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This week [April 16 - 23, 2017] in avant garde cinema

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  • , April 16, 2017
  • , April 17, 2017
  • , April 18, 2017
  • , April 21, 2017
  • , April 22, 2017
  • Sunday, April 23, 2017
  • This week's programs (summary):

    Sunday, April 16, 2017
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    New York, NY: Anthology Film Archives
    4:30 PM, 32 Second Avenue
    THE SKY TREMBLES AND THE LAND IS AFRAID AND THE TWO EYES ARE NOT BROTHERS
    see 4/15 for details.

    , April 17, 2017
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    Brooklyn, New York: Microscope Gallery
    7:30, 1329 Willoughby Ave, #2B
    OPEN SCREEN: SPRING FEVER!
    As an antidote for Spring Fever, Microscope offers a new round of OPEN SCREEN for which we invite first-time to established artists working with film, video or other digital forms to bring a work of their choice to screen. New or recent works under 12 minutes are preferred! Formats: Video: Quicktime file on flashdrive, Blu-Ray or DVD Film: 16mm (for other formats bring your projector!) We recommend that you RSVP to rsvp@microscopegallery.com in advance to let us know of you participation. Microscope Gallery, 1329 Willoughby Ave, #2B. Jefferson L stop, exit Starr street. 7:30-9:00 pm. Free Admission!

    Cambridge: Harvard Film Archive
    7pm, 24 Quincy Street
    Scratching Beyond the Surface - The Films of Paul Bush - FILMMAKER IN PERSON
    Experimental director and animator Paul Bush (b. 1956) taught himself filmmaking while a member of the London Film-Makers' Co-op . By 1981 he was teaching film and established a film workshop in South London. Bush pioneered a technique– seen in a number of his films, such as The Albatross — that involves scratching, frame-by-frame, directly into the surface of color film stock over live- action footage. This evening will survey his nearly thirty-year career, beginning with the early long-take documentary The Cow’s Drama (A Man’s Dream) and traveling through densely layered mixes of live action and illustration, frame-by-frame animation of insects, and a striking anthropological study created by machine-made institutional ephemera. Currently a Visiting Lecturer in Visual and Environmental Studies during the Spring 2017 semester, the filmmaker will join us afterwards for a conversation on his remarkable work.

    , April 18, 2017
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    Brooklyn, New York 11222: Light Industry
    9 PM EDT, 155 Freeman St
    Eric Baudelaire Presents The Laughing Man
    The Laughing Man, Walter Heynowski and Gerhard Scheumann, 1965/66, digital projection, 65 mins Introduced by Eric Baudelaire "In times like these, it's helpful to think about how, exactly, the enemy should be filmed. That's why I thought we should screen The Laughing Man." - EB

    , April 21, 2017
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    Cambridge: Harvard Film Archive
    7pm, 24 Quincy Street
    Chain
    Cohen reconfigured a three-channel installation piece titled Chain X Three into a more narrative, linear structure that follows two young women in different corners of the global economic spectrum. Both at the mercy of larger corporate forces—seen overwhelming the landscape in the form of malls, hotels, chain stores, highways and sprawl—each impassively and pragmatically respond to the stagnant alienation of the suburban miasma. Amanda is an American runaway, surviving off of abandoned spaces and complimentary coffee, whereas Tamiko is a scout for a large Japanese company sent to the States to study amusement parks. The film navigates a nowhereness that can be either alienating or comforting, but ultimately reveals the humanity even in this dead zone. Cohen acknowledges the beauty, humor and poignancy amid the bleak economic end games and the “superlandscape” of mass globalization, the homogenized encroachment of which is startlingly revealed in the film’s end credits. Directed by Jem Cohen. With Miho Nikaido, Mira Billotte, Tarik O’Regan. US 2004, digital video (orig. 16mm), color, 99 min

