somehow lesser works because of it.

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Gropius
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Re: Avant-Garde, Experimental & Non-narrative Films

#557 Post by Gropius » Tue Oct 23, 2012 6:28 pm

MichaelB wrote:
razumovsky wrote:Of course, this doesn't exactly cast the BFI on the side of the angels.
Since they weren't the BFI's own projectors, I wouldn't be quite so quick to point the finger.
As another slightly disappointed audience member, I was left wondering why there weren't any back-up projectors on-site, and why external hire should be necessary, given the BFI's resources.

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MichaelB
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Re: Avant-Garde, Experimental & Non-narrative Films

#558 Post by MichaelB » Wed Oct 24, 2012 1:59 am

The external hire was necessary because Kubelka insisted on having the projectors inside the auditorium as a crucial part of the presentation.

I've never been inside the NFT1 projection booth, but I suspect its own projectors would have been unsuitable (even assuming it has two 35mm machines in there at all: not necessarily a given) because of the need to physically shift them during the presentation, to achieve the side-by-side and superimposed versions of Arnulf Rainer and Antiphon.

In my experience, permanent projector installations tend to be locked in place, and that kind of adjustment would be a major adjustment job of an order that's certainly not practical during a live event even once, let alone twice.

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Alan Smithee
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Re: Avant-Garde, Experimental & Non-narrative Films

#559 Post by Alan Smithee » Tue Nov 06, 2012 5:47 pm

New Jonas Mekas Box Set http://www.jonasmekasfilms.com/dvd/

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AlexHansen
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Re: Avant-Garde, Experimental & Non-narrative Films

#560 Post by AlexHansen » Mon Mar 11, 2013 6:40 pm

If anybody happens to find themselves in the Boise ID area on April 6th (looking your way SLC peeps), I'm hosting a screening of Brakhage's Garden of Earthly Delights and The Cat of the Worm's Green Realm, Lowder's Champ Provencal, Kren's Asyl, Kubelka's Arnulf Rainer, and last but not least Michael Robinson's Circle in the Sand. The exact time and location are yet to be determined, but it'll be evening and presumably in one of the ballrooms at the Student Union Building.

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htshell
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Re: Avant-Garde, Experimental & Non-narrative Films

#561 Post by htshell » Mon Mar 11, 2013 8:32 pm

Looks like a good program. Are these all 16mm? I've yet to see any Rose Lowder projected and I really want to.

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AlexHansen
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Re: Avant-Garde, Experimental & Non-narrative Films

#562 Post by AlexHansen » Mon Mar 11, 2013 8:50 pm

Everything's 16 but the Robinson, which will be via Blu; would've gone with a print if it'd been available. Garden and Arnulf could have been 35 but I decided to make life a bit easier on my friend who's handling projectionist duties (getting the 35mm projector from his house to the screening site requires a bit too much coordination and manual labor).

The Lowder was actually a last minute brainstorm. I had hoped to show B&W Trypps #2 (or #1 for that matter) and Glimpse of the Garden but they weren't available, and as I was looking for replacements Lowder jumped to mind and should make an excellent warm-up for the Kren.

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zedz
Joined: Sun Nov 07, 2004 7:24 pm

Re: Avant-Garde, Experimental & Non-narrative Films

#563 Post by zedz » Mon Mar 11, 2013 9:27 pm

Sounds like a great programme. I'd love to see Asyl in the flesh, and Arnulf Rainer is a must for anybody who's considering participating in the 1960s list.

razumovsky
Joined: Sun Jan 11, 2009 3:52 pm

Re: Avant-Garde, Experimental & Non-narrative Films

#564 Post by razumovsky » Tue Apr 09, 2013 6:52 pm

For the record, Peter Kubelka was able to stage his Monument Film at the BFI this evening, having had to partially abort the event at last year's London Film Festival because of technical difficulties. It was a triumph, too, with at least as large an audience as there was back in October. Wonderful of Kubelka to make the return trip, and of the BFI to facilitate it. With the BFI also currently hosting a revival Point Blank in 35mm print - scratches and all - perhaps 2013 is slightly less a dark year for analogue film than 2012.

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htshell
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Re: Avant-Garde, Experimental & Non-narrative Films

#565 Post by htshell » Tue Apr 09, 2013 9:21 pm

Film still exists. If people want it to stay, they need to support it.

