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April 13: Heinz Emigholz: Photography and Beyond (part II Filmforum)

Sunday April 13, 2008, 7:00 pm

At the Egyptian Theater in Hollywood

Los Angeles Filmforum presents
Heinz Emigholz: Photography and Beyond

Closing Night show of a week-long series

Sullivan’s BanksSullivan’s Banks (Photography and Beyond 2) (1993-2000, 35mm, color, 38 min.)
Emigholz presents the buildings of the great American architect Louis Sullivan (1856–1924).
At the age of thirty-five, Sullivan was one of America’s most famous architects. The skyscraper trilogy (“Wainwright Building”, St. Louis 1892, “Guaranty Building”, Buffalo 1896, “Bayard Building”, NYC 1899) that he designed together with Dankmar Adler can be found in every dictionary of architecture. The basis of his creations was the separation of construction and facade made possible by the invention of reinforced concrete. He consistently draped his buildings with facades that no longer had a load-bearing function as a form of free expression. From one building to the next, both inside and outside, he varied and perfected his modular ornamental designs in brick, steel, plaster, terracotta, glass, ceramics, mosaic, marble, light, relief, stencil designs, wood and metal.

We find ourselves in the heart of Americana. Walt Whitman was Sullivan’s role model, and just like him, Sullivan drew upon the sign language of nature rather than historical styles. This language is accessible to all and is therefore the basis of democracy. Democracy must be a vessel for the repetition of human experience. Its sites must preserve human dignity.

Sullivan’s Banks“All buildings have arisen, have stood, and stand as physical symbols of the psychic state of the people … throughout the past and the present, each building stands as a social act”, Sullivan wrote in the 1906 essay ‘What is Architecture’.

“In everything that men do they leave an indelible imprint of their minds. If this suggestion be followed out, it will become surprisingly clear how each and every building reveals itself naked to the eye; how its every aspect, to the smallest detail, to the lightest move of the hand, reveals the workings of the mind of the man who made it, and who is responsible to us for it.”

More on the film can be found here.

Miscellanea IIIMiscellanea III (Photography and Beyond 10) (1997-2004, 35mm, 22 min.)
A collage of architectural footage taken in the U.S. in April and May 2002 during the filming of Goff in the Desert and in Italy after March 24, 1997 in preparation for the project D’Annunzio’s Cave.
MISCELLANEA (III) shows the portal, designed by Louis H. Sullivan, to the Chicago Stock Exchange on Monroe Street in Chicago, which was erected in 1894 and torn down in 1972; ruins of a glass factory in Henryetta, Oklahoma, from which Bruce Goff bought the colorful pieces of glass he often used; a railway bridge over a creek in the desert on Highway 62; the General Patton Memorial Museum on Interstate Highway 10 and an intersection in Twenty Nine Palms, California; “Gateway West” – the Mexican border – and City Hall in El Paso, New Mexico; a study of downtown Oklahoma City and the national memorial designed by Hans Butzer in honor of the people killed in the bombing of the Murrah Building on April 19, 1995; the Community Center designed by William Wesley Peters in 1982 and Frank Lloyd Wright’s Price Tower from 1956 in Bartlesville, Oklahoma; the Tower and geodesic Gold Dome that Robert B. Roloff built in 1958 in Oklahoma City from Buckminster Fuller’s plans; the jungle gym Bruce Goff built in Bartlesville, Oklahoma in 1963 for children; a Lockheed T-33, the training version of the first twin-jet US fighter plane, built on a German model, exhibited as a sculpture in front of the Center of Commerce in Del Rio, Texas; three buildings by Frank Lloyd Wright from the 1920s, in which Bruce Goff had a hand; the oldest cement fence in Tulsa, Oklahoma, the oldest brick silo near Bartlesville, and a concrete schoolhouse from the 1920s in Dewey, Oklahoma; the burial sites of Louis H. Sullivan and Bruce Goff in Graceland Cemetery in Chicago; the warship “Puglia” built into a mountain slope on the grounds of Gabriele d’Annunzio’s mausoleum, the “Vittoriale” in Gardone on Lake Garda – his body and those of ten loyal followers in sarcophagi on marble steles, high above Lake Garda. More on the film can be found here.

