Jefferson Presents...#110: LeGrice, Sat. 03/27/10, 8PM, Pittsburgh

From: ADAM ABRAMS (email suppressed)
Date: Wed Mar 24 2010 - 13:36:04 PDT

Jefferson Presents...Experiments on Film, no.110:
Malcolm LeGrice
"Blackbird Descending-Tense Alignment"
Sat. 03/27/10, 8:00pm. $5, $4
Students. Garfield Artworks. 4931 Penn Ave.

Never again in
Pittsburgh will one man be so bold or foolish as to show English
structural filmmaking supremo Malcolm LeGrice's feature length 1977 work
 "Blackbird Descending-Tense Alignment". Have you got the balls to show
up? Have you got the hutzpah to make it through it? Have you got what it
 takes to savor the experience directly from its steely celluloid teets?
 Have you got something better to do before you hit the bars and get
totally shitfaced?

Blackbird Descending - Tense Alignment

 Le Grice 1977 120mins Colour 16mm

"Malcolm Le Grice, one of the
leading avant-garde filmmakers in Britain, has made a feature length
work which is (...) one of the most accessible films to come out of the
experimental area of cinematic exploration in recent years. The secret
of its appeal is that ot engages the viewer's curiosity and then
challanges him to remember, really remember, exactly what he has seen
and heard. It assumes that peoplec an have fun at the same time as they
are absorbing an analysis of how time and space are constructed in the
cinema. What we see is a simple domestic scene: A woman typing. Through
the window a man prunes a tree and a woman hangs out different colored
sheets. A phone rings. This scene is repeated again and again from
different viewpoints and timepoints but always slightly altered. The
film is not about Pirandelloesque but film reality, so Le Grice finally
shows us the camera filming some of the scenes we have seen, even
utilising split screens to unmask the unreality (and of course thereby
creating yet another). Like poet Wallace Stevens, Le Grice gives us
thirteen ways of looking at a blackbird with fresh eyes." --Ken
Wlaschin, London Film Festival, 77.

tiptoeing so gingerly backwards into that forbidden zone for the English
 'Structural' filmmaker that is known as 'Narrative'.

Here lurk
those evils 'mystification' and 'manipulation'; there is a third, of
course, more horrible: the all-encompassing 'illusion'. Have the Le
Grice and his Blackbird emerged unscathed and untainted? The answer is
unequivocally yes, and what is more, they bear with them a whole new set
 of options. And this at a time when avant-garde film seems to be in
need of a new direction, of renewed energy.

Le Grice, of course,
is not alone in his endeavour. It is absolutely not a question of a
'return' to narrative; it is more a wholly new approach made possible by
 the investigation of 'first things', the foregrounding of cinematic
procedures, characteristic of Le Grice's work - and that of other
avant-garde filmmakers - over the last ten years. It might be better to
speak of narrative - the act of talking - for in BLACKBIRD DESCENDING as
 in AFTER LUMIERE before it, the focus is not so much on the 'what' as
on the 'how', the way the film describes or involves - in Michael Snow's
 words - "one thing or another". Significantly the events of the film
are simple.

Spoken dialogue, written text and elaborate montage
here join strategies that will be familiar to those acquainted with Le
Grice's early work. The result is a film of great vigour, ambition, even
 playfulness. Simon Field from London Filmmakers' Co-op Catalogue 1997.
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