The BFI’s fascinating collection of 60 short films all made before 1911 comes to DVD with the aim of giving wider access to some of the extraordinary film material held in the National Film and Television Archive, much of which has been restored. Although most films made at this time were actualities and newsreels, this collection contains mostly fiction films, ranging from the dramatic to the comic and the fantastical.
This double-disc set provides an entertaining look at how many film devices such as the close-up, the cut-away and editing, were first invented by film-makers before the turn of the century. Continue reading
1984, 16mm, colour, sound, 35 min
“While on one level, Standard Gauge is Fisher’s homage to 35mm and to the diverse cinematic world it made possible, the irony of its having been filmed in 16mm reveals a conceptual paradox central to the film, and which unites it with the webs of irony and paradox evident in his earlier work. (…) As Fisher explains in his program notes, the thirty-two minute shot “is virtually the maximum length of a scene in 16mm, and is longer by far than 35mm is capable of.” For all its potentials and accomplishments, standard gauge is limited, and in ways that a non standard gauge-a gauge quite marginal to mainstream film history-is not”. (Scott MacDonald) Continue reading
Independent filmmaker Carmelo Bene makes his debut in this feature that concerns the murder of the Saracens in the city of Otranto centuries ago. Our Lady appears at various time in the film, symbolic of the carnal desires and spiritual dreams of all men. Flashbacks and avant garde cinematic techniques provide passages of erotica and black humor on occasion. The story was taken from Bene’s own novel as the author oversees all aspects of writing, production and direction in this experimental and provocative film. Continue reading
This experimental film by the maverick Italian director Carmelo Bene is a free adaptation of Oscar Wilde’s play Salome and is even more irreverent than the original. In this film, Bene carries the New Testament story beyond the incident with Herod, and pictures Christ nailing himself to the cross, unable (of course) to finish the task. This film uses many musical and filmic special effects and includes at least one pornographic sequence and a number of sadistic ones. ~ Clarke Fountain, All Movie Guide Continue reading
]Jonas Mekas wrote, produced, directed, and photographed this arty experimental study of the beatnik movement in America. A bleak portrait of modern existentialism and despair, Guns of the Trees tells the story of young Barbara (Francis Stillman), who is desperately trying to find some value in her life but is weighed down by depression. She seeks solace in the church but instead is met by Gregory (Adolfas Mekas), an intellectual who seems to have an even worse opinion of life than she does. For a time, she seems close to rescue by Ben and Argus (Ben Carruthers and Argus Carruthers) a married couple who seem to have found genuine value in life through each other. Ultimately, they cannot save her from her own despair. This beat portrayal of angst is interspersed with poetry readings and rather blatant symbology.
~ John Voorhees, All Movie Guide Continue reading
THIS IS A HOME MOVIE OF LOW QUALITY. Continue reading
From IMDb :
Animals/People: Along the rhythm of the changing seasons they watch one another. Bestiary unfolds like a filmed picture book about mutual observation, about peculiar perception. A contemplation of a stable imbalance, and of lose, tranquil and indefinable elements.
From www.berlinale.de (Berlin Film Festival) :
A drawing course, a safari park and a taxidermist’s workshop: three settings in which humans and animals meet. The focus of observation is on relationships of sight and perception, which often reflect unequal power structures at the same time. In the process, the film also seems to be considering the question of how animals can be filmed.