Immaterial Monuments at the Harvard Film Archive

From: brooke holgerson (email suppressed)
Date: Wed Jan 04 2006 - 09:35:28 PST

This is a reminder that the Immaterial Monuments series starts this
weekend at the Harvard Film Archive. The series runs January 10 -
January 18 and features rarely screened work from Jonas Mekas, Stan
Brakhage, and Hollis Frampton, among many others. For more information
and a complete list of films and showtimes, please visit:

This weekend's screenings are:
January 7 (Saturday) 6 pm
_Carriage Trade _
/Directed by Warren Sonbert
US 1971, 16mm, color, silent, 61 min./
Warren Sonbert (1947-1995) called /Carriage Trade/ his magnum opus, a
visual journey encapsulating his travels over four continents in six
years. Only in his twenties, Sonbert had already traveled throughout
Europe, Africa, Asia, and North America with a film camera. /Carriage
Trade/ weaves that footage together with shots Sonbert removed from a
number of his earlier films, offering the viewer multi-faceted readings
of the connections between shots, including the 'changing relations of
the movement of objects, the gestures of figures, familiar worldwide
icons, rituals and reactions, rhythm, spacing and density of images.'
Ultimately, /Carriage Trade/ is a meditation whose elegance and humor
celebrate the world Sonbert encountered, transforming diaristic footage
into a thrilling visual symphony.

_Short Fuse_
/Directed by Warren Sonbert
US 1992, 16mm, color, 37 min./
Sonbert was also a recognized opera critic. In 1986, he published
excerpts from his feature-film screenplay adaptation of Strauss'
/Capriccio/, his favorite opera. /Short Fuse/, completed six years
later, underscores a question raised by /Capriccio/: whether in opera
the music or the libretto takes priority. In /Short Fuse/ the
soundtrack competes with the film's images, prompting the viewer to
consider a similar dilemma. Made after Sonbert learned he was
HIV-positive, the rapid, stark images reflect themes from /Capriccio/ as
well as Sonbert's increasingly intense understanding of beauty and

January 7 (Saturday) 8:30 pm
_Mahagonny _
/Directed by Harry Smith
US 1970-1980, 35mm, color, 141 min./
Experimental filmmaker, anthropologist, painter, and musicologist Harry
Smith (1923-1991) worked on /Mahagonny/, his final film, for over ten
years. Obsessed with Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht's opera /Rise and
Fall of the City of Mahagonny/, Smith would play it over and over in his
room at the Chelsea Hotel. /Mahagonny/ transforms the caustically
satirical opera into an allegory of contemporary life, inter-cutting
portraits of important avant-garde figures (including Patti Smith, Allen
Ginsberg, and Jonas Mekas), New York City landmarks, and Smith's
visionary animation. Shot from 1970 to 1972 and edited for the next
eight years, the film also translates the Weill opera into a
numerological and symbolic system derived from a mathematical analysis
of Marcel Duchamp's /Large Glass/. Infinitely complex and equally
rewarding, /Mahagonny/ is a virtuosic assemblage and a work of true

/Program notes adapted from the Getty Research Institute's 2002
symposium on the film, organized by Rani Singh. This 35mm print is a
composite of the original four-projector film work, the product of an
ambitious preservation project by the Harry Smith Archives with the
assistance of Anthology Film Archives.

/The Harvard Film Archive is located in the lower level of the Carpenter
Center, 24 Quincy Street, Cambridge. Tickets are $8/$6students and
senior citizens

For info on FrameWorks, contact Pip Chodorov at <email suppressed>.