GAZWRX: The Films of Jeff Keen

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MichaelB
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GAZWRX: The Films of Jeff Keen

#1 Post by MichaelB » Sat Nov 22, 2008 3:49 am

UK 1960-2000; Colour; around 9 hours

Jeff Keen began making films at the age of 37 when his art school film society needed things to show. And so began over forty years of unique, imaginative, irrepresible filmmaking. This release contains over 9 hours of films and videos by the visionary filmmaker from his 60s beatnik movies to the apocalyptic beauty of his multi-layered videos of the 90s - a criminally overdue opportunity to explore the alternative cinematic world of one of Britain's most important experimental filmmakers.

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GAZWRX: The Films of Jeff Keen

Explore the explosive cinematic world of visionary filmmaker Jeff Keen, on BFI DVD and Blu-ray, and on the big screen at BFI Southbank and around the UK.

“It went right over my head and seemed a little threatening, but I’m all for it.” Ken Russell on the trilogy Cineblatz, Marvo Movie and White Lite

Born in 1923 and a soldier in World War Two, artist Jeff Keen – now aged 85 – began making films at the age of 37 when his local art school film society needed things to show. And so began over forty years of unique, imaginative, irrepressible filmmaking that has outlived the various scenes in which it has thrived: the 60s counter-culture, punk and beyond.

On 23 February, the BFI releases GAZWRX: The Films of Jeff Keen; an audacious 9 hours of restored and re-mastered titles by this visionary filmmaker on a 4-disc DVD and 3-disc Blu-ray. On 17, 19, 25 and 27 February, BFI Southbank presents four special screening events including Early Jeff Keen Films and Dr G’s Home Movies and a touring programme will be shown at cinemas around the UK.

Films like Marvo Movie, Mad Love and others look like post-apocalyptic home movies and point to the sublime subversion of Jack Smith and Kenneth Anger, to Keen’s experiences in WW2 and to the trashy pop culture of B movies and comics.

Presented within a series of punchy programmes on DVD and Blu-ray are 45 films which reveal an astonishingly tireless talent and a unique individual not afraid to grapple with sex and war and to experiment with multiple screens, visceral noise soundtracks and animation. Massively inspiring, characters Silverhead and The Cat Woman and films like Blatzom and Victory Thru Film Power have been kept from view for far too long.

Progressing through various film stocks, though always preferring 8mm – more oppositional, more disposable, less of a sell-out – this self taught artist and pioneer of independent film impresses his very personal and highly individual stamp upon all his work.

This major BFI project, curated by William Fowler of the BFI National Archive, offers a new and criminally overdue opportunity to explore the alternative cinematic world of Brighton’s very own, Dr. Gaz.

BFI DVD and Blu-ray release date: 23 February 2009
DVD Cat no BFIVD775 (4-disc set) RRP £34.25
Blu-ray Cat no BFIB1008 (1 Blu-ray & 2 DVD disc set) RRP £34.25
Special features
· Brand new interview with Jeff Keen
· Art Flies Free (2000) – experimental documentary by Ian Helliwell
· Jeff Keen Films (1983) – documentary with interview
· 96-page booklet featuring paintings, drawings and collages by Jeff Keen plus articles by Tony Rayns, Ray Durgnat and Jack Sargeant
That's literally all I know for the moment.

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Cash Flagg
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Re: GAZWRX: The Films of Jeff Keen

#2 Post by Cash Flagg » Tue Jan 20, 2009 5:00 pm


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What A Disgrace
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Re: GAZWRX: The Films of Jeff Keen

#3 Post by What A Disgrace » Tue Jan 20, 2009 5:54 pm

I know nothing about Jeff Keen. As far as I'm concerned, he's some guy who is trying to take between $40 and $50 out of my wallet sometime in the next two months. I do have a keen interest in the avant garde, though.

Sell this box to me. What should I expect?

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Re: GAZWRX: The Films of Jeff Keen

#4 Post by MichaelB » Tue Jan 20, 2009 6:11 pm

Screenonline entries on Marvo Movie (1967), Meatdaze (1968) and White Lite (1968).

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foggy eyes
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Re: GAZWRX: The Films of Jeff Keen

#5 Post by foggy eyes » Wed Jan 21, 2009 8:29 am

Marvo Movie is such a riot that I'm prepared to buy the whole set off the back of it. However, if anybody does feel the need to dip their toe in the water first, it is already available in the excellent Shoot Shoot Shoot collection from LUX/Re:Voir. Many of the other films on the disc are equally great too, particularly Mike Leggett's black-to-white Shepherd's Bush and Chris Welsby's 360° landscape exploration Fforest Bay II, so it's well worth picking up.

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Re: GAZWRX: The Films of Jeff Keen

#6 Post by What A Disgrace » Wed Jan 21, 2009 7:35 pm

Sold.

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MichaelB
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Re: GAZWRX: The Films of Jeff Keen

#7 Post by MichaelB » Wed Feb 04, 2009 12:50 pm

...and here's Marvo Movie in its entirety (complete with high resolution viewing option).

