Sunday May 31, 2009, 7:30 pm
At the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood
Los Angeles Filmforum presents
Dialogues, by Owen Land – Los Angeles Premiere!
Owen Land in person!
Filmforum is delighted to welcome back legendary filmmaker Owen Land (formerly known as George Landow) for the official Los Angeles premiere of his newest work Dialogues.
On one level, Dialogues (2009, 133 mins, video) is a parody of Scorpio Rising, using era-specific hit records to locate scenes in time; on another level, it’s an interpretation of Plato’s dialogue ‘Phaedo’, in which Socrates proves the doctrine of re-incarnation; on still another level, it is a polemic for the Tantric belief in the sacredness of male-female polarity in the form of thirty “Platonic Dialogues.” Rated R: Restricted to audiences with a knowledge of Art History. – Owen Land
Dialogues is a feature-length self-reflexive experimental film by Apollo Jize (aka Owen Land) with music by the American Buddhist composer Meredith Monk, a graduate of Sarah Lawrence College, Yonkers, New York:
It was raining torrents in Torrance
But she had no rain insurance
She said to a molester
I’ll go back to Westchester
It never rains at Sarah Lawrence
But, alas, she finally went bonkers
Because it was raining in Yonkers
– Owen Land
More on Owen Land:
Owen Land, formerly known as George Landow, was one of the most original and celebrated American filmmakers of the 1960s and 1970s.
His early materialist works anticipated Structural Film, the definition of which provoked his rejection of film theory and convention. Having first explored the physical qualities of the celluloid strip itself in FILM IN WHICH THERE APPEAR … and BARDO FOLLIES, his attention turned to the spectator in a series of ‘literal’ films that question the illusionary nature of cinema through the use of word play and optical ambiguity.
His two most complex films are WIDE ANGLE SAXON, in which a man has a spiritual revelation during an avant-garde screening at the Walker Art Center, and ON THE MARRIAGE BROKER JOKE, whose disparate cast of characters include two pandas discussing, and making, an avant-garde film about the marketing of Japanese salted plums. Both are models of the unconscious process, with loose narratives that bring together a variety elements through visual and verbal humour.
Land constructs ‘facades’ of reality, often directly addressing the viewer using the language of television, advertising or educational films, and by featuring characters that are often the antithesis of those we might expect to see, such as podgy middle aged men and religious fanatics. He sometimes parodies experimental film itself, by mimicking his contemporaries and mocking the solemn approach of theorists and scholars.
Films like REMEDIAL READING COMPREHENSION propose an alternative logic for a medium that has become over theorised and manipulated. Later works, beginning with THANK YOU JESUS FOR THE ETERNAL PRESENT and A FILM OF THEIR 1973 SPRING TOUR, draw upon the filmmaker’s experiences with Christianity, but are far from evangelistic.
His films contain numerous cross-references to the art and culture of our time, giving them a relevance and vitality beyond the hermetic avant-garde. Owen Land has exposed the material of cinema and deconstructed its process and effect, while covering the ‘big topics’ of religion, psychoanalysis, commerce and pandas making avant-garde movies. — Mark Webber
This screening series is supported, in part, by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors through the Los Angeles County Arts Commission and the Department of Cultural Affairs, City of Los Angeles.