Maillart’s BridgesMaillart’s Bridges (Photography and Beyond 3) (2001, 35mm, 24 min.)
Swiss architect Robert Maillart revolutionized concrete-based construction. By reducing the material to the essential load-bearing elements and redesigning these in his structures, he developed a completely novel world of forms.
The film shows fourteen concrete roof constructions and bridges designed and built by Robert Maillart between 1910 and 1935: The warehouse on Zurich’s Giesshübelstrasse (1910), the filter building in Rorschach (1912), the Maggazini Generali warehouse in Chiasso (1924), the aqueduct near Chatelard (1925), the bridge over the Valtschielbach (1925), Salginatobel Bridge (1930), Spital Bridge (1931), the bridges over the Bohlbach and the Rossgraben Bridge (all 1932), the bridge over the Schwandbach and the Thur Bridge near Felsegg (both 1933), the footbridge over the River Toess in Winterthur (1934) and the Arvebrücke near Geneva (1935). Shooting took place in April 1996.Maillart’s Bridges

The complex simplicity and elegance of the load-bearing structures set new aesthetic standards the world over. However, his rejection of massive construction methods and his reduction of forms to the essential lines of structural strength provoked mistrust among building authorities and led them to impose absurd conditions. His pioneering experiments can be found in out-of-the-way valleys of small cantons which gave him a free reign for his design. More on the film can be found here.

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April 6: Heinz Emigholz: Photography and Beyond (part I Filmforum)

Sunday April 6, 2008, 7:00 pm

At the Egyptian Theater in Hollywood

Los Angeles Filmforum presents
Heinz Emigholz: Photography and Beyond

Opening Night show of a week-long series

Basis of Make-Up IIThe Basis Of Make-Up II (Photography and Beyond 4) (1995-2000, 35mm, color, 48 min.)
Featured are are sixty-nine of Heinz Emigholz’s illustrated notebooks from 1983 to 1996, three sketch books from the 80s and 90s, and cinematic studies of his exhibition “Der Untergang der Bismarck” at the Zwinger Gallery, Berlin 1988, a castle moat in Riva, Italy 1997, a casting of Aguste Rodin’s “The Gates of Hell” in front of the Kunsthaus in Zürich 1988, an olive grove near Norma in Italy 1995, a magnolia tree in Basle 1996, burnt meat at Cabo de Creus in the Pyrenees 1988, an i9ntersection in Owatonna, Minnesota 1995, and a house underpass in Giesshübelstrasse, Zurich 1996. In addition, there are 184 drawings from the series “Die Basis des Make-Up” as positives and negatives.
The Basis of Make-Up is “the center around which my feature films revolve. I imagine them as an intermezzo between the long films, the data bank as a breather.” (Heinz Emigholz). More on the film can be found here.

Miscellanea I (Photography and Beyond 5) (1988-2001, 35mm, b&w, 20 min.)
Miscellanea I and II, as their titles suggest, are studies done during the filming of various other projects, “left-overs” that are assembled here in a new and fascinating way.

Miscellanea IMiscellanea I is a series studies on 35mm b/w film from 1988 to 1997:
Raw meat at Cabo de Creus and the ruins of “Sant Pere de Rodes” in the Spanish Pyrenees, filmed on October 7 and 11, 1988. Eckhard Rhode, Kyle deCamp and John Erdman at Georges Rodenbach’s grave at the Père Lachaise cemetery in Paris on September 27, 1988. Eckhard Rhode translates the inscription on the tombstone: “Lord, give me hope to live on in the melancholic eternity of the book”.

This footage was made while shooting the feature film “Der Zynische Körper (The Holy Bunch)”, in which the scene was not included. The power stations “Humboldt” and “Wilhelmsruh”, built by Hans Heinrich Müller in 1926 in Berlin – their interaction with the set-designs in Fritz Lang’s “Mabuse” films and “Metropolis” is still felt today – filmed on April 9 and 10, 1997. Jochen Nickel at Heinz Emigholz’s exhibition “Die Basis des Make-Up 1974-1994” in the Hamburg Kunsthalle on July 1, 1994. Views of plane trees in Barcelona with Eckhard Rhode on October 4, 1988 – a congenial relationship between the coulour nuances of tree bark and stones and Kodak’s Plus X b/w film. The tympanum of Auguste Rodin’s “The Gates of Hell” at the Zurich Kunsthaus on October 30, 1988. Hans Etter had scaffolding put up in the front of the sculpture so we could film details not visible from street level. The bronze casting of “La Porte de L’Enfer” in Zurich was done in the 1940s near Paris during the German occupation and was a present of the Nazi government to the Swiss arms manufacturer Bührle – as thanks for the good business relationship and the delivery of anti-aircraft guns. More on the film can be found here.

