Re: Christmas on Earth

From: James Cole (email suppressed)
Date: Thu Mar 26 2009 - 16:20:35 PDT

You don't think the film is made to shock people? I mean, even her
instructions at the FMC require that music be played very loud (although
when I saw it the film was played silent and w/o gels). Certainly accounts
of her personality (I'm thinking in particular of the Sitney interview in
one of the volumes of A Critical Cinema) describe her as a rabble-rouser,
agitator, etc. Furthermore, it's graphic to a level that even contemporary
audiences find shocking, I can't imagine what unsuspecting audiences in 1963
must have thought when they walked into a film called "Christmas on Earth."

Maybe the words "put off" were imprecise. However, despite the elegance of
the film, the sheer graphic nature of the film (close ups of genitals, both
male and female, often at the same time on the two projectors) is shocking.
I don't want to make it seem like that's all the film does, because there's
an awful lot to recommend the film. I don't think I love it as much as you
(I prefer Fuses, for what that's worth), but it's a good film, and a
remarkable achievement. But, considering the account's of Rubin's
personality and the fact that she was 19 when she made the film, I think
it's safe to say part of the film's goal is shock value.


On Thu, Mar 26, 2009 at 6:32 PM, David Tetzlaff <email suppressed> wrote:

> I have seen this film several times. I do not think 'Cocks and Cunts' is a
> good title. For one thing, it's not properly descriptive. There's not much
> cock visible and an awful lot of cunt. Also, it has no poetry, and makes the
> film sound like no more than a porno. It's both less and more than that of
> course.
> As for whether the audience walks out or not: it's important to note that
> Christmas on Earth is a two projector piece with random elements, and a lot
> of the experience depends on how it is projected: what the projectionist
> chooses for a soundtrack, and whether and how colored gels are employed
> during the screening.
> When i have shown it in my class, I have both projectors in the auditorium,
> rather than the booth, and i leave an assorted pile of gels by each
> projector. I invite everyone everyone in the house to take a turn playing
> with the gels. The participatory nature works well with the very 60's
> all-inclusive polymorphous perversity on the screen. It's a good time.
> I totally disagree with James Cole that putting people off is one of the
> major goals of the film, and I have to wonder how it was shown when he saw
> it.
> It makes for an interesting comparison with (IMHO the much inferior) Fuses.
> 'Christmas on Earth' it should stay. Perhaps it could be billed as
> _CHRITMAS ON EARTH_ (formerly, _Cocks and Cunts_).
> Fred D., you need to see it.
> Also, AFAIK, FMC has the only print in circulation. I think this film is in
> desperate need of preservation, and that would be a far worthier campaign
> than an attempt to change the title.
> __________________________________________________________________
> For info on FrameWorks, contact Pip Chodorov at <email suppressed>.

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