BFI Film Classics is a series of finely written, illustrated books that introduce, interpret and celebrate landmark films of world cinema. Each volume offers an argument for the film’s classic status, together with a discussion of its production and reception history, its place within a genre or national cinema, an account of it’s technical and aesthetic importance, and in many cases, the author’s personal response to the film. The BFI Film Classics series now includes titles previously published separately in the BFI Film Classics and the BFI Modern Classics Series. Continue reading
Around 1900, the issues of poverty and poor relief were the source of heated controversy. This DVD illustrates in seven chapters how examinations of the ‘Social Question’ were presented in magic lantern slide sets and early films. On the screens of auditoriums, Sunday schools, music-halls, cinemas and churches, visitors could witness orphans freezing to death in the snow, drunkards plunging their families into misery and helpless old people begging for a scrap of bread. Audiences experienced poignant moving pictures in performances with music, singing and recitations. The photographic and film industries delivered glass slide sets and films in very large runs on a variety of themes relating to poverty. Continue reading
Synopsis by Dan Pavlides
Six directors combined efforts for this 1967 documentary, a searing anti-American indictment of U.S. involvement in Vietnam. Alain Resnais, William Klein, Joris Ivens, Agnes Varda, Claude Lelouch, and Jean-Luc Goddard all direct segments. They are quick to point out that the U.S. is radically divided about their country’s policy to stop the threat of communism. Continue reading
the first short film collection of its kind, bringing together sex and art in a series of short films created by some of the world’s most visual and provocative artists and directors
Balkan Erotic Epic
Marina Abramović, 2005, 13 min
Performance art legend Marina Abramović delves into Balkan folklore to create an instructional series of mis en scènes that explore the crude, magical and mysterious rites of ethnic fertility and virility.
Matthew Barney, 2004, 14 min 36 sec
American fabulist Matthew Barney stages the erotics of sexual encounter as it takes place between ‘green man’ and the lubricated drive shaft of a customised deforestation vehicle destined for the Carnival de Bahia.
CAVALCANTI MAAS PETERSON BROUGHTON BUTE KESSLER WHITNEY KIRSANOFF MURPHY MARC’O WATSON HUFF
From THE Collection of THE GEORGE EASTMAN HOUSE AND FROM THE RAYMOND ROHAUER COLLECTION
From the little theaters of the 1920s to the ad hoc film societies of the ’50s, avant-garde cinema knew no established form and held no predictable position. The boundaries of its history are still hotly debated, but its rough sensibilities informed and permeated the city symphonies of Alberto Cavalcanti, the visual music of Mary Ellen Bute and John Whitney, the classroom films of Sidney Peterson, the confessional film poems of Willard Maas and John E. Schmitz, the Lettrist cinema of Marc’O, and even marginal exploitation films and home movies. Drawn from the rich collections of Raymond Rohauer and the George Eastman House, Kino’s third volume of experimental films continues to illuminate the degree to which cinema’s evolution has been influenced by those filmmakers who occupy its periphery. Continue reading
Disc two travels back in time for two late-Twenties American shorts before heading off to France for three late-Forties/early-Fifties films, including the epic Lettrism manifesto, Jean Isidore Isou’s Venom and Eternity (also known by the far better title Treatise on Slime and Eternity, 1951). From the former group only James Watson and Melville Webber’s expressionist adaptation of The Fall of the House of Usher (1928) is of any note, while two of the three later films, Jean Mitry’s Pacific 231 (1949) and Dimitri Kirsanoff’s Arriere Saison (1950), serviceably employ techniques that had reached their fulfillment thirty years prior. Venom and Eternity is supposed to be the cherry on the cake—a rarely seen controversial feature with 34 minutes of restored footage. Continue reading
In the latter half of the 20th Century, Raymond Rohauer was one of the nation s foremost proponents of experimental cinema. This two-disc collection continues Kino s tribute to the Rohauer Collection, including the early works of Stan Brakhage and influential films by Willard Maas, Gregory Markopoulos, Marie Menken, Dimitri Kirsanoff, Jean Mitry, Sidney Peterson and others.
the major pioneers of the period that came before the American avant-garde crested in the late Fifties to mid Sixties are all in attendance on the collection’s first disc: Willard Maas, Marie Menken, Sidney Peterson, James Broughton, Gregory Markopoulos, and Stan Brakhage. That period’s two seminal achievements—along with nearly the entirety of Deren’s oeuvre—are accounted for in Maas’s Geography of the Body (1943) and Peterson’s The Cage (1947). The former brings to cinema an unconventional depiction of the nude figure, with Maas’s extreme close-up photography transforming familiar parts into exciting, undiscovered terrains of flesh, an erotic revolution in vantage point that would inform everything from Carolee Schneemann’s Fuses to Brakhage’s entire film philosophy. Continue reading