Potamkin (67 minutes, 16mm, 2017), by Stephen Broomer
"What happened to Potamkin?"
In 1933, at age 33, Harry Alan Potamkin died of complications related to starvation, at a time when he was one of the world's most respected film critics. In his writings, he advocated for a cinema that would simultaneously embrace the fractures and polyphony of modern life and the equitable social vision of left radical politics. This film-biography is assembled out of distorted fragments of films on which he had written, an impression of erupting consciousness.
At the Odessa steps, trampling gives breath to the child. The bullet miraculously reforms the face. The Cossacks march backwards, retreating unseen into their nothing, the unfired rounds of their rifles restored to their menacing potential. Feet tread backward up the steps as the steps themselves collapse in splintering emulsion. The carriage is set upright.
“One’s sight is inverse to one’s eyes;
The begger with empty sockets sees
The microscope lies;
Who are truly blind are wise.”
Sound by Stuart Broomer. Processing by Stephen Broomer, Martha Cabral, Eva Kolcze, Emmalyne Laurin, Cameron Moneo. Titles by Cameron Moneo. Digital intermediate by Pablo Perez. Thanks to R. Bruce Elder, Christine Lucy Latimer, Mark Loeser, Suzanne Naughton.
Special thanks to Innis College and the University of Toronto Cinema Studies Institute for making this screening possible.
Ad Hoc is a screening collective with no fixed address. This is a mobile screening series, which aims to rethink what an experience of cinema can be, including the spaces in which it can be exhibited. We seek to reposition historical landmarks and buried treasures within the on-going tradition of experimental and other non-commercial modes of filmmaking, drawing on work from Toronto, throughout Canada, and internationally. Within these parameters, we aspire to diversity in programming, as well as to multimedia and interdisciplinary screening events that bring together varied communities.
Ad Hoc = Stephen Broomer, Katia Houde, Daniel McIntyre, Cameron Moneo, Madi Piller, Claudia Sicondolfo, Jim Shedden, Tess Takahashi.