kino21 - PORTLAND: Live Film Narration / SF: Warren Sonbert Retrospective

From: konrad (email suppressed)
Date: Mon Apr 28 2008 - 12:43:54 PDT

Our events from May 3rd thru June 5th.

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Special event
The New Talkies: PortlandSan Francisco Cinema Cabaret
  Writers/performers from San Francisco and Portland
  silence the movies and talk for them, updating
  the lost art of the benshi, or "film teller."

Reservations Required
  for information and tickets see

The "neo-benshi" idea has evolved from the art of
narrating film during the pre-sound era of film.
Writer/performers turn off the sound and perform their
own scripts to brief scenes from movies of their
choosing. Performing tonight are:

From Portland:
o David Abel & Leo Daedelus - "Solaris" (1972)
o Rodney Koeneke - "Mary Poppins" (1964)
o Maryrose Larkin - "The Passion of Joan of Arc" (1928)
o Kaia Sand - a machinists home movies from the 1930s

From San Francisco:
o David Larsen - "Logan's Run" (1977)
o Mac McGinnes & Norma Cole - "Judex" (1964)
o Cynthia Sailers - "The Passion of Anna" (1969)
o Konrad Steiner - "Minority Report" (2002)

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May 15th, 29th and June 5th
Warren Sonbert Selected Retrospective
Curated for kino21 by Johnny Ray Huston and Konrad Steiner

Program 1: Silent Treatment
Thursday, May 15th, 7pm
SF Camerawork Gallery
657 Mission St. 2d Floor
San Francisco, CA

Carriage Trade 16mm, silent 61min. (1971)

"Carriage Trade" is the title of Warren Sonbert's 1971
masterpiece of montage. The film is an hour long
meditation on the world, years before and far ahead
films like "Baraka" and "Koyaanisqatsi," which are
coffee-table films compared to this film's nimble wit
and down-to-earth humanity. Compiled over many years
from imagery Sonbert collected from his travels, it
has been called both an "explosion in a postcard
factory" and "an uncommon masterpiece, presenting the
stuff of the world with humor, irony, detachment, and
love." Tonight is rare screening of this magnum opus.


Program 2: Pop Witness
Thursday, May 29th 8pm
Artists Television Access
992 Valencia
San Francisco, CA

A selection of early and late sound films. For
detailed descriptions see

o Amphetamine 16mm, b&w/sound, 10 min. (1966)
o Where Did Our Love Go? 16mm, color/sound on CD, 15 min. (1966)
o Hall of Mirrors 16mm, b&w/color/sound, 7 min. (1966)
o Friendly Witness 16mm, color/sound, 22 min. (1989)


Program 3: Narrative Vertigo
Thursday, June 5th 8pm
Artists Television Access
992 Valencia
San Francisco, CA

o A Womans Touch 16mm, color/silent, 22 min. (1983)
o Short Fuse 16mm, b&w/color/sound, 37 min. (1991)

While Sonberts work is infused with his awareness of
experimental film from Brakhage to Warhol, it is just
as profoundly informed by his love of narrative
genres: opera and feature films. Among avant gardists,
his was a rare case of someone with a deep
appreciation of the films of Hollywood masters, in
particular the films of Douglas Sirk, Nicholas Ray,
and Alfred Hitchcock. "A Womans Touch" is a complex
rendition of his sense of the narrative spark
engendered by images of women, men and their dramatic
and quotidian roles, with glimpses of many friends
around the world, which is both an homage and a
response to Hitchcocks "Marnie."

On the other hand in "Short Fuse," the last film
Sonbert completed before his death in 1995, engages
his love of music and his minor career as an opera
critic. His usually silent montage is guided into an
episodic structure by a soundtrack drawn from a vast
range of music: from Strauss' "Capriccio," Bernard
Hermanns "Vertigo" soundtrack, to motown, and world
music. The film is also rarity in Sonberts catalog for
incorporating quoted film footage into the weave of
his trademark polyvalent montage.

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