Miscellanea IIMiscellanea II (Photography and Beyond 6) (1988-2001, 35mm, color, 19 min.)
Miscellanea I and II, as their titles suggest, are studies done during the filming of various other projects, “left-overs” that are assembled here in a new and fascinating way.
Miscellanea II is a series of studies on 35 mm color film from 1988 to 1997:

The memorial to the crew of the crashed “Challenger” space shuttle in the grounds of the “Neil Armstrong Air & Space Museum” in Wapakoneta, Ohio, on April 3, 1995. “The Ladora Savings Bank” by C. B. Zalesky in Ladora, Iowa, April 4, 1995. Both motifs were discovered by chance during a filming expedition to the last eight buildings of Louis Sullivan in the Midwest of the United States. Neil Armstrong was born near Wapakoneta, Zalesky was a scholar of Sullivan.

The painting “Building of the Devil’s Bridge” (ca. 1833) by Carl Blechen and the present location of the “Devil’s Bridge” at the St. Gotthard Pass, shot on April 18, 1996, during a filming expedition to Robert Maillart’s bridges. The castle in Arco and the swimming pool built by Giancarlo Maroni between 1932 and 1934 in Riva on Lake Garda, filmed March 23, 1997. Maroni came from Arco, and was D’Annunzios personal architect at the “Vittoriale” in Gardone. The footage was made during the shooting of “D’Annunzios Cave – Interior Design as Political Declaration”, Part 8 – still unfinished – of the series “Photography and beyond”. Ueli Etter cleaning the screens and printing motifs for his exhibition “on a clear day” in Berlin, August 22, 1995. The post offices in Sabaudia and Latina, south of Rome, built by Angiolo Mazzoni in the early 30s, and his railway station (1937) in Latina Scalo, filmes July 31, and August 3, 1995. Jochen Nickel, Ueli Etter und Ronny Tanner at Ueli Etter’s exhibition “you can see forever” on June 21, 1996. Buildings next to the Via Appia near Pontinia on August 7, 1995. Raw meat at Cabo de Creus in Spain on October 11, 1988. More on the film can be found here.

March 30 – Southern California Video: Allan Sekula

Sunday March 30, 2008, 7:00 pm

At the Egyptian Theater in Hollywood

Los Angeles Filmforum presents
Southern California Video: Allan Sekula

Filmforum highlights the work of four artists whose work cries out for more exhibition – significant pieces by fine artists of their media.

We start with Allan Sekula in person presenting three video pieces, two recent, one much older, allowing us to see how his work has developed over the years.

Since the early 1970s, Allan Sekula’s works with photographic sequences, written texts, slide shows and sound recordings have traveled a path close to cinema, sometimes referring to specific films, sometimes, as he then described his 1973 work “Aerospace Folktales,” operating like a “disassembled movie” while resisting the “dictatorship of the projector.” However, with the exception of a few video works from the early 70s and early 80s, he has stayed away from the moving image. This changed in 2001, with the first work the Sekula was willing to call a film, Tsukiji, filmed in the Tokyo fish market of that name.

Tsukiji (2001, 43 mins, digital video, color, sound)  Tsukiji is a “city symphony” film of sorts, dedicated to the largest fish-market in the world, and one of the last surviving proletarian spaces in Tokyo. A film about cutting in a double sense, it harkens back to a moment of intersection of modernism and social realism, evoking the ghost of the left-wing Japanese novelist of the 1920s and 30s, Takiji Kobayashi, author of Kani kosen (The Factory Ship) and an early victim of Japanese fascism. — Allan Sekula

“Tsukiji, thus, was a risk for the established artist, who chose to depart from photography for the distant shores of video, a challenge that he rose to magnificently. The pacing of the video is spellbinding, with a masterful interplay between composed establishing shots and painfully intimate close-ups of fish gasping in their dying moments (some of them already without their bodies, whisked away by the swift knives of the fileters), or the lonely and vacant faces of the workers making their rounds. Sekula has a spectacular eye for visual detail, and there are many arresting moments here — from the band-saw dissection of enormous frozen tuna carcasses like chunks of birch wood, their heads stacked like cordwood in bins, or the filleting of live eels by chatting workers, or the horrific descaling of a living fish, its still-gasping mouth smeared with blood. Sekula has spoken of his work in relation to the traditions of still-life painting, and you can see why. These images — wet, sloppy with blood, scales and slime — are outrageously sensual, seducing us even as they elicit repulsion.” — Sarah Milroy, Globe and Mail (Toronto) 3 December 2004

“A masterpiece…” — James Benning, 2001.

