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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[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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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

Oskar Fischinger – Twelve Short Films by Oskar Fischinger (1924 – 1942)

Oskar Fischinger (1900-1967) embodied the modernist ideal of the maladaptive artist so well that a balanced evaluation of his work as filmmaker and painter depends on one’s ability to withhold automatic beatification based solely on his biography. Born and educated in Germany, exiled to Los Angeles when Hitler came to power and abstraction was decreed a “degenerate art,” Fischinger was an uncompromising abstractionist who throughout his life retained a dogged faith in the transcendental potential of pure geometry and color. Persecuted in Germany and condemned to grinding poverty after he settled in L.A., Fischinger’s devotion to the integrity of his art was exemplary. Continue reading

Jan Peters – Aber der Sinn des Lebens (1990 – 1996)

Aber den Sinn des Lebens hab’ ich immer noch nicht rausgefunden / … but I Still Haven’t Figured Out the Meaning of Life (OmeU)

Every year on his birthday, Jan Peters filmed one reel of Super-8 material; later on he turned to video. In these few minutes of film he reveals something from and about himself. Maybe it is exhibitionism – the way he chatters on, until the blotches on the film indicate the end of the reel. Enthusiastic, sometimes tired, often doubtful, he, like everyone else, quarrels with what has come about from his own actions. On top of this, Peters, the filmmaker, blurs the individual of the same name with his dense texts and images to create something quite different: Jan Peters, the fictional character. Continue reading

Jack Smith – Normal Love [Full Cut] (1963)

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Quote:
By 1965, Jack Smith was exhibiting versions of Normal Love, mixing his soundtracks live and often re-editing the film as it was being shown. After Smith’s death, Jerry Tartaglia prepared this restored 105-minute version, which premiered in 1997. Although shot on backdated color-film stock and paced more languidly than Flaming Creatures, Normal Love again features women and cross-dressed men in an idyll of sexual anarchy. Smith filmed almost entirely outdoors, emphasizing pinks and greens in the scenery, costumes, and props, and combining textural passages with allusions to film icons such as the Mummy and the Werewolf, Maria Montez, and Busby Berkeley. The inspired finale is set atop a massive pink cake (where the dancing Cake Cuties include Andy Warhol). Continue reading