Amos Vogel: Film as a Subversive Art

Milos Forman – Horí, má panenko AKA The Firemen’s Ball [+Extras] (1967)


Plot Synopsis from criterionco.com
A milestone of the Czech New Wave, Milos Forman’s first color film The Firemen’s Ball (Horí, má panenko) is both a dazzling comedy and a provocative political satire. A hilarious saga of good intentions confounded, the story chronicles a firemen’s ball where nothing goes right—from a beauty pageant whose reluctant participants embarrass the organizers to a lottery from which nearly all the prizes are pilfered. Presumed to be a commentary on the floundering Czech leadership, the film was “banned forever” in Czechoslovakia following the Russian invasion and prompted Forman’s move to America. Read More »

George C. Stoney – All My Babies (1952)

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One of the first and most important films to treat child birth as a human event and to show it fully. This documentary of a compassionate Black midwife at work in the deep South remained restricted to medical personnel for many years. One cannot recall a more moving, humanist portrayal of the wonder and pain of the event. Read More »

Peter Kubelka – Mosaik im Vertrauen / Adebar / Schwechater / Arnulf Rainer / Unsere Afrikareise / Pause! (1955 – 1977)

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PETER KUBELKA : BIOGRAPHY

Peter Kubelka (b. 1934) is a multifaceted artist and theoretician who has worked in the art forms of film, cuisine, music, architecture, speaking and writing. Since the beginning of the fifties he has been a leading exponent of the international avante garde film and has had screenings in all the European countries as well as in the USA and Japan.

In 1964 Kubelka co-founded the Austrian Film Museum and has been its curator ever since.

Kubelka has been involved in creating avante garde film collections, a music ensemble and has taught at various universities in the USA and Europe. In addition, he has been a professor in film at the Art Academy in Frankfurt since 1978 where he also served as Rector in the period of 1985-88. As a theoretician he has held numerous lectures and participated in many symposiums among others, “Non-Industrial Film – Non-Industrial Cuisine”. Already in 1967 Kubelka created his first theoretical work in cuisine as an art form and in 1980 his teaching position was expanded to include “Film and Cuisine as Art”. Another of his large projects has been his plan for the ideal cinema – The Invisible Cinema – the first draft of which he finished in 1958. It was created again in 1970 for Anthology Film Archives in New York where he was also a co-founder. It was created once again nineteen years later for the Austrian Film Museum in Vienna. Read More »

Richard Myers – The Path (1960)

B&W, SILENT.

“Light as the symbol of the ineffable. The ‘plot’ of this subjective recreation of a dream seems to concern a mysterious journey; the spectator, however, is visually directed toward forms and substances rather than to the protagonists by a filmmaker who is a master of visionary cinema.” – Amos Vogel, Film as a Subversive Art

“Richard Myers has, thru his films, given us the ONLY consistently creative variable to dream-thinking in our time. All else, in film, slides toward surrealism and/or props itself with misplaced Freudian symbols, at best, or else gets lost in the Jung-le, at the verses. Myers’ work is rooted in what he doesn’t know about, just exactly what he knows – his own home grounds mid-America, and like D.W. Griffith he takes the great risk of being native to his art, attending it on its home-grown grounds/his-UNowned-dreams.” – Stan Brakhage Read More »

Henri-Georges Clouzot – Les diaboliques AKA Diabolique (1955)

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Among the most enduringly popular motives for murder, in films as in life, is the desire to remove an impediment to happiness—to get somebody, once and for all, out of the way. In life, of course, the goal of freeing oneself by canceling the existence of another human being is frequently thwarted by the haste and clumsiness of the means, the hot urgency of the killer’s drive overriding his better judgment about the care required to escape detection. His guilt becomes obvious, he gets caught, and that desperately hoped-for happiness flies out the window. Clever murderers—of whom there are, thankfully, many more in fiction and movies than in life—temper their homicidal passion with meticulous calculation, arranging their dark deeds with the tender artifice necessary to make unnatural death look natural. They’re artists, of a sort. And the fact that there is no such thing as a perfect murder or a perfect work of art has never stopped either a murderer or an artist from trying. Read More »

Andrei Tarkovsky – Andrey Rublyov (1966) DVD

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Presented as a tableaux of seven sections in black and white, with a final montage of Rublev’s painted icons in color, the film takes an unflinching gaze at medieval Russia during the first quarter of the 15th century, a period of Mongol-Tartar invasion and growing Christian influence.

Commissioned to paint the interior of the Vladimir cathedral, Andrei Rublev (Anatoli Solonitsyn) leaves the Andronnikov monastery with an entourage of monks and assistants, witnessing in his travels the degradations befalling his fellow Russians, including pillage, oppression from tyrants and Mongols, torture, rape, and plague. Faced with the brutalities of the world outside the religious enclave, Rublev’s faith is shaken, prompting him to question the uses or even possibility of art in a degraded world. After Mongols sack the city of Vladimir, burning the very cathedral that he has been commissioned to paint, Rublev takes a vow of silence and withdraws completely, removing himself to the hermetic confines of the monastery. Read More »

Richard Myers – Akran (1969)

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B&W, SOUND.

Electronic music by Fred Coulter. With Bob Ohlrich, Pat Myers, Jake Leed, Mary Leed. “… a work of ambition and great technical virtuosity … there is enough going on in AKRAN to command anyone’s attention. And much of that is lovely and wonderfully difficult.” – Greenspun, The New York Times

“AKRAN by Richard Myers was unquestionably the discovery of the year …. It captures in rapid brilliant flashes the fears, the frustrations, the hang-ups, the hopes – the emotional texture of young people today …. It is a fascinating, penetrating film, and introduces Myers as one of the most original and creative independent talents around today.” – Arthur Knight Read More »