MassArt Film Society/ Mark LaPore Retrospective

From: Adam Savje (email suppressed)
Date: Fri Sep 22 2006 - 07:24:18 PDT

Retrospective of Available Work by Mark Lapore
Mass Art Film Society

Two Repeat Screenings
October 3rd and 4th 2006, 8pm
Free to all
Donations to buy prints of Mark Lapore's Work for the
Mass Art Library will be appreciated

Massachusetts College of Art, East Building, Screening
Room 1
621 Huntington Avenue
Boston, MA 02115

Mass Art Film Society will present two retrospective
screenings of available work by beloved filmmaker and
Massachusetts College of Art Professor, Mark Lapore
(1952-2005) on October 3rd and 4th 2006. The two
repeat screenings will include the following works:
The Sleepers, The Glass System, Depression in the Bay
of Bengal, The Five Bad Elements, Kolkata, Untitled
(for David Gatten) and possibly more. The screenings
are free to all and will begin at 8pm in the East
Building of Massachusetts College of Art, Screening
Room 1.

While this is a free event, it is also a fundraiser
for the acquisition of Mark Lapore's work for the Mass
Art Film Library. Donations will be gratefully
appreciated. To give a donation please write checks
to Mass Art Foundation and clarify on the memo of the
check "Mark Lapore Film Fund".

Checks may be delivered in person at the screening or
mailed to:

Film/Video Department, Film Area
Massachusetts College of Art
621 Huntington Avenue
Boston, MA 02115

For more information please contact Adam Savje, Studio
Manager, Film Department, Massachusetts College of Art
at 617.879.7446 or by email at (address suppressed)


"Mark LaPore - though deeply influenced by the
practices of the Lumière brothers, Andy Warhol, and
Robert Bresson - expanded a tradition of experimental
documentary filmmaking practiced by Cavalcanti,
Wright, Rouch, Gardener, the MacDougals, Hutton and
Gehr, conducting profoundly cinematic,
highly-distilled personal investigations into
thenature of cultural flux and reverie. He shot
extensively in rural Sudan, Sri Lanka, New York,
Myanmar, India and Idaho." - Mark McElhatten
"Lapore's exquisite films straddle the avant-garde and
ethnography. He was concerned with looking at other
cultures and also with what it means to make images in
another culture. His observational images are often
camera-roll in length. Within the fixed frame, minute
gestures become riveting. The duration of our gaze,
the duration of the everyday activities depicted
emphasize the act of looking: are these films about
the other, ourselves or the maker - Pacific Film
"Mark Lapore, a visually accomplished filmmaker, has
often taken on in his films ethnographic subjects that
he manages to treat with great awareness and subtlety.
 In his carefully designed but spontaneous synch sound
takes, the exoticism of the places and people going
about their business is matched by his own
extraordinary sense of composition and spectacle.
Adding to this mix the richness of the sound, the
length of the shots and the deliberate selection of
the activities being filmed, what is conveyed is both
a sense of the ordinary as well as of the
otherworldly." -SUNY/Binghamton Film/Video

Mark Lapore's films have been shown at the The New
York Film Festival, The Rotterdam Film Festival, The
Bankok International Film Festival, The Hong Kong
Experimental Film Festival, The San Francisco
Cinematheque, The Museum of Modern Art, The Whitney
Museum, Georges Pompido Museum of Modern Art, Tate
Gallery, London and The Museum of Art Vienna. He was a
was supported in his artistic endeavors by the Jerome
Foundation Grant, two Fulbright Fellowships, a
Guggenheim Fellowship and a LEF Foundation Grant. He
was recognized and awarded by the Black Maria Film
Festival and Parabola Film Arts.

"Mark was a great source of inspiration and support to
the students, staff and faculty here at the Mass Art
Film/Video Department. He helped to shape this program
into what it is today and his input, creativity and
sense of humor will be deeply missed. Mark was a
gifted teacher and you always felt he really gave you
and your work his full attention. He was a mentor, a
friend and a great filmmaker." - Adam Savje

The following films will be screened

THE SLEEPERS 1989, 16 minutes, 16mm, color, sound
THE SLEEPERS is a film about how notions of culture
are often defined by information received indirectly -
information which frequently violates the particulars
of people and place and makes questionable one's
ability to portray specific individuals as
representatives of culture. - Mark LaPore

