Lawrence Jordan – Man is in pain (1954)

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San Francisco based filmmaker Lawrence Jordan’s 1954 short follows his hand, gesturing through a house of mirrors, cards and paintings of women. Shot in black-and-white and playfully incorporating direct animation, enhancing the photographed image by scratching and etching directly on the film. A woman reads Philip Lamantia’s poem (from which the film gets its title), a choice, which evokes masculine angst as the hand acts out the scenario of the poem. – Stela Jelincic Continue reading

Peter Rose – Metalogue (1997)

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Described as a cross between a “speech” and a “fireworks display.” A magician-like figure delivers a peculiar speech that is embedded in extravagant arrays of time-delayed images that reflect and refract ideas about memory, time and language. By embedding his gestures in a spectacular diachronic array, Peter Rose has created a new form of kinetic poetry. Continue reading

Werner Nekes – Uliisses (1982)

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The film is a Homeric journey through the history of cinema. Its theme is based on the mythological Odysseus of Homer, the Ulysses of James Joyce, and the synthetic figure, Telemach/Phil, from the 24-hour-long piece «The Warp,» by Neil Oram. Werner Nekes combines these three figures, and he shows their stories within the history of «lighterature,» writing with light = film. His central theme, however, is visual language in of itself: Odysseus/Bloom is transformed into Uli the Photographer, Penelope/Molly into his model, and Telemach/Stephen into Phil, who begins his «Telemachia». The connecting of their three lives occurs during the course of a single day, in September of 1980, in Germany’s industrial Ruhrgebiet region, preceding the elections in the Federal Republic. Continue reading

Larry Jordan – Our Lady of the Sphere (1972)

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Of all my films, this is the most popular to date. Unfortunately, it is also the most cartoon-like and has an almost visible storyline: the young boy’s travels through terror, death and the Underworld. My own conception of the circus sequence in the film connotes the world’s weakness for striking up the band to cover tragedy, as when someone falls from a high wire in the circus. I did achieve certain special “break-throughs” with OUR LADY OF THE SPHERE, in that the flat surface was broken with forward and away zooms, but this is a simple thing. In the process, I had to relinquish certain subtle and more tenuous relationships between moving components and also the highly artificial gravitational formulations and inventions of such films as DUO CONCERTANTES and HAMFAT ASAR. – Lawrence Jordan Continue reading

Larry Jordan – Trumpit (1956)

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Lawrence Jordan shot TRUMPIT in the basement of a house on Baker Street in San Francisco that he shared with Stan Brakhage in the mid-1950s. Brakhage himself stars in the film (along with Yvonne Fair). Featuring a card game played on the body of a naked woman, Jordan portrays male sexual frustration while slyly satirizing Hollywood reaction shots. Beat poet and filmmaker Christopher Maclaine provides the soundtrack of voice and manipulated instruments. TRUMPIT is a charming, youthful example of the American avant-garde. – Stela Jelincic Continue reading