Japanese, English

Direction/camera: Allan Sekula

Editing: Michael Jarmon

A Short Film for Laos (2006-2007, 45 mins, digital video, color, sound)  You start somewhere, and you end up somewhere else. You start with something, and you end up with something else.

I imagined I would start with the Mekong. Laos is a landlocked country threaded through by a great river. The boats are like needles in the muddy currents. But no justice can be done to the river in the dry season. Only the monsoon could complete the story. Maybe later: a longer film.

During the war, some thirty years ago, I read Fred Branfman’s book Voices From the Plain of Jars. No one was as relentless as he in exposing the secret American campaign that made Laos the “most bombed country on earth,” and thus a laboratory for imperial strategies that are both criminal and ineffective. As an American, I felt an obligation to visit the Plain of Jars, to see what we had done there.

In the retelling, the story of the war and the “mystery of the jars” begin to intertwine. An ancient civilization forged an electrical connection to the sky and a secret magnetism brought American bombers to earth, where they were refashioned into spoons.

The ancient Greeks tell us that the god of the forge chased the young goddess of war. In Laos, the guiding spirit of the forge is a scavenger, picking up after the demons of war.

Following now the story of metal rather than the story of water, I visit the blacksmiths of Ban Had Hien. The metal now comes from old truck springs. The competition from Chinese factory-made tools is tougher by the day. How long can this village economy sustain itself?

My grandfather was a blacksmith, and I still remember after fifty years the syncopated rhythm of the hammer and the glowing prize in the grip of the tongs. That was my first exposure to artifice in the old-fashioned sense, and thus to what art is all about.

In Laos, the rhythm of the forge is also the rhythm of the hearth, not so far from cooking over a wood fire. But there are other rhythms as well: the relentless industrial output of the brickmaking machine, the shoveling of gravel, the counting of money by young girls learning the lessons of the market, the quiet flux of voices at the river’s edge as the fireboats float away on the dark river.
— Allan Sekula

“Call it an essay on what the world’s made of, i.e. water and fire and iron and earth. Wryly ironic, compassionate, and unprepossessingly simple.” — Olaf Möller, Film Comment, January 2008.

Allan Sekula (direction, writing, camera, sound)

Elizabeth Hesik (editing)

English, French, Lao. (Lao subtitled version)

Performance under Working Conditions (1973, 20 mins, black and white, video)  Originally produced as a companion piece to a photo novel about working in a pizza restaurant, this early video performance is rarely shown, even though its title was lifted for a 2003 retrospective of Sekula’s work at the Generali Foundation in Vienna.

The structure is that of live television, an empty studio with two cameras and a switcher, no editing after the fact. Two cooks try to reproduce the gestures and banter of their work minus the ingredients and utensils of the kitchen. This is labor performed as madcap talky pantomine, without capital. There’s a line here that goes back to the anarcho-syndicalism of Laurel and Hardy.

Direction: Allan Sekula

Performance: Gregg Arreguin, Allan Sekula, David Scholar

Camera: Lennart Bourin

More on Allan Sekula, click on “Keep Reading” below.

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March 23: You Pick ‘Em 2! A selection of experimental films from Canyon Cinema

Sunday March 23, 2008, 7:00 pm

At the Echo Park Film Center
1200 Alvarado Street (at Sunset, northeast corner)

Los Angeles Filmforum presents
You Pick ‘Em 2! A selection of experimental films from Canyon Cinema

**NOTE THE CHANGE IN LOCATION**

For the second time, Filmforum asked you, the audience, for your choices from the vast Canyon Cinema catalogue. Rarely screened classics, curiosities, forgotten wonders?

Films include:

Hand Eye Coordination by Naomi Uman (2002, 16mm, 10min)
The film tells the story of its own making.

Womancock by Carl Linder (1965, 16mm, 15min)
Requested by Dominic Angerame, Canyon Cinema:
Here’s my pick – the film has never been rented or probably seen by anyone west of the Mississippi.

“Carl Linder’s Womancock has a rippling surreality to it, using montage-collage cinema, superimposing images within the frame and juxtaposing pieces of film and snips of music and talk to make statements about women. Which is? His women are pretty disgusting (albeit, erotic) creatures. But, more importantly, Linder has manipulated his pictures and our minds with so much unobtrusive artistry that we don’t know until later how thoroughly he had done his job.” – Michael Ross, LA Free Press

Notebook by Marie Menken (mid 1940s-1960s, 16mm, 10min)
These are too tiny or too obvious for comment, but one or two are my dearest children. “It is a very personal film which she keeps adding to … a masterpiece of filmic fragments, only shown once, but wow!” – P. Adams Sitney

Hold Me While I’m Naked by George Kuchar (1966, 16mm, 15min)
Requested by Fumiko Amako:
I’m embarrassed to say this, but haven’t seen any films by George Kuchar except for the clips from John Waters’ documentary film.