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foggy eyes
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Re: GAZWRX: The Films of Jeff Keen

#8 Post by foggy eyes » Wed Feb 04, 2009 1:14 pm

Amazing. I know next to nothing about the rest of Keen's output, so am expecting this set to be a huge eye-opener. Those in London should definitely try and attend the series of screenings at the NFT in a couple of weeks.

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Re: GAZWRX: The Films of Jeff Keen

#9 Post by MichaelB » Wed Feb 11, 2009 10:14 am

I'm now the proud owner of a finished Blu-ray edition, and can confirm individual titles:

Early 16mm Films
Cineblatz (1967)
White Lite (1968)
Marvo Movie (1967)
Meatdaze (1968)
Rayday Film (1968-70/1976)
24 Films (1970-75)

Dr G's Home Movies
The Cartoon Theatre of Dr Gaz (1976-79)
White Dust (1970-72)
Mad Love (1972-78)

Family Star
Diary Films (1972-76)
Return of Silver Head (early 80s)

Self Portrait
Victory Thru Film Power (1980s)
B-B-B Born and Life Storm (1990s)
Kino Pulveriso (1993)
Kino Staccato (1999)
Pulverised Cinema (1990s)
The Dreams and Past Crimes of the Archduke (1979-84)
Omozap (1991)
Omozap 2 (1991)
Blatzom (1983-86)
Joy Thru Film (c. 2000)

Artwar Super 8
Artwar Fallout + Artwar 3 (twin-screen, 1992-95)
Artwar Loop 1 (1990s)
Artwar Loop 2 (1990s)

-------------------------------------------------------------------------
Early 8mm Films
Wail (1960)
Like The Time Is Now (1961)
Breakout (1962)
Instant Cinema (1964-65/2007)
Flik Flak (1964-65)
The Pink Auto (1964)
Missing Close-Ups (1964-65)
Day of the Arcane Light (1969)

Family Star Continued
Family Star (The Mutt & Jeff Icecream Sundae + Mothman) (1968-69)

Self Portrait Continued
Spontaneous Combustion (1980s)

Rayday Videos
Omozap Terribelis + Afterblatz 2 (2002)
Blatzomatika (1990s)
Blazon Blatzom: El Pistolera Blatzo (1990s)
Plasticator (1990s)
Plazmatic Blatz (1991)

Artwar Videos
Blatzom in Artwar (1990s)
Omozap in Artwar (1990-95)
Artwar (1993)
Artwar - The Last Frontier (1993)

Extras
Jeff Keen Films (1983 Channel 4 documentary)
Art Flies Free (Ian Helliwell's experimental portrait of Keen)
Jeff Keen Interview (newly shot for this release)

The material above the line is on a single Blu-ray disc (i.e. Super 8 and 16mm materials transferred to HD). The material below the line is on two DVDs (i.e. Standard 8mm and video work - mostly VHS sourced, so it clearly isn't stretched even by an SD transfer). The DVD release is identical, apart from the Blu-ray being split into two DVDs (i.e. making it a four-disc set). The booklet is 96 pages, properly bound, and crammed with essays and notes on each individual title - plus copious illustrations. There's also a full filmography, revealing that this collection comprises most of it.

Most importantly, while I can't check the region-coding situation on the actual Blu-ray disc (is this even possible with a PS3?), I can certainly confirm that the box does not mention region coding, and that the DVDs are definitely region-free. I also believe that all the material on the Blu-ray is in HD, which means that it should be completely compatible with any player worldwide. (The DVDs are obviously PAL - and need to be, given that video sources would have been PAL to begin with).

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Re: GAZWRX: The Films of Jeff Keen

#10 Post by Faeton » Tue Feb 17, 2009 11:12 am

Thanks for the info!! I've been searching for the exact content of the BR and DVD edition in several sites, but I found nothing...

Is there an appreciable quaility difference between the BR sand DVD content? I haven't got a BR player yet, and maybe this would be a good start... :)

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Re: GAZWRX: The Films of Jeff Keen

#11 Post by MichaelB » Tue Feb 17, 2009 12:02 pm

Faeton wrote:Is there an appreciable quaility difference between the BR sand DVD content?
Well, I'd hope so, but I haven't compared the two directly.

But the standout aspects of the Blu-ray for me was the way the HD transfer emphasised the films' physicality - the grain, the dirt, the various postproduction manipulations. Given the way Keen physically abuses his films after shooting, I'm guessing this is very much the impression he wants to create.

The DVDs were downconverted from the same master, but I'd be surprised if they'd give quite the same textural impression - and to back this up, Marvo Movie on YouTube is a surprisingly different viewing experience from the Blu-ray, even though the source was the same.

