April 26 – Six classic experimental films from Treasures from American Film Archives IV

Sunday April 26, 2009, 7:30 pm

At the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood

6712 Hollywood Blvd (at Las Palmas), Hollywood CA 90028

Park at the Hollywood & Highland complex and bring your ticket for validation, $2 for 4 hours!

Los Angeles Filmforum presents
Treasures from American Film Archives IV – Six experimental film classics from the DVD box, screened on film, in honor of its releaseon film!
With Jeff Lambert, Assistant Director of the National Film Preservation Foundation, and Mark Toscano of the Academy Film Archive in person!

Treasure IV: American Avant-Garde Film, 1947-1986 (2009)

Treasure IV: American Avant-Garde Film, 1947-1986 (2009)

This March brought the long-awaited release of the National Film Preservation Foundation’s glorious 2-DVD box set, Treasures IV: American Avant-Garde Film, 1947-1986, the home-video debut of 26 classics of American experimental filmmaking. Treasures IV showcases the preservation work of America’s foremost avant-garde film archives: Anthology Film Archive, the Academy Film Archive of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the Museum of Modern Art, the Donnell Media Center of the New York Public Library, and Pacific Film Archive. In honor of its release, Filmforum tonight brings you six of the restored films from the set, on film, in all their glory, the better to whet your appetite for all the glories of the box set.

You can read reviews of the box set on Reviews at Slant Magazine as well as Paste Magazine.

Tonight we’ll be screening:

Fog Line by Larry Gottheim (1970, 11 min., 16mm, color, silent)
Restored print courtesy of the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts

“It is a small but perfect film.” — Jonas Mekas
“The metaphor in Fog Line is so delicately positioned that I find myself receding in many directions to discover its source: The Raw and the Cooked? Analytic vs. Synthetic? Town & Country? Ridiculous and Sublime? One line is scarcely adequate to the bounty which hangs from fog & line conjoined.” — Tony Conrad
Fog Line is a wonderful piece of conceptual art, a stroke along that careful line between wit and wisdom — a melody in which literally every frame is different from every preceding frame (since the fog is always lifting) and the various elements of the composition — trees, animals, vegetation, sky, and, quite importantly, the emulsion, the grain of the film itself — continue to play off one another as do notes in a musical composition. The quality of the light – the tonality of the image itself — adds immeasurably to the mystery and excitement as the work unfolds, the fog lifting, the film running through the gate, the composition static yet the frame itself fluid, dynamic, magnificently kinetic. — Raymond Foery

Go! Go! Go! by Marie Menken (1964, 11.5 min., 16mm, color, silent)
Restored print from Filmmakers Coop

Taken from a moving vehicle, for much of the footage. The rest uses stationary frame, stop-motion. In the harbor sequence, I had to wait for the right amount of activity, to show effectively the boats darting about; some sequences took over an hour to shoot, and last perhaps a minute on the screen. The “strength and health” sequence was shot at a body beautiful convention. Various parts of the city of New York, the busy man’s engrossment in his busy-ness, make up the major part of the film … a tour-de-force on man’s activities.

Chumlum (1964)

Chumlum (1964)

Chumlum by Ron Rice (1964, 26 min., 16mm, color, sound)
Print from Filmmakers Coop

With Jack Smith, Beverly Grant, Mario Montez, Joel Markman, Frances Francine, Guy Henson, Barry Titus, Zelda Nelson, Gerard Malanga. Music by Angus McLise. Sound Technician: Tony Conrad.
“It’s not unlike a bizarre dream, in riotous color..” New York Herald Tribune.
“Ron Rice’s only color film, Chumlum depicts Jack Smith and some of his cast during the making of Normal Love, which includes Beverly Grant, Mario Montez, Francis Francine, and Tiny Tim. Rice offers glimpses of them in between set-ups at Normal Love’s locations, as well as shots of the players lying in hammocks and rocking lazily after they were back in Rice’s New York City loft. Throughout Chumlum, he utilizes superimpositions to turn his subjects into fields of texture, rhythm, and color. The title is derived from the score by composer/musician Angus MacLise, which he played on cembalo.” — Nicole Gagne, All Movie Guide

Peyote Queen by Storm De Hirsch (1965, 9 min., 16mm, color, sound)
Restored print from Anthology Film Archive

A further exploration into the color of ritual, the color of thought; a journey through the underworld of sensory derangement.
“A very beautiful work! The abstractions drawn directly on film are like the paintings of Miró moving at full speed to the rhythm of an African beat.” — D. Noguez, La Nouvelle Revue Francaise
“Among my favorites … beauty and excitement.” –– Jonas Mekas, The Village Voice.

Necrology (1969-1970)

Necrology (1969-1970)

Necrology by Standish Lawder (1969-1970, 12 min., 16mm, b&w/so)
Restored print courtesy of Academy Film Archive, with thanks to Canyon Cinema

“In Necrology, a 12-minute film, in one continuous shot he films the faces of a 5:00 PM crowd descending via the Pan Am building escalators. In old-fashioned black and white, these faces stare into the empty space, in the 5:00 PM tiredness and mechanical impersonality, like faces from the grave. It’s hard to believe that these faces belong to people today. The film is one of the strongest and grimmest comments upon the contemporary society that cinema has produced.” – Jonas Mekas, The Village Voice

“Without doubt, the sickest joke I’ve ever seen on film.” – Hollis Frampton
Collection: Museum of Modern Art, NY

7362 (1965-1967)

7362 (1965-1967)

7362 by Pat O’Neill (1965-1967, 10 min., 16mm, color, sound)
Restored print courtesy of Academy Film Archive, with thanks to Canyon Cinema

Sound: Joseph Byrd, Michael Moore; Picture: Pat O’Neill. A bilaterally symmetrical (west to east) fusion of human, biomorphic and mechanical shapes in motion. Has to do with the spontaneous generation of electrical energy. A fairly rare (ten years ago) demonstration of the Sabattier effect in motion. Numbered after the film stock of the same name. “Fetishistic.” – Isabella Beeton

Treasures IV is made possible through generous grants from the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts, with additional support from Film Technology, Inc. Net proceeds from sales will support further film preservation. A two-page brochure with the complete line-up of films can be downloaded from the NFPF Web site.

The National Film Preservation Foundation is the independent, nonprofit organization created by the U.S. Congress to help save America’s film heritage. Working with archives and others who appreciate film, the NFPF supports activities that save films for future generations, improve film access for education and exhibition, and increase public commitment to preserving film as a cultural resource, art form, and historical record. Established in 1996, the NFPF is the charitable affiliate of the National Film Preservation Board of the Library of Congress.

Jeff Lambert is the National Film Preservation Foundation’s Assistant Director, he oversees the grant programs, which have more than tripled in size under his direction. He worked at the San Francisco Cinematheque before joining the foundation in 1998. Mr. Lambert initiated the Avant-Garde Masters Grants, the NFPF collaborative effort funded by The Film Foundation to rescue outstanding examples of postwar avant-garde cinema. He also served as the project manager for Treasures IV: American Avant-Garde Film, 1947-1986. Mr. Lambert has taught film history at San Francisco State University.

Mark Toscano is a preservationist at the Academy Film Archive, where he specializes in independent and avant-garde cinema. In addition to a major focus on Los Angeles experimental films, Mark’s preservation activities also have extended to work by Stan Brakhage, Robert Nelson, Will Hindle, Ray Harryhausen, Satyajit Ray, and the Maysles.

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One response to “April 26 – Six classic experimental films from Treasures from American Film Archives IV

  1. Pingback: L.A. Filmforum: Treasures From American Film Archives IV Selections | Bad Lit

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