“A very direct and subtle, very sad and funny look at nothing more or less than sexual frustration and aloneness. In its economy and cogency of imaging, Hold Me surpasses any of Kuchar’s previous work. The odd blend of Hollywood glamour and drama with all-too-real life creates and inspires counterpoint of unattainable desire against unbearable actuality.” – Ken Kelman

“This film could cheer an arthritic gorilla, and audiences, apparently sensitized by its blithely accurate representation of feelings few among them can have escaped, rise from their general stupor to cheer it back.” – James Stoller, The Village Voice

Some Manipulations by Jud Yalkut (1967, 8mm, 3min)
Requested by Carlos Kase

With Nam June Paik and Charlotte Moorman, Jean Toche, Steve Rose, and Al Hansen.

A four-screen within one frame film, shot in un-slit regular 8mm, in four sections of four performance / happening / destruction art events presented in 1967 at the Judson Gallery below Washington Square in New York City. The Manipulations series, curated by the Judson’s director Jon Hendricks, was a series of evening performances of actionist art, some directly related to the international Art and Destruction movement.

3-23-08-some-manipulations2.jpgSome Manipulations captures the confrontational light pieces of Jean Toche, an avant garde musical performance by Nam June Paik and cellist Charlotte Moorman, an actionist painting event by Steve Rose, and a classic Dada lecture/performance by Al Hansen.

Bottle Can by Luther Price (1993, S8mm, 20min)
Requested by Bradford Nordeen:
May I please put in a suggestion for Luther Price’s Bottle Can. It is impossible to see his work and I would greatly appreciate it!

If I lived a thousand years ago
I’d probably be running half naked
in the scorching sun
over jagged rocks
ripping open the bottoms of my feet
and tearing off my toes.

Blood-curdling screams behind me
A tribe of men chasing me
If they caught me
they’d probably chop my head off
(excerpt)
Dark Dark by Abigail Child (2001, 16mm, 16min)
Dark Dark is a ghost dance of narrative gesture melding four found story fragments: Noir, Western, Romance and Chase. The music of Ennio Morricone provocatively interacts with the images, tantalizing the audience with webs of memory, meaning and elusive folly.” AC

Dark Dark
travels behind the scenes to re-view storytelling and its place in our cultural movie-influenced milieu. With loving attention to its ‘slates’ and ‘waits,’ its anonymous crew and actors, Dark Dark creates a comic but somehow disturbing voyage into the ‘story.’

March 16: SHOOT SHOOT SHOOT: Works of the London Film-Makers’ Co-operative, Part II

Sunday March 16, 2008, 7:00 pm

At the Egyptian Theater in Hollywood

Los Angeles Filmforum presents
SHOOT SHOOT SHOOT

Works of the London Film-Makers’ Co-operative in two programs

Curator Mark Webber in person!

The London Film-Makers’ Co-operative was established in 1966 to support work on the margins of art and cinema.  It uniquely incorporated three related activities within a single organization – a workshop for producing new films, a distribution arm for promoting them, and its own cinema space for screenings.  In this environment, Co-op members were free to explore the medium and control every stage of the process.  The physical production – printing and processing – of a film became a vital part of its creation, and is what distinguished the LFMC films from other avant-garde work of the period.

Tonight:

SHOOT SHOOT SHOOT: Programme 1 (Part II in Filmforum’s series)

SHOOTSHOOTSHOOT is a LUX project curated by Mark Webber.
Funded by Arts Council England, British Council, British Film Institute and the Esmée Fairburn Foundation.

3-16-08-slides1.jpgSlides by Annabel Nicolson (1970, 11 mins)
“A continuing sequence of tactile films were made in the printer from my earlier material. 35mm slides, light leaked film, sewn film, cut up to 8mm and 16mm fragments were dragged through the contact printer, directly and intuitively controlled.  The films create their own fluctuating colour and form dimensions defying the passive use of ‘film as a vehicle’.  The appearance of sprocket holes, frame lines etc., is less to do with the structural concept and more of a creative, plastic response to whatever is around.” — Annabel Nicolson, LFMC catalogue,1974

At the Academy by Guy Sherwin (1974, 5 mins)
“Makes use of found footage hand printed on a simple home-made contact printer, and processed in the kitchen sink.  At The Academy uses displacement of a positive and negative sandwich of the same loop.  Since the printer light spills over the optical sound track area, the picture and sound undergo identical transformations.”  — Guy Sherwin, LFMC catalogue, 1979

