Piero Bargellini – The Lost Cinema (1966)

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Piero Bargellini was born in Arezzo in 1940. An agronomist, film lover and amateur filmmaker, he joined the “Cinema Indipendente” Cooperative in 1968 and became one of the most important figures of Italian underground cinema. His films are intensely poetic and reflect artisanal wisdom, based on his scientific knowledge of optics and chemistry. He made films like Morte all’orecchio di Van Gogh, Fractions of Temporary Periods, Trasferimento di modulazione, Gasoline, Stricnina, between 1966 and 1973, in a total identity of art and life. These works tell “the history, in its own way exemplary, of one of the secret protagonists, and of the famous victims, of the revolution of 1968.” Ideally conceived as a dialectic interface between the Italian Competition and Detours, this tribute (curated by Fulvio Baglivi with the help of Adriano Aprà) is also the way we have chosen to remember Marco Melani on the tenth anniversary of his death. Marco, who was a friend and collaborator of Bargellini’s, and who continues to be our inspiration and a “hidden” prompter, organized for the first festival in Torino (1982) a commemoration of his friend, who had recently passed away. His intent was to remove the label of “experimental”: “his cinema was cinema tout court, like that of Rossellini, Hawks, Bertolucci, Schifano, Brakhage and all the other filmmakers he loved.” Continue reading

Carmelo Bene – Salome (1972)

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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

Go Shibata – NN-891102 (1999)

This film’s cryptic title refers to the atomic bombing of Nagasaki (Nagasaki Nuclear 8 [August] 9 [the day] 11:02 [the time]). A 5-year-old boy survives the fateful blast and thinks that its sound has been captured on his father’s tape recorder, only to become obsessed with reproducing it when the tape appears to be empty. A first, the sound (or its absence) continues to traumatize him as he tries all manner of experiment to reproduce it, but gradually, as he grows older, it becomes oddly comforting. This emotionally powerful film features stunningly realistic flashback scenes that capture the look and feel of actual footage that could have been shot in 1940. NN-891102 was the first feature film by Go Shibata, who is perhaps better known for his 2004 film Late Bloomer. Continue reading

Sunil Dutt – Yaadein AKA Memories (1964)

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BACKGROUND
Yaadein (“Memories”) is a 1964 B&W Hindi film directed and produced by Sunil Dutt also starring himself. The only other actor in the film is Nargis Dutt, that too as a silhouette in the final scene.

This film is the first of its kind as it features only a single actor and hence has found an entry in the Guinness Book of World Records in the category of “Fewest actors in a narrative film”.

Film narrative progresses through dialogues and background music composed by Vasant Desai, who also gave the song, Dekha hai sapna koi.. (sung by Lata Mangeshkar.)

SYNOPSIS
The film is soliloquy of a man who comes home to find that his wife and son are not at home, he assumes that they have left him and reminiscences his life with them, and scared of his life without them, he regrets his past indiscretions. The suspense is only revealed in the end. Continue reading

Amos Poe – Unmade Beds (1976)

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“The three films—Unmade Beds, The Foreigner and Subway Riders—represent a kind of trilogy. The first is a European film made in New York City, a reinvention of the nouvelle vague in the context of New York. I wanted to start where Godard started, to go back to basics: innocence, romanticism, bohemianism, all the things that made up New York City for me at that time. It is the story of an artist: a medium, an ego, and a changed society. He thinks his camera is a gun, he thinks he is Belmondo, and he thinks New York is Paris. His fate is therefore doomed. So when Godard and his pals at the Cinemateque saw Sirk, Hawks, et cetera, they tried to make films like that—but they failed. Instead they created the New Wave. My attempt created a kind of New Wave in New York.”
Amos Poe, 1982
Continue reading

Oskar Fischinger – Oskar Fischinger: Ten Films (1926-1947)

Spirals (1926)
Study no. 6 (1930)
Study no. 7 (1931)
Kreise (1933)
Allegretto (1936-43)
Radio Dynamics (1942)
Motion Painting No. 1 (1947)

and 3 Early Films:

Wax Experiments (1921-26)
Spiritual Constructions (1927)
Walking from Munich to Berlin (1927)

Special Features
* Never-released early experiments, animation drawings and tests
* Home movies of Oskar, Elfriede and Hans Fischinger in the Berlin Studio, c. 1931
* Biographical Photographs
* A Selection of Paintings by Fischinger
* Film notes by Fischinger and others
* Biography
* Preserved films, high definition digital transfers and digitally remastered audio

Decades before computer graphics, before music videos, even before “Fantasia” (the 1940 version), there were the abstract animated films of Oskar Fischinger (1900-1967), master of “absolute” or nonobjective filmmaking. He was cinema’s Kandinsky, an animator who, beginning in the 1920’s in Germany, created exquisite “visual music” using geometric patterns and shapes choreographed tightly to classical music and jazz. (John Canemaker, New York Times) Continue reading

Fiona Tan – News from the Near Future (2003)

Amsterdam-based photographer and video artist Fiona Tan (born 1966) has been a central figure on the contemporary art scene since the 1990s. In her video News from the Near Future (2003) a collage of historic film and audio material tells of man’s ambivalent relationship with water as a force of nature. Drawing on the archives of the Amsterdam Film Museum, Tan composed a narrative crescendo starting off with idyllic impressions of the watery world and building to increasingly menacing scenarios of an unleashed nature. Images of floods and churning seas, of wild winds and storms, parade before our eyes the destructive force of water. Tragedies at sea are reported in the style of old newsreels or radio shows, segueing into pictures of flooded cities that – as indicated in the work’s title – forebode future catastrophes. The cinematic repertoire of waves, tides and floods acts as an historical memory, presenting the sea as a metaphor for the flow of time. Continue reading