    Cambridge: Harvard Film Archive
    9:30pm, 24 Quincy Street
    Hachimiri Madness! Japanese Independents from the Punk Years
    The Adventure of Denchu-Kozo (Denchu Kozo no Boken) The early jishu films of two of the most well-known filmmaker/artists from Japan show the unbridled energy that this form of filmmaking allowed. In his joyfully inventive film, Tsukamoto—who can currently be seen playing one of the main roles in Martin Scorsese’s Silence—prefigures many of the cyberpunk themes of the more grim visual assault of his international breakthrough film, Tetsuo, The Iron Man (1989). Here the story of a teenage boy who discovers an electric pylon growing out of his back and is soon forced to battle cyborg vampires over the future of humanity touches upon Tsukamoto’s theme of the body melding with technology in a playfully manic tone. Directed by Shinya Tsukamoto Japan 1988, DCP, color, 47 min. Japanese with English subtitles I am Sion Sono! (Ore wa Sono Shion da!!) The intensely prolific Sono is one of the most constant presences from Japan at international festivals now, but his career is one of creativity in overdrive well beyond film. A published poet by his teens, Sono became an important presence in poetry, experimental theater, and— with this personal, adrenalized experimental film— stepped into the world of moving images. Navigating sometimes exuberant, sometimes uncomfortable territory, I am Sion Sono! explores the possibilities of film as part of a much larger artistic project. Directed by Sion Sono Japan 1984, DCP, color, 37 min. Japanese with English subtitles

    , April 22, 2017
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    Cambridge: Harvard Film Archive
    7pm, 24 Quincy Street
    Down Hear: The Films of Mike Henderson - FILMMAKER IN PERSON
    Due to a slate of recent preservations by Mark Toscano of the Academy Film Archive, the films of Mike Henderson (b. 1944) have finally come to light. Formally trained as a painter and blues guitarist, Henderson expanded his creative expression in the 1960s to filmmaking. Radical, innovative, political and often comical, Henderson’s 16mm short works are an eccentric outgrowth of his music and painting backgrounds. Initially manifesting from a desire to animate the figures in his paintings—which he thought would give his artwork greater depth—Henderson’s powerful, candid work ranges from audiovisual compositional experiments, to musings on creativity, to John Lee Hooker-style spoken blues performances about the Black experience and Black identity. As the late filmmaker Robert Nelson has noted, "Henderson’s movies are the first movies in the world to bring the authentic 'talkin blues' tradition into film.” Henderson’s films typically address a variety of political and social issues, many times with wry humor, along with performative and introspective elements. The Harvard Film Archive is honored to welcome Mike Henderson in person to present his films. He will also introduce a program of his close friend Robert Nelson’s work the following evening. Highlights include Henderson’s first film, The Last Supper, in which a blasphemous romp and orgy break out, while Dufus is a comedic and radical look at black stereotypes acted out by Mike Henderson in a variety of amazing performances. Concluding the program is the masterful Down Hear, a powerful meditation on slavery and oppression set in a kitchen and featuring a slave- trading reenactment by Mike Henderson in white face, along with his brother Raymond, all paced by a slow and haunting blues track played by Mike.

    New York, NY: Anthology Film Archives
    3:45 PM, 32 Second Avenue
    EC: BRUCE BAILLIE Program
    MASS FOR THE DAKOTA SIOUX (1963-64, 20 minutes, 16mm, b&w) QUIXOTE (1964-65, 45 minutes, 16mm) "In MASS and QUIXOTE [Baillie] subtly blends glimpses of the heroic personae with despairing reflections on violence and ecological disaster. […] Despite his sophistication, Baillie remains an innocent; the whole of his cinema exhibits an alternation between two irreconcilable themes: the sheer beauty of the phenomenal world (few films are as graceful to the eye as his, few are as sure of their colors) and the utter despair of forgotten men. It is in QUIXOTE alone that these two themes emerge into a dialectical form, an antithesis of grace and disgrace." -P. Adams Sitney, VISIONARY FILM Total running time: ca. 70 min.

