Amos Vogel: Film as a Subversive Art

Don Siegel – Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)

Synopsis:
Dr. Miles Bennell returns to his small town practice to find several of his patients suffering the paranoid delusion that their friends or relatives are impostors. He is initially skeptical, especially when the alleged doppelgangers are able to answer detailed questions about their victim’s lives, but he is eventually persuaded that something odd has happened and determines to find out what is causing this phenomenon. Read More »

Werner Herzog – Fata Morgana (1971)

Quote:
Werner Herzog’s third feature is a haunting, sardonic exploration of Africa as it was “in the beginning,” and as it becomes glutted with the wastes of technological civilization. Amos Vogel writes of the film: “Marvelous, sensual, 360-degree travelling shots of animal cadavers, barbed wire, industrial wastes, decaying trucks, sudden oil wells, ominous surrealist tableaux — all embedded in tragically alienated landscapes of sand and disassociated natives — create an obsessional, hypnotic statement whose anti-technological, anti-totalitarian, cruelly anti-sentimental humanism is subtle, overpowering, and inexplicable to shallow Left and know-nothing Right.” Read More »

Francis Thompson – N.Y., N.Y. (1957)

A nearly-wordless collage that follows a day in New York City from early morning to late at night. The day starts with a look at power generators, ready to light the city. At eight, an alarm clock goes off, people go to work on the subway, type, and break for lunch. In the evening, night clubs and jazz take over. The images are fanciful, abstract, and multiple, suggesting a kaleidoscope of color and activity. The soundtrack is light, breezy, and staccato. New York City is a place of bridges, skyscrapers, and motion. Read More »

Norman Z. McLeod – Horse Feathers (1932)

Synopsis:
Professor Quincy Adams Wagstaff has just been installed as the new president of Huxley College. His cavalier attitude toward education is not reserved for his son Frank, who is seeing the college widow, Connie Bailey. Frank influences Wagstaff to recruit two football players who hang out in a speakeasy, in order to beat rival school Darwin. Unfortunately, Wagstaff mistakenly hires the misfits Baravelli and Pinky. Finding out that Darwin has beaten him to the “real” players, Wagstaff enlists Baravelli and Pinky to kidnap them, which leads to an anarchic football finale. Read More »

Michael Wadleigh – Woodstock: 3 Days of Peace & Music [Director’s Cut] (1970) (HD)

Quote:
In 1969, 500,000 people descended on a small patch of field in a little-known town in upstate New York called Woodstock. In this documentary, the iconic event is chronicled in unflinching detail, from the event’s inception all the way through to the unexpected air-delivery of food and medical supplies by the National Guard. The film contains performances, interviews with the artists and candid footage of the fans in a defining portrait of 1960s America. Read More »

Edgar Reitz & Ula Stöckl – Geschichten vom Kübelkind AKA Tales Of The Dumpster Kid (1971)

A woman screams, a newborn baby cries. A nurse leaves the hospital and dumps a bucketfull of slimy afterbirth into a bin.Moments later, Kubelkind (“Dumpster-kid”, an Austrian insult) emerges fully grown from the slime. “Frau Dr. Welfare”, a cold, upper middle-class do-gooder discovers Kubelkind in the dustbin and plans to “save” her. But such “polymorphous-perverse, infantile monsters” have no place in normal society…. Read More »

Willie Walker – Life with Video (1972)

Quote:
William “Willie Boy” Walker calls himself “the world’s first video disk-jockey… a collector of video oddity, Art and Humor or anything you wouldn’t see on everyday television.” Read More »