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Re: GAZWRX: The Films of Jeff Keen

#12 Post by Faeton » Wed Feb 18, 2009 11:44 am

MichaelB wrote:But the standout aspects of the Blu-ray for me was the way the HD transfer emphasised the films' physicality - the grain, the dirt, the various postproduction manipulations.
Thanks!! That makes BR a winner for me :-D

By the way, anyone interested in Keen's films should check this self-published booklet+DVD available at his website Kinoblatz
Last edited by Faeton on Wed Feb 25, 2009 6:20 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Dr Amicus
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Re: GAZWRX: The Films of Jeff Keen

#13 Post by Dr Amicus » Wed Feb 25, 2009 5:42 am

Is there a delay on the Blu-Ray of this? Amazon have the DVD but I had an e-mail saying there was a problem with my pre-order of the Blu-Ray?

Also, Play don't have the BR in stock.

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Re: GAZWRX: The Films of Jeff Keen

#14 Post by skuhn8 » Wed Feb 25, 2009 5:48 am

I noticed yesterday that it is no longer listed in the BFI Filmstore.

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Re: GAZWRX: The Films of Jeff Keen

#15 Post by Faeton » Wed Feb 25, 2009 8:13 am

Dr Amicus wrote:Is there a delay on the Blu-Ray of this? Amazon have the DVD but I had an e-mail saying there was a problem with my pre-order of the Blu-Ray?
Also, Play don't have the BR in stock.
It seems so... my play.com order is 'awaiting stock' :|
Hope nothing serious has happened with the BR ed.

Good news. The status of the order has changed to 'Packing' :D

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Re: GAZWRX: The Films of Jeff Keen

#16 Post by carax09 » Thu Feb 26, 2009 9:35 am

Apparently, Amazon are still awaiting stock. I'm trying to decide if I should have them ship the rest of my pending order, or wait on the arrival of the Keen BD. Any insider dope on the expected wait would be greatly appreciated.

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Re: GAZWRX: The Films of Jeff Keen

#17 Post by MichaelB » Wed Mar 04, 2009 5:21 am

Detailed reviews are in short supply at present (unsurprisingly: there's nine hours of video material plus the conceptual challenge of getting to grips with Keen's utterly singular universe in the first place), but here's one from Little White Lies.

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Re: GAZWRX: The Films of Jeff Keen

#18 Post by foggy eyes » Wed Mar 04, 2009 11:04 am

LWL wrote:Watching Jeff Keen’s hyper-speed animated collages for the first time is like being strapped down for an eyeball melting dose of Clockwork Orange-style treatment.

What an odd way to open a favourable review! Lest anyone gets confused, I must stress that these films are never less than immensely playful and in no way related to forms of audio-visual indoctrination.

The second half of Keen's 1963/2008 polka dot 8mm Flik Flak (in which Jackie Keen cries cardiac tears whilst the Gill Man moves in time to Beulah's Boogie) is on YouTube. At times it feels (to me) like there's more invention in 24 frames of one of these 8/16mm cut-ups than many filmmakers manage in an entire career.

BLATZAK!

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Re: GAZWRX: The Films of Jeff Keen

#19 Post by ouatitw » Wed Mar 04, 2009 8:39 pm

I only watched the 16mm films but so far, I'm pleased with the purchase.

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Re: GAZWRX: The Films of Jeff Keen

#20 Post by Cash Flagg » Thu Mar 05, 2009 8:42 pm


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Re: GAZWRX: The Films of Jeff Keen

#21 Post by Dr Amicus » Fri Mar 13, 2009 4:48 am

And still Amazon don't have the Blu-Ray in! :cry:

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Re: GAZWRX: The Films of Jeff Keen

#22 Post by Dr Amicus » Thu Mar 26, 2009 5:12 am

My copy finally arrived yesterday :D

I've only watched Marvo Movie and the two Omozaps - and I loved them, especially Omozap 2, two of the most frenetic, entertaining minutes of film I've seen. I can definitely see where Ken Russell is coming from though!

After watching them, I realised I must have seen a couple of Keen's films at the Brighton Cinematheque - but just didn't realise (a) he was local or (b) he had produced so much work. I'm looking forward to exploring the rest of the set.

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Re: GAZWRX: The Films of Jeff Keen

#23 Post by s.j. bagley » Thu Apr 30, 2009 7:57 pm

the bd of this being region free is the best news i've heard so far, this year.

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Re: GAZWRX: The Films of Jeff Keen

#24 Post by manicsounds » Wed May 06, 2009 9:01 pm

I hope more people get this set, so Jeff Keen can buy some new teeth with the royalties

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Re: GAZWRX: The Films of Jeff Keen

#25 Post by so lightly here » Fri Jul 31, 2009 6:24 pm

I don't even have a region free player so two of the s-dvd discs are unviewable, but I was feeling extravagant and boy is the one Blu-ray region 0 disc worth the price of admission. Moving collages, hoppin' wonderful! Jumpin' Jeff Keen is a gaz! Better than Brakhage??? Decide for yourself.

And while here, the BFI Blu-ray of Kenneth Anger's work is so much better that the US s-dvd. BFI and Blu-ray - what a team, wish they were all region free.

Tons-o-thanks to the person who keeps everyone informed with what BFI Blu-ray's are region 0.

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