16 Beaver Group FRIDAY 11.09.07 -- Jeffrey Skoller -- Memories of the Revolution & The Promise of Happiness

From: benj gerdes (email suppressed)
Date: Mon Nov 05 2007 - 09:21:10 PST

> FRIDAY 11.09.07 -- Jeffrey Skoller -- Memories of the Revolution &
> The Promise of Happiness
> Contents:
> 1. About This Friday 11.09.07
> 2. About The Promise of Happiness Part One: Vietnam
> 3. About Jeffrey Skoller
> 4. About Shadows, Shards, Specters: Making History in Avant-Garde
> Film
> ________________________________________________
> 1. About This Friday 11.09.07
> What: Screening/ Discussion with Jeffrey Skoller
> When: 7pm
> Where: 16beaver, 4th Floor
> Who: Free and Open to all
> Please join us this Friday evening for a screening and discussion
> with filmmaker, activist, and scholar Jeffrey Skoller. Skoller's
> most recent video essay "The Promise of Happiness" examines the
> aftermath of revolutonary struggle and war in Vietnam. An
> extremely timely piece, the essay asks questions about the status
> of revolutionary hope and aspiration and its legacy. According to
> Skoller, there is so much more to say and think about in relation
> to the American war in Vietnam, particularly given the resonances
> with the protracted American occupation of Iraq. Please join us
> for an evening in which we consider the lessons from Vietnam and
> the role that images and activism can play in contemporary
> international struggles.
> ________________________________________________
> 2. About The Promise of Happiness:
> Full Title:
> The Promise of Happiness: Picturing the Age of Revolution
> Part 1: Vietnam
> A video essay by Jeffrey Skoller
> 30 minutes, Digital Video, 2007 USA
> The Promise of Happiness is a three part video essay that
> investigates the legacy of 20th -century socialist revolution as it
> has been expressed in cinema--arguably the art form most intimately
> linked to social and political transformation. This "cinema of
> revolution" was a figuration of these utopian impulses, but for the
> moment, the age of revolution is no longer seen as a viable model.
> The ardently idealist and complex film images, however, remain.
> What meanings do we make of such imagery in the present, and of
> what use can be made of them, as they, along with the viewer,
> travel through time from a past historical moment to the present?
> While the expression of that promise of happiness is fleeting and
> in some cases a pre-figuration of ultimate disappointment, these
> cinematic artifacts become the residue of hope and potential for
> future social change.
> Using a mix of archival film materials from different periods, and
> my own footage shot in contemporary Vietnam during the last few
> years, The Promise of Happiness Pt # 1, explores the
> transformations currently taking place in Vietnam 30 years after
> liberation from centuries of colonial domination. The film explores
> questions about how we might think about the aftermath of
> protracted war. What were the ideals, hopes, and failures? How do
> things change over the course of war? What is left after? How did
> the ideals that motivated the Vietnamese to create a new kind of
> society fare? The film expresses the ambivalence that so permeated
> my own experience of Vietnam—at once feeling the excitement and
> energy of the new moment of Vietnam’s opening up to the world, and
> the sense of the loss of an idealism that for me, embodied the
> Vietnamese struggle for a Socialist society.
> The Promise of Happiness challenges us to ask if and in what ways
> do the idealism and aspiration of those past struggles for social
> justice and cultural freedom still inhere in the fabric of
> contemporary society and in the consciousness of its people? What
> of this legacy, forgotten or rejected, remains latent, to be
> rethought in the present?
> ________________________________________________
> 3. About Jeffrey Skoller
> Jeffrey Skoller is a filmmaker and writer who has made over a dozen
> films that have been exhibited in museums, universities and
> festivals internationally. Screenings and exhibitions include: The
> Pacific Film Archive, Berkeley; Portland Art Museum, OR; The Gene
> Siskel Film Center, Art Institute of Chicago, Museum of the Moving
> Image, NY; JP Getty Museum, Los Angeles, CA, Whitney Museum, NY;
> P.S. 1, NY; Flaherty Film Seminar, NY; Arsenal Kino, Berlin;
> Mannheim Film Festival, Germany; The Latin American Film Festival,
> Havana; National Film Theatre, London. His essays and articles on
> experimental film and video have appeared in Film Quarterly;
> Discourse; Afterimage; Cinematograph; New Art Examiner among
> others. He is the author of the book Shadows, Specters, Shards:
> Making History in Avant-Garde Film (Minnesota UP, 2005). Skoller is
> currently Associate Professor of Film Studies at UC Berkeley.
> ________________________________________________
> 4. About Shadows, Specters, Shards: Making History in Avant-Garde
> Film (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2005)
> Shadows, Specters, Shards offers in-depth readings of works by some
> of today's most innovative filmmakers including Ernie Gehr, Abigail
> Child, James Benning, Zoe Beloff, Craig Baldwin. Abraham Ravett,
> Ken Jacobs, Daniel Eisenberg, Charles Burnett, Eleanor Antin, Jean-
> Luc Godard, Patricio Guzmán. In the book, Skoller explores
> relationships between contemporary aesthetic practices in time
> based media and historiographic representation. Using the
> materiality of cinematic time, Skoller identifies a cinema of
> evocation rather than representation, calling attention to those
> aspects of history that exceed the visible and representable, but
> nonetheless profoundly impacts our experience of everyday life.
> Skoller's analyses are informed by his own practice as a filmmaker
> and a range of cultural theories including Benjamin's concept of
> allegory and Deleuze's notion of the "time-image." The book
> suggests a new ethics of image-making--one that deepens the
> relation between making art and making history.
> "A passionate and close reading of a body of previously neglected
> avant-garde films, which in Jeffrey Skoller's hands are revealed to
> be at the cutting edge of some of the most significant social and
> intellectual debates of the last three decades. Shadows, Specters,
> Shards is a timely and provocative contribution to film culture and
> scholarship.: -Yvonne Rainer, Filmmaker, Journeys From Berlin/1971,
> Privilege, Murder and MURDER
> "Jeffrey Skoller addresses some of the richest, least acknowledged,
> avant-garde movies of the last two decades; in his scrupulous
> analysis these movies are revealed both as artifact and art work." -
> J. Hoberman, film critic, The Village Voice.
> "A singularly important work in the fields of film studies and
> visual historiography. Students and scholars of avant-garde film,
> history and representation, visual culture, Jewish studies, and
> progressive political activists will find this book especially
> useful." -Akira Mizuta Lippit, author of Electric Animal and Atomic
> Light (Shadow Optics) and Professor of Film Studies, University of
> Southern California

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