On that note, I'm starting a new monthly 16mm avant garde screening series in Philadelphia called Black Circle Cinema. Here is the first event on Wednesday April 24:

Wednesday, April 24 at 8:00PM
BLACK CIRCLE CINEMA 001
ROBERT SMITHSON + NANCY HOLT: EARTHWORKS
Aux Performance Space / Vox Populi Gallery
319 North 11th Street, 3rd Floor, Philadelphia, PA 19107
Tickets: $7-10 sliding scale

In recognition of Earth Day, Black Circle Cinema is pleased to present two important films by two pioneers of land/environmental art. These two depictions of major works of earth art are just as stunning today as when they were first created. Smithson and Holt both deal with time and space on a grand scale and these films are a testament to their enduring vision.

This exhibition comes on the heels of JG, a new 35mm film project by Tacita Dean on view at the Arcadia University Art Gallery through Sunday, April 21. JG examines the connection between JG Ballard’s short story “The Voices of Time” and Spiral Jetty.

Spiral Jetty (dir. Robert Smithson, 1970, US, 16mm, 30’)
This film, made by the artist Robert Smithson, is a poetic and process minded film depicting a "portrait" of his renowned earthwork Spiral Jetty as it juts into the shallows off the shore of Utah's Great Salt Lake. A voice-over by Smithson reveals the evolution of Spiral Jetty. Sequences filmed in a natural history museum are integrated into the film featuring prehistoric relics that illustrate themes central to Smithson's work. A one minute section is filmed by Nancy Holt for inclusion in the film as Smithson wanted Holt to shoot the "earth's history." This idea came from a quote Smithson found: "the earth's history seems at times like a story recorded in a book each page of which is torn into small pieces. Many of the pages and some of the pieces of each page are missing". Smithson and Holt drove to the Great Notch Quarry in New Jersey, where he found a facing about 20 feet high. He climbed to the top and through handfuls of ripped pages from books and magazines over the edge of the facing as Holt filmed it.

Sun Tunnels (dir. Nancy Holt, 1978, US, 16mm, 27’)
Takes a close look at the many different processes involved in making art in the American landscape, away from urban centers and outside the usual art-world confines of museums and galleries. More specifically, it is a personal record of the making the filmmaker's art-work Sun Tunnels in the remote northwest Utah desert. Being aligned with the sunsets and sunrises during the summer and winter solstices, the sculpture indicates the daily and yearly cycle of the sun. The sunlight, which changes slowly within the tunnels during the day, is speeded up, making available an experience of the work which is filmic in nature.

Black Circle Cinema is a monthly screening of 16mm avant garde films. This is Black Circle Cinema #001.
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htshell
Joined: Sun Jul 24, 2011 4:15 pm

Re: Avant-Garde, Experimental & Non-narrative Films

#566 Post by htshell » Sat Apr 13, 2013 2:40 pm

MUBI has 24 short films from the 2013 Images Festival lineup streaming for free through April 20th.
http://mubi.com/programs/images-festival--2" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

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JimmyTango
Joined: Thu Mar 08, 2012 12:51 am

Re: Avant-Garde, Experimental & Non-narrative Films

#567 Post by JimmyTango » Thu Jan 23, 2014 6:23 am

What is the current best quality DVD release of Maya Deren's "Meshes of the Afternoon"? I have the Mystic Fire edition and I thought it looked like it was lifted from a previous VHS and rather poor. I'm aware of the re-voir & Cinema16: American Short Films releases and I'm curious to know if anyone has made comparisons in regards to what is the definitive edition?

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doh286
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Re: Avant-Garde, Experimental & Non-narrative Films

#568 Post by doh286 » Wed Jan 13, 2016 10:15 pm

Saul Levine will be present for a discussion at the Feb. 22 screenings of Note to Pati and Note to Colleen at the Gene Siskel Film Center in Chicago.

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Noiretirc
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#569 Post by Noiretirc » Sun Apr 24, 2016 1:36 am

vogler wrote:I have a few dvds that I would like to recommend to anyone who is interested in this area of film making and these types of releases need supporting.

PAOLO GIOLI released by Raro Video

This one really blew my mind - Paolo Gioli is a genius and it amazes me that his work is so little known. The nearest comparison I could make would be Peter Tscherkassky but Gioli was making films much earlier. I couldn't even begin to describe the stunning visuals contained on this 2 dvd set. It is a constant stream of pure creativity.
Raro has now updated this (2015) to a 3 DVD with an excellent booklet, and a supreme value at only $28ish Canadian Dollars for nearly 10 hours of awesomeness. It is a crime that this guy is so obscure.

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