3-16-08-shepherds-bush.jpgShepherd’s Bush by Mike Leggett (1971, 15 mins)
Shepherd’s Bush was a revelation.  It was both true film notion and demonstrated an  ingenious association with the film-process.  It is the procedure and conclusion of a piece  of film logic using a brilliantly simple device; the manipulation of the light source in the  Film Co-op printer such that a series of transformations are effected on a loop of film  material.  From the start Mike Leggett adopts a relational perspective according to which it is neither the elements or the emergent whole but the relations between the elements  (transformations) that become primary through the use of logical procedure.”  — Roger Hammond, LFMC catalogue supplement, 1972

Film No.1 by David Crosswaite (1971, 10 mins)
Film No.1 is a 10-minute loop film.  The systems of super-imposed loops are mathematically inter-related in a complex manner.  The starting and cut off points for each loop are not clearly exposed, but through repetitions of sequences in different colours, in different ‘material’ realities (i.e. anegative, positive bas-relief, neg-pos overlay) yet in constant rhythm (both visually and on the soundtrack hum) one is manipulated to attempt to work out the system structure … The film deals with permutations of material, in a prescribed manner but one by no means ‘necessary’ or logical (except within the film’s own constructed system/serial.)” — Peter Gidal, LFMC catalogue, 1974

Dresden Dynamo by Lis Rhodes (1971, 5 mins)
“This film is the result of experiments with the application of Letraset and Letratone onto clear film.  It is essentially about how graphic images create their own sound by extending into that area of film which is ‘read’ by optical sound equipment.  The final print has been achieved through three separate, consecutive printings from the original material, on a contact printer.  Colour was added, with filters, on the final run.  The film is not a sequential piece.  It does not develop crescendos.  It creates the illusion of spatial depth from essentially, flat, graphic, raw material.” — Tim Bruce, LFMC catalogue, 1993

Versailles I & II by Chris Garratt (1976, 11 mins)
”For this film I made a contact printing box,with a printing area 16mm x 185mm which enabled the printing of 24 frames of picture plus optical sound area at one time.  The first part is a composition using 7 x 1-second shots of the statues of Versailles, Palace of 1000  Beauties, with accompanying soundtrack, woven according to a pre-determined sequence. Because sound and picture were printed simultaneously, the minute inconsistencies in exposure times resulted in rhythmic fluctuations of picture density and levels of sound.  Two of these shots comprise the second part of the film which is framed by abstract imagery printed across the entire width of the film surface: the visible image is also the sound image.” — Chris Garratt, LFMC catalogue, 1978

Silver Surfer by Mike Dunford (1972, b/w, sound, 15 mins)
“A surfer, filmed and shown on tv, refilmed on 8mm,and refilmed again on 16mm.Simple loop structure preceded by four minutes of a still frame of the surfer.  An image on the borders of apprehension, becoming more and more abstract.  The surfer surfs, never surfs anywhere, an image suspended in the light of the projector lamp.  A very quiet and undramatic film, not particularly didactic.  Sound: the first four minutes consists of a fog-horn, used as the basic tone for a chord played on the organ, the rest of the film uses the sound of breakers with a two second pulse and occasional bursts of musical-like sounds.” — Mike Dunford, LFMC catalogue supplement, 1972

Footsteps by Marilyn Halford (1974, b/w, sound, 6 mins)
Footsteps is in the manner of a game re-enacted, the game in making was between the camera and actor,the actor and cameraman, and one hundred feet of film.  The film became expanded into positive and negative to change balances within it; black for perspective, then black to shadow the screen and make paradoxes with the idea of acting, and the act of seeing the screen.  The music sets a mood then turns a space, remembers the positive then silences the flatness of the negative.” — Marilyn Halford, LFMC catalogue, 1978

March 2: SHOOT SHOOT SHOOT: Works of the London Film-Makers’ Co-operative, Part I

Sunday March 2, 2008, 7:00 pm

At the Egyptian Theater in Hollywood

Los Angeles Filmforum presents
SHOOT SHOOT SHOOT:
Works of the London Film-Makers’ Co-operative in two programs

The London Film-Makers’ Co-operative was established in 1966 to support work on the margins of art and cinema.  It uniquely incorporated three related activities within a single organization – a workshop for producing new films, a distribution arm for promoting them, and its own cinema space for screenings.  In this environment, Co-op members were free to explore the medium and control every stage of the process.  The physical production – printing and processing – of a film became a vital part of its creation, and is what distinguished the LFMC films from other avant-garde work of the period.

