Shirley Clarke & Wendy Clarke – Butterfly (1967)

i7KLaY Shirley Clarke & Wendy Clarke   Butterfly (1967)

Synopsis:
Shirley made Butterfly with her daughter Wendy for an anti-Vietnam War protest event held in New York City in 1967; it is one of the last films she made before she began working with video in 1968. The film was screened as part of the Week of the Angry Arts Against the War in Vietnam which Shirley helped organize at the NYU Loeb Student Center; Wendy remembers it being screened at the Elgin Theatre sometime in 1967 so it was shown once for sure—possibly twice but not more than that—it is a film that is virtually unknown and is not included on any filmography for Shirley. The theme of the movie was that war kills and threatens to wipe out families, creativity, and life. In the film, Shirley and Wendy are seen separately and together with Shirley holding and rocking Wendy; their images often overlap. Wendy drew, scratched and hand-painted butterflies and used Clorox directly on the film to create a cascade of colors. The soundtrack is comprised of the alternating sounds of a baby crying, machine gun fire, and Brahm’s Lullaby sung by Shirley’s niece Liza Lorwin. Continue reading

Jan Svankmajer – Konec stalinismu v Cechách AKA Death of Stalinism in Bohemia (1991)

 Jan Svankmajer   Konec stalinismu v Cechách AKA Death of Stalinism in Bohemia (1991)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152 Jan Svankmajer   Konec stalinismu v Cechách AKA Death of Stalinism in Bohemia (1991)

A bust of Stalin is cut open on an operating table, leading to an elaborate animated depiction of Czech history from 1948 (the Communist takeover) to 1989 (the Velvet Revolution). Some knowledge of the subject is essential in order to understand the film, which is entirely visual. Continue reading

Aleksandr Sokurov – Vostochnaya elegiya AKA Oriental Elegy (1996)

cover005 Aleksandr Sokurov – Vostochnaya elegiya AKA Oriental Elegy (1996)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152 Aleksandr Sokurov – Vostochnaya elegiya AKA Oriental Elegy (1996)

Quote:
Oriental Elegy (1996). Visually impressionistic, atmospherically dense, and narratively opaque, Oriental Elegy is the surreal journey of a displaced spirit (Aleksandr Sokurov) as he wanders in the interminable darkness through the temporal landscape of a quaint and isolated feudal-era fishing village. Guided by a series of faintly illuminated rooms, the wandering spirit comes upon ancient souls who take on physical forms as they recount their personal stories of daily existence, loss, and tragedy in the peasant community. Intrigued by his initial visit to a curiously distracted elderly woman, the spirit returns to her home in order to ask a fundamental question – “What is happiness?” – an existential query that is innocently answered with innate humility and accepted unknowingness. Through abstractly textured imagery and indelibly hypnotic dreamscapes, Sokurov composes a metaphoric, sensual, and evocative tone poem on a soul’s search for enlightenment and the essential survival of human consciousness. Continue reading

pixel Aleksandr Sokurov – Vostochnaya elegiya AKA Oriental Elegy (1996)