THE GLASS SYSTEM 2000, 20 minutes, 16mm, color, sound
"A portrait primarily of Calcutta but by inclusion and
inference some personal notion of 'lost' New York - 'a
place which exiss in a dream where life in the streets
was both complicated and fleeting.' The name derives
from a private anecdote but it conjures up
associations with Duchamp's The Large Glass in
illustrating the complexities of competing or unseen
gazes as they ricochet, superimpose and compress on a
single vitreous, photochemical or temporal plane And
as with Walter Ruttman (BERLIN SYMPHONY OF A CITY) and
Fritz Lang (M) the reflective store window and its
contents represent the convergence of unconscious
desire, phantasmagoria and capital. With an insight
that is courageous yet respectfully detached (moving
in its austerity) LaPore also explores some selective,
inevitable trajectories of young girls within this
Indian urban society and their vulnerability,
composure, aptitudes and perils." - Mark McElhatten
16mm, color, sound
color film shot while on a Fulbright Scholars
Fellowship to Sri Lanka in 1993-1994. I went to Sri
Lanka with the idea that I would remake Basil Wright's
and John Grierson's 1934 documentary Song of Ceylon.
After spending three months there I realized just how
impossible that would be. Wright's film was formally
innovative and visually brilliant but his experience
was not to be revisited. Each of the places he filmed
still exist, but thirteen years of ethnic war have
colored the way in which those places can be
portrayed. I have made a film about travelling and
living in a distant place which looks at aspects of
daily life and where the war shadows the quotidian
with a dark and rumbling step.    This film is both
diaristic and metaphorical, both on account of my
observations of everyday life as well as an indirect
record of the war and of the tense atmosphere which
permeates life there. The overwhelming sensation in
the film is that of both physical and metaphorical
distance: the distance between the traveler and Sri
Lankans, the miles traveled as indicated by the
persistent sound of trains, the distance between the
camera and the subject, time as distance as evoked
both by the historical footage and the notion of
trains as a nineteenth century mode of transport, and
by the black leader at the close of the film over
which an article about an explosion in Sri Lanka is
read. Past experience, whether local or far away,
exists only in the mind and for the duration of the
last three minutes of the film, mental images are the
ones that play on the screen." - Mark LaPore
THE FIVE BAD ELEMENTS 1997, 32 minutes, 16mm, b&w,
"A dark and astringent film that allows the
filmmaker's personal subconscious drives and the
equivocal bad conscience of ethnography to bleed
through into overall content. ... The hand held
camerawork and the particular leverage of THE FIVE BAD
ELEMENTS both pushes and works against LaPore's
previous tendencies in order to create compound
fractures of potent abbreviations and overextended
unexpurgated scenes in which sight is caught actively
probing or transfixed in seeming paralysis. By
interrupting already truncated and mysterious unmoored
images with sections prolonging the durations and
decay time of images normally torn from our sight,
LaPore offers not provocation or obsession as much as
permission to travel deeper into the image. The image
as it pertains to actual experience - not only a
filmic event or an approximate residue. That stands in
for something else as all images do. Refusing to
satisfy curiosity with information, LaPore frustrates
the usual complicities between image and documentary
fact by dealing with representation as an execution of
likeness, while still reckoning with the standard
exchange rate of the image in its metaphoric fidelity
to the real, the elusive and the tangible aspects to
the image. LaPore's audacities are almost camouflaged
by his refined sense of restraint, his austerity and
lyrical contemplativenes. ... By building the film on
normally inadmissable evidence, telegraphed
inferences, metaphoric leaps and omissions, damaged
testimonies and scattered remains, the film fabricates
an impeccable and elegant architecture from a
materially incomplete and unsound body. In the
fragmented corpus of human beings and continents which
is THE FIVE BAD ELEMENTS, LaPore has created a film
which itself acts as an absorbent object, a kind a
metastatic sin eater that aims at expiation through
its own contamination, redistributing poisons into a
netherworld that still clearly resides at the core of
its own physical and visible existence." - Mark
KOLKATA 2005, 35 minutes, 16mm, b&w, sound
"A portrait of North Kolkata (Calcutta), this film
searches the streets for the ebb and flow of humanity
and reflects the changing landscape of a city at once
medieval and modern." - Mark LaPore   "Bodies emerge
from vaporous passageways, figures traverse flooded
streets. Silver packets dance as if sentient, humans
linger somnolent or at the average tempo required by
their trades. Calcutta, an actual city like all cities
nested on the meridian between the imaginary and the
mundane is here immersed in a pandemonium of sonic
distortion, the cawing of scavenger crows the mad
repetitions of competing pitches and a toxic reduction
of Beethoven fit for the realms of merger between
capital and carrion. In time the observer is observed
as openly as those who he portrays, at a reflective
standstill or at a stately yet exhilarating pace
transported through the arteries of the main printing
district. LaPore revisits and rephrases some of the
elements presented in The Glass System adding a new
dimension to his explorations of shots of extended
duration (in the spirit of both Warhol and the
Lumières) in one of his most spare and eloquent films.
- Mark McElhatten 
Solomon 2005, 5 minutes, color, sound, digital video
"Mark and I made this for our friend David Gatten, as
a prayer, an offering, a 'get well soon' card... for
all three of us. It was made on the last night that I
saw Mark, my best friend of 32 years." - Phil Solomon
For info on FrameWorks, contact Pip Chodorov at <email suppressed>.