Tonight:

SHOOT SHOOT SHOOT: Programme 2 (Program 1 is on March 16)
The 1960s and 1970s were a defining period for artists’ film and video in which avant-garde filmmakers challenged cinematic convention.  In England, much of the innovation took place at the London Film-Makers’ Co-operative, an artist-led organization that incorporated a distribution office, projection space and film workshop.  Despite the workshop’s central role in production, not all the work derives from experimentation in printing and processing.  Filmmakers also used language, landscape and the human body to create less abstract works that still explore the essential properties of the film medium.

SHOOTSHOOTSHOOT is a LUX project curated by Mark Webber.
Funded by Arts Council England, British Council, British Film Institute and the Esmée Fairburn Foundation.

Threshold by Malcolm Le Grice (1972, color, sound, 10 mins)
“Le Grice no longer simply uses the printer as a reflexive mechanism, but utilises the  possibilities of colour-shift and permutation of imagery as the film progresses from simplicity to complexity … With the film’s culmination in representational, photographic imagery, one would anticipate a culminating ‘richness’ of image; yet the insistent evidence of splice bars and the loop and repetition of the short piece of found footage and the conflicting superimposition of filtered loops all reiterate the work which is necessary to decipher that cinematic image.”(Deke Dusinberre, LFMC catalogue, 1993)

Seven Days by Chris Welsby (1974, color, sound, 20 mins)
“The location of this film is by a small stream on the northern slopes of Mount Carningly in southwest Wales.  The seven days were shot consecutively and appear in that same order. Each day starts at the time of local sunrise and ends at the time of local sunset.  One frame was taken every ten seconds throughout the film.  The camera was mounted on an Equatorial Stand, which is a piece of equipment used by astronomers to track the stars. Rotating at the same speed as the earth, the camera is always pointing at either its own shadow or at the sun.  Selection of image (sky or earth; sun or shadow) was controlled by the extent of cloud coverage.  If the sun was out the camera was turned towards its own shadow; if it was in the camera was turned towards the sun.”
(Chris Welsby, LFMC catalogue, 1978)

Key by Peter Gidal (1968, color, sound, 10 mins)
“Slow zoom out and defocus of …”(Peter Gidal, LFMC catalogue, 1974)

Moment by Stephen Dwoskin (1968, color, sound, 12 mins)
“One single continuous shot of a girl’s face before, during and after an orgasm.   A concentration on the subtle changes within the face – going from an objective look into a subjective one and then back out … Moment is not a woman alone, but with her ‘in person’.  Have you ever really watched the face in orgasm?”
(Stephen Dwoskin, Other Cinema catalogue, 1972)

3-2-08-associations2.jpgAssociations by John Smith (1975, color, sound, 7 mins)
“Text taken from ‘Word Associations and Linguistic Theory’ by Herbert H. Clark.  Images taken from magazines and colour supplements.  By using the ambiguities inherent in the English language,  Associations sets language against itself.  Image and word work  together/against each other to destroy / create meaning.”
(John Smith, LFMC catalogue, 1978)

Deck by Gill Eatherley (1971, color, sound, 13 mins)
“During a voyage by boat to Finland, the camera records three minutes of black and white 8mm film of a woman sitting on a bridge.  The preoccupation of the film is with the base and with the transformation of this material, which was first refilmed on a screen where it was projected by multiple projectors at different speeds and then secondly amplified with colour filters, using positive and negative elements and superimposition on the London Co-op’s optical printer.”(Gill Eatherley, Light Cone catalogue, 1997)

3-2-08-image.jpgColours of this Time by William Raban (1972, color, silent, 3 mins)
“Whilst working on previous time-lapse films, I found that colour film tended to record the actual colour of the light source rather than local colour when long time exposures were used.  Using this phenomenon, Colours of this Time records all the imperceptible shifts of colour temperature in summer daylight, from first light until sunset.”
(William Raban, LFMC catalogue, 1974)

January 27: First Sight Scene: New Works by Southern California Filmmakers

Sunday January 27, 2008, 7:00 pm

At the Spielberg Theatre at the Egyptian

Los Angeles Filmforum presents
First Sight Scene: New Works by Southern California Filmmakers
Curated by Jaimie Baron and Victoria Meng