    New York, NY: Anthology Film Archives
    7:30 PM, 32 Second Avenue
    GODOTHERS
    GUEST CURATED BY SARAH MENDELSOHN "Godothers" presents five works reflecting on fluidity in gender, language, and political life: where being trans or fluid is not necessarily the primary content, but where genderqueer or trans experiences contribute to a politics of rewriting and relating deeply. With SILENCE, Sarah Mendelsohn projects into the American writer Susan Sontag's 1993 "gender-blind" production of WAITING FOR GODOT in Sarajevo. Rami George writes into a stranger's romantic history: scenes of American protests, friendships, and hazy interiors circa 1960s-90s - UNTITLED (STANLEY, MY SECOND LOVER) holds memories of tenderness and radical ambition alternately close and very distant. Geo Wyeth and Mariah Garnett cast themselves as family members, rewriting their genders, adapting their speech. Geo becomes HW CLOBBA: "the artist's dead godmother, a native New Yorker, reluctant real estate appraiser, and communist." In OTHER & FATHER, Mariah queers her father, reenacting scenes from an earlier life, in 1970s Belfast. Rindon Johnson projects variously, rewriting their family, name, and body. Their poetry traces the ways our families reside within our names and bodies, our environments, our politics. We're often looking for new ones. Sarah Mendelsohn SILENCE (2017, 15 min, reading) Rami George UNTITLED (STANLEY, MY SECOND LOVER) (2012, 8 min, digital) HW Clobba (Geo Wyeth with Alan Danielson) AUTOMATIC TELLER MACHINE (2014, 11.5 min, digital) Mariah Garnett OTHER & FATHER (CHANNEL 2) (2016, 11 min, digital) Rindon Johnson UNTITLED (2017, 15 min, reading with video) Total running time: ca. 65 min.

    New York, NY: Anthology Film Archives
    8:00 PM, 32 Second Avenue
    ESCAPE FROM RENTED ISLAND: THE LOST PARADISE OF JACK SMITH
    by Jerry Tartaglia. WORLD PREMIERE! FILMMAKER IN PERSON! "I call it a 'Film Essay,' but it's really a non-documentary film document that gives Jack Smith the chance to be heard without the intervention of talking heads, critics, and had-been friends." -Jerry Tartaglia For more than 20 years, Jerry Tartaglia worked on restoring, preserving, and exhibiting the moving-image legacy of underground film and performance legend Jack Smith. Tartaglia's work as restorer, achieved with the support of Jack's friends at The Plaster Foundation, and The Gladstone Gallery, has been critical in ensuring that Smith's films are available for future generations. Now, having completed that work, Tartaglia has created a Film Essay that consists of 21 short illustrations of Smith's Aesthetic and Political principles including Capitalism, Glitter, Performance, Chance, Boredom, Thievery, Injustice, and Maria Montez. A remarkable fusion of image and sound that is both an invaluable work of archival archaeology and a splendid filmic experience in its own right, ESCAPE FROM RENTED ISLAND is a must-see for Jack Smith devotees and neophytes alike. "Jack Smith left behind a cache of audio recordings that he made in the 1970s, 80s, and earlier, in which he reveals much about his ideas of artmaking, cinema, politics, and life. Some of the recordings are solo readings of his published writings while others are documentations of his 'Live Film' performances. Some are recordings that document rehearsals for his films and others are impromptu recitations on a theme. These recordings have been made available to me by the owner of the Jack Smith Archive, The Gladstone Gallery, New York and Brussels, for use in my film. I've culled the most daring and engaging of these recordings with images from his films and photography that exemplify or illustrate his ideas. The unique feature of the film is that there are no 'talking head' interviews with anyone. The only spokesperson for Jack Smith is Jack himself!" -Jerry Tartaglia

