Jordan Belson – Allures (1961)

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Originally a widely-exhibited painter, Jordan Belson turned to filmmaking in 1947 with crude animations drawn on cards, which he subsequently destroyed. He returned to painting for four years and in 1952 resumed film work with a series that blended cinema and painting through the use of animated scrolls. The four films produced in the period 1952-53 were Mambo, Caravan, Mandala, and Bop Scotch. From 1957-59 he worked with Henry Jacobs as visual director of the Vortex Concerts at Morrison Planetarium in San Francisco. Simultaneously he produced three more animated films, Flight (1958), Raga (1959), and Seance (1959). Continue reading

Derek Jarman – A Journey to Avebury (1971)

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Journey to Avebury beautifully reflects Derek Jarman’s fascination with ancient history, paganism, and Celtic traditions.

An IMDB review:
Derek Jarman is often said to be a painter rather than a movie director. Indeed, with his films he makes pictures that seem to be more important than the plot (which is usually unclear or missing at all). But those pieces of art he creates using camera are beautiful and astounding.

A JOURNEY TO AVEBURY, his 1971 silent short movie, is a literal journey that we can experience. We are being taken to Avebury and given the chance to admire it for 10 minutes. The shots are incredibly beautiful, as we see a huge stone or trees bathed in orange light of sunset.

The film lacks a plot and sound and should be treated as a collection of images rather than a movie. If you like Jarman’s art – you’ll be pleased with this one. If you like beauty – you’ll love it. But if you’re looking for action or amusement, better walk around it because these 10 minutes might just be too long for you. Continue reading

Richard Myers – 37-73 (1974)

“I think 37-73 is an extraordinary work, and the best of [Myers’] long films. I am astonished by his skill in image making, and his power to evoke the crazy pain of being an artist. It is a haunting work, with unforgettable scenes ….” – James Broughton

“Richard Myers’ 37-73 was far and away the most noteworthy film in the Exposition (9th Annual Independent Filmmakers Exposition). In fact, Richard Myers is, in my opinion, one of the few innovative conceptually oriented filmmakers in the country. As powerful and complex as is AKRAN, 37-73 is more taut, richer in associative meaning …. 37-73 is about dreams, about memory and its associations with nightmare and magic.” – Owen Shapiro

“Through Myers’ so eloquently expressed dream world we’re able to perceive the entire panorama of the specifically American imagination. It’s as if he’s tapped our collective subconscious.”—Kevin Thomas, LA Times. Continue reading

Stavros Tornes – Addio Anatolia (1976)

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Synopsis :
Stavros Tornes’ first non-fiction short combines a beautifully poetic text with a series of tracking shots in the streets of Rome, set to music by Charlotte Van Gelder. Somewhere between documentary and poetic essay, this film was born out of Tornes’ love for Africa and the Orients, his never-ending agony over bloody revolutions and his passionate use of cinema to approach the Other. Continue reading

Celestino Coronado – Hamlet (1976)

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Quote:
[A] radical reinvention of [Hamlet was] carried out by Celestino Coronado in a 16mm-and-video project made at the Royal College of Art in 1976. Taking its cue from Hamlet’s speech to Gertrude concerning “the counterfeit presentment of two brothers”, Coronado casts identical twins Anthony and David Meyer as not only twin Hamlets but also the Ghost, Laertes and the Player King, with Helen Mirren playing both Gertrude and Ophelia. Though the budget was admittedly tiny, this was not a money-saving device: this doubling served to emphasise the way the play’s characters frequently mirror each other in method and motivation. Continue reading

George Kuchar – Symphony for a Sinner (1979)

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Quote:
Symphony for a Sinner (1979) was a long, lavishly photographed color film generally considered the magnum opus of the class productions. New York critic and coauthor of Midnight Movies J. Hoberman would rank it as one of the ten best films of the year, while Stan Brakhage would call it “the ultimate class picture.” John Waters, who now visited George regularly whenever he passed through San Francisco, envied the lurid color photography and wanted George to shoot his next picture (which would have been Polyester and didn’t happen). Symphony, Waters said, had the look he craved for Desperate Living (1977). Continue reading