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

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

Mary Ellen Bute & Ted Nemeth – Tarantella (1940)

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This new medium of expression is the Absolute Film. Here the artist creates a world of color, form, movement and sound in which the elements are in a state of controllable flux, the two materials (visual and aural) being subject to any conceivable interrelation and modification. – Mary Ellen Bute Continue reading

Christopher Maclaine – Beat (1958)

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“Maclaine’s next film, Beat (1958), might be thought of as a continuation of The Man Who Invented Gold, since it often cuts back and forth between shots of golden lamps, lights in windows, and gold-colored objects, often situated in the direct center of the frame (in fact, golden lights show up prominently near the close of the fifth section of The End as well). Otherwise, Beat is something of a portrait of the bohemian characters of late-1950s San Francisco, made just as the scene was disintegrating into mass-marketed national media consciousness and North Beach became the tourist’s emblem of the Beat Generation. Once again, Maclaine’s editing technique positively sparkles. Continue reading