    San Francisco, California: Other Cinema
    8:30 PM, 992 Valencia St.
    APRIL22: INAATE/SE—IT SHINES A CERTAIN WAY + GOMEZ-PENA
    In their break-out first feature, Ojibway filmmakers Adam (in person) and Zack Khalil fearlessly reclaim the Native narrative from the museums that would confine it to the past, instead weaving a formally and intellectually complex essay on contemporary Indian identity. The kaleidoscopic experience mixes doc, narrative, and experimental modes, transcending linear colonized history to explore how tribal prophecy resonates through the generations in their Great Lakes region. Using personal interviews, animated drawings, performance, and provocative inter-cutting, the Khalil brothers’ debut makes a bold case for indigenous people to be their own storytellers. Opening is a half-hour of Anti-Ethnographies, including righteous satires by Guillermo Gomez-Pena & Gustavo Vazquez; come early for Jota Leaños’ animated Frontera: Revolt on the Rio Grande!

    Tucson, AZ: Exploded View Microcinema
    7:30, 197 E Toole Ave
    Peripheries: Groundbreaking Border Video Works
    (Artists Jennifer Hijazi, Wesley Creigh and Conor Eliot Fitzgerald in person) Tonight’s program highlights local artists employing varying viewing formats to represent international boundaries near and far. Featuring 360° videos of international borders from around the world by University of Arizona Journalism master’s student Jennifer Hijazi. Her virtual reality stations will give your eyeballs a front row seat to the people and landscapes of borderlands worldwide. Wesley Creigh will debut her animation project “Of Rocks and Bullets: An Animated Discourse” in an interactive viewing-booth installation that contemplates the occurrence of Border Patrol violence on and across the US-Mexico border. Conor Elliott Fitzgerald brings us his video piece of two economically disparate but geographically near communities of Green Valley, Arizona and Nogales, Sonora. His work is the product of years of interacting with both locales as a photographer. An exciting night of boundary pushing video and new media works, that examines traditional themes using non-traditional methods, compelling the viewers towards new frontiers of thought and reaction.

    Sunday, April 23, 2017
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    Cambridge: Harvard Film Archive
    4:30pm, 24 Quincy Street
    Benjamin Smoke
    Jem Cohen and co-director Peter Sillen, both visually involved in Athens’ independent music scene, were introduced to Benjamin—née Robert Dickerson—through Michael Stipe, a longtime fan. Over a decade, Cohen and Stillen craft a compassionate portrait of Benjamin, whose marginality—unclassifiable musician, openly gay, HIV-positive, addict, drag queen —is as spectacular as his unedited authenticity, passionate vitality and sensitive vulnerability. In Atlanta’s eccentric—and gradually gentrifying—area known as Cabbagetown, the filmmakers document Benjamin’s public and private performances, wild musings, Southern left-field surroundings, and his band’s opening for Patti Smith, another fan. A unique soul whose bright flame is sometimes difficult to watch directly, Benjamin seems equally powered by both a passion for life and a self-destructive fatalism. Amid the rough grains of film and notes of Benjamin’s bewitching music , Cohen and Sillen capture the essence of this secret, decadent Southern star. Directed by Jem Cohen and Peter Sillen. US 2000, 16mm, color and b/w, 73 min Preceded by Peter Hutton US 2016, digital video (orig. 16mm), b/w, 2 min Anne Truitt, Working US 2009, digital video (orig. 16mm), b/w & color, 13 min Lucky Three: An Elliot Smith Portrait US 1997, digital video (orig. 16mm), color, 11 min