First Sight Scene is Filmforum’s celebration of the bounty of creative work being made by local filmmakers. It was started in 1992, and was last held in 2000. This year’s First Sight Scene program, which brings together new work by experimental filmmakers in Southern California, emphasizes the creation of different kinds of spaces and reflects the continuities and breaks between film and video, the analog and the digital, the real and the perceived, documentary and fiction. While Madison Brookshire’s Opening meditates on everyday landscapes through long, beautiful film takes, Christina McPhee’s video Carrizoprime fragments the space of the San Andreas Fault, creating a new layered and polymorphous digital landscape. John Cannizzaro’s Fountain of Youth mourns the passing of time and the Super8 format by portraying the ideal space of childhood, and Gwenaelle Gobe’s cut-out animation The Old Noise uses stop-motion to create a impossible space, events, and juxtapositions, while Thomas Helman’s df/dx generates a world of nightmares through digital manipulation. Erik Deutschman’s Stare Gently plays tricks on viewers’ perceptions, inducing animation of static shots through optical illusion, and Dena DeCola and Karin E. Wandner’s Five More Minutes blurs the line between fiction and documentary in order to explore the experience of past traumas in the present moment.

Festivities to follow the screening.

Films include:

1-27-08-opening-still.jpegOpening (Madison Brookshire, 16mm, 25 min, with live sound accompaniment)
“Using everyday images of overlooked spaces, Opening shows that the city casts a shadow. A collection of off-ramps, power lines and alleys reveals the city in the landscape and the landscape in the city. Three musicians playing very clear, very quiet, very long tones accompany Opening. The score transforms the film, infinitely repeatable, into an indeterminate work, different from one performance to the next.” (Madison Brookshire)

1-27-08-carrizoprime-still.jpgCarrizoprime (Christina McPhee, 2006, video, 13 min)
“Polymorphous layers explore seismic distortion between waking and sleeping. Traveling along the San Andreas Fault, traces of events in the landscape appear without the possibility for their prediction, only for their probabilities. Remnants charted. Fault activities backdrop ruined homesteads, abandoned schemes in California Valley on the Carrizo Plain. The images are accompanied by the sound of P-waves from the 2004 Parkfield Quake. Shot on location at the San Andreas Fault, Soda Lake, and Wallace Creek, in the Carrizo Plain National Monument, California, 2002-2006.” (Christina McPhee)

1-27-08-stare-gently-still.jpgStare Gently (Erik Deutschman, Super8, screening on DVCam, 2.5 min)
“Follow the instructions and see.” (Erik Deutschman)

 

1-27-08-fountain-of-youth-still2.jpgFountain of Youth (John Cannizzaro, Super8, screening on mini-DV, 13 min).
“The last home movie. Shot in the now discontinued Kodachrome 40 Super8 film stock. A cine-poem to time, childhood and the color of memory.” (John Cannizzaro)

1-27-08-oldnoisestills05.jpgThe Old Noise (Gwenaelle Gobe, 35 mm, 4 min)
“The Old Noise tells the story of Stephanie, a two-headed girl who wakes up panicked, realizing she has given birth to four babies, four chairs, and a table. This experimental animation, using silhouette cutout techniques, explores the emotion of fear when confronted with the unexpected and the unusual.” (Gwenaelle Gobe)

1-27-08-dfdx_still_01.jpgdf/dx (Thomas Helman, HD screening on mini-DV, 2007, 6:16 min)
“An overexposed spiraling descent of false-awakenings into the recurrent nightmare of alienation and the subsequent clockwork manufacture of an insatiable desire for unity – df/dx is an abject refutation of the closure of any form.” (Thomas Helman)

1-27-08-five-more-mins.jpgFive More Minutes (Dena DeCola and Karin E. Wandner, DV Cam, 17:23 min)
Five More Minutes is an exploration of grief. Two women spend an afternoon recreating lost time. What begins as play-acting breaks open into a world where the tenderness and sorrow of having to say goodbye exist untempered.” (Dena DeCola and Karin E. Wandner)

Five More Minutes has a perfect pleasurable tension that sustains and builds throughout. There are complex layers of interest – the subtle profound relationship between mother and daughter, friends and performers, reality breaking through artifice, artifice through reality. It is haunting and grows in the mind.” (Larry Gottheim)

“We live in such a buttoned-up, fearful, cautious culture. Five More Minutes is an attempt to open us up. And it’s not afraid to take chances to do it. It’s not afraid to be emotional.” (Ray Carney)

“I only want to see movies by people who are desperately trying to figure out how to live, Five More Minutes is one of those movies. Dena DeCola and Karin E. Wandner obviously risked a lot to make themselves this vulnerable, and they did it because they had to.” (Miranda July)

Total Running Time: 75 minutes