A central figure in the Berlin experimental film scene since the 1980s, Ute Aurand is one the most vital filmmakers active in the diary and portrait tradition today. For Aurand, who works in 16mm just like her precursors Jonas Mekas, Margaret Tait and Marie Menken, “the diaristic form develops out of an inner dialogue with my surroundings, a silent visual conversation. The source of inspiration is daily life, the fountain which never stops and offers itself to everyone. It is a great joy and challenge to transform my inner dialogue into film.”
Brakhage and Solomon are two American giants in the so-called poetic, lyrical and personal film. Stan Brakhage is one of the most influential filmmakers in American avant-garde cinema, noted for his unflinching social commentaries and technical innovations. Over his nearly 40-year career, he has made over 200 films of varying length. He made his first film, Interim (1952) at age 18 after dropping out of college. Brakhage films seek to change the way we see. They encourage viewers to eschew traditional narrative structure in favor of pure visual perception that is not reliant on naming what is seen; rather his goal is to create a more visceral visual experience, for he believes that a "stream-of visual-consciousness could be nothing less than the pathway of the soul." To this end, his films are shot in highly sensual colors and utilize minimal soundtracks. Phil Solomon is an internationally recognized filmmaker and has been teaching both film history/aesthetics and film production at CU since 1991. Professor Solomon's work has been screened in every major venue for experimental film throughout the U.S. and Europe, including 3 Cineprobes (one-man shows) at the Museum of Modern Art and two Whitney Biennials.
Minimalize: Video-Dance Nr1 by Walter Verdin Video b/w, stereo sound, 11'27'', 1981
It's hard to explain how a successful pop artist, embraced by stardom, suddenly devotes his life to unglamorous work. In the early 80's, Walter Verdin was hit by success, as a member of one of the most interesting bands to ever compete in the Eurovision Song Contest. Shortly after having represented Belgium with "Pas de Deux", Verdin became a video practitioner adopting video as his sound instrument. For many years he devoted himself to a new field called Video-Dance, creating a pioneering body of work that revealed an acute and unstoppable sense of rhythm.
Laida Lertxundi (b. 1981, Spain) makes films with non-actors – often friends – in and around Los Angeles, the city where she studied under James Benning and Thom Andersen, and where she has been living for a number of years. Shot under the blue Californian sky, her films feature the same topography as Hollywood cinema. Lertxundi questions cinematic conventions of representation and storytelling in her work at the same time that she proposes new associations between sound and image. In London, Beatrice Gibson (b. 1978, UK) addresses similar formal and conceptual concerns in her work, which is also shaped by the material constraints and aesthetic properties of 16mm film. Beyond the differences in the specific subjects of their films, the underlying themes in their work – speculative narrative, film as landscape, sound as material, the production process, collaborative practice – resonate in an uncanny way. The screening will be followed by a conversation between the two filmmakers and curator Maria Palacios Cruz, who has written an essay on the films of Gibson and Lertxundi for the forthcoming issue of Sequence.
Please join us for a screening of student work from the School of Film/Video at CalArts, followed by a Q&A and a reception. Prospective students will have an opportunity to learn about the many modes of film, video, and animation that CalArts supports, ask questions about the school and its programs, and also to speak with current faculty including Leighton Pierce, Maureen Selwood, and Abigail Severance.
This series presents films and videos that depict and embody systems of power and ruptures where these systems become visible. The nature of observing and being observed; life within a surveillance state; individual testimony and collective memory; and the role of the artifact as evidence within suppressed histories are ideas and themes that will be explored throughout the six programs.
San Francisco Cinematheque presents Makino Takashi: Space Noise. Makino Takashi is one of the most prolific and adventurous filmmakers working in Japan today and is known world wide for his complex, immersive and overwhelming film experiences. Treating image and sound as elements of equal importance, Makino produces immense and infinite non-narrative and abstract film works, at once cosmic and organic, which activate the screening space in powerful and dynamic suggestions of depth and infinity. As part of a special West Coast tour, Makino Takashi appears in person at San Francisco Cinematheque to present and perform live soundtracks for two recent works: Space Noise, “a duel between the all-dominant immaculate digital and the irregular organic material dissolves in multiple layers of chaos,” and Phantom Nebula, “a changeable ethereal gaseous mass with no definite form” (S8: Mostra de Cinema Periférico).
Balagan presents a program of rarely seen Japanese experimental cinema from the past several decades, guest curated by filmmaker Tomonari Nishikawa. The program focuses on short works that display unique visual effects. Some express a boundary between reality and illusion, while others simply express the artists’ interests in image manipulation and exploring the limits of the medium. The films will be presented in their original formats, with the majority of the prints coming directly from Japan.
Bay Area treasure George Kuchar—sorely missed since his untimely death in 2011—is celebrated worldwide for his wild and wooly lo-budget melodramas and voluminous meandering video diaries. To know George was to love George, and to be ever warped by his inspiring irreverence and sardonic wit. San Francisco Cinematheque celebrates Primary Information’s publication of The George Kuchar Reader, an expansive 340-page compendium of the legendary raconteur’s writings, ramblings, recommendation letters, scripts, UFO visitation narratives and more. The book’s editor (and Anthology Film Archives’ Curator of Collections) Andrew Lampert appears in person to read excerpts and discuss this legend. The program will include a screening of Kuchar’s 16mm Corruption Of The Damned and video The Exiled Files Of Eddie Gray.
Chris H. Lynn is a filmmaker, sound artist, educator, and curator. His digital images and super 8 films capture the subtle rhythms of light, movement, and sound in urban and rural landscapes. His work has been screened in a variety of venues, including the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington D.C, the BFI in London (UK), and the Anthology Film Archives in New York City. In addition, several of his films were added to the permanent collection of the International Streaming Festival in the Netherlands.
Live Super 8 film projected with field recordings. All sounds and images recorded in China, Switzerland, and France during the summer of 2014.