    Cambridge: Harvard Film Archive
    7pm, 24 Quincy Street
    Suite California Stops & Passes
    Suite California is a work of deep feeling, insight, humor and intelligence that finds Nelson working at the height of his formal innovation and, at the same time, at his most personally revealing and emotionally generous. The Suite California films were originally intended as a much longer, multipart travelogue traversing the wide cultural and geographical diversity of all of California. Nelson completed two parts—covering Southern California and the Bay Area—and the results trace the vast and unpredictable area between a rich personal reading of a place and the place itself. Although both works feature Nelson's characteristic brilliant humor throughout, they are also deeply reflective and filled with unexpected, revelatory insight about the subjective experience of his home state, and his own place in it. – Mark Toscano All films in this program—except for Bleu Shut—preserved by the Academy Film Archive. King David Directed by Mike Henderson and Robert Nelson US 1970/2003, 16mm, color, sound, 7.5 min Suite California Stops & Passes Part 1: Tijuana to Hollywood via Death Valley US 1978, 16mm, color & b/w, 47 min Suite California Stops & Passes Part 2: San Francisco to the Sierra Nevadas & Back Again US 1978, 16mm, color & b/w, 47 min

    New York, NY: Anthology Film Archives
    4:00 PM, 32 Second Avenue
    EC: QUICK BILLY
    by Bruce Baillie. Bruce Baillie's journey through "the dark wood encountered in the middle of life's journey" (Dante), with references to Bardo Thodol. A major work from one of the great poets of cinema. Plus: QUICK BILLY: SIX ROLLS; 14/41/43/46/47/52 (1968-69, 16 min, 16mm) Six uncut camera rolls to be shown with QUICK BILLY. The 'rolls' took the form of a correspondence, or theater, between their author and Stan Brakhage, in the winter of 1968-69.

    New York, NY: Anthology Film Archives
    6:00 PM, 32 Second Avenue
    EC: BAILLIE / BELSON / CROCKWELL PGM
    Bruce Baillie CASTRO STREET (1966, 10 min, 16mm) ALL MY LIFE (1966, 3 min, 16mm) VALENTIN DE LAS SIERRAS (1968, 10 min, 16mm. Preserved by Anthology Film Archives.) "In [Baillie's late 1960s films], the eye of the film-maker quiets his mind with images of reconciliation; the dialectics of cinematic thought become calm in the filming of the privileged moment of reconciliation." -P. Adams Sitney, VISIONARY FILM Jordan Belson ALLURES (1961, 9 min, 16mm) RE-ENTRY (1964, 6 min, 16mm) SAMADHI (1967, 6 min, 16mm) WORLD (1970, 6 min, 16mm) LIGHT (1973, 6 min, 16mm) [This film is not technically part of the Essential Cinema, but is included here as a special bonus.] "Our greatest abstract film poet: he has found how to combine the vision of the outer and the inner eye." -Gene Youngblood Douglass Crockwell THE LONG BODIES (1949, 6 min, 16mm) GLENS FALLS SEQUENCE (1964, 8 min, 16mm) Both films preserved by Anthology Film Archives. "The basic idea was to paint continuing pictures on various layers with plastic paint, adding at times and removing at times, and to a certain extent these early attempts were successful." -Douglass Crockwell Total running time: ca. 75 min.

    New York, NY: Anthology Film Archives
    8:00 PM, 32 Second Avenue
    ESCAPE FROM RENTED ISLAND: THE LOST PARADISE OF JACK SMITH
    by Jerry Tartaglia. WORLD PREMIERE! FILMMAKER IN PERSON! "I call it a 'Film Essay,' but it's really a non-documentary film document that gives Jack Smith the chance to be heard without the intervention of talking heads, critics, and had-been friends." -Jerry Tartaglia For more than 20 years, Jerry Tartaglia worked on restoring, preserving, and exhibiting the moving-image legacy of underground film and performance legend Jack Smith. Tartaglia's work as restorer, achieved with the support of Jack's friends at The Plaster Foundation, and The Gladstone Gallery, has been critical in ensuring that Smith's films are available for future generations. Now, having completed that work, Tartaglia has created a Film Essay that consists of 21 short illustrations of Smith's Aesthetic and Political principles including Capitalism, Glitter, Performance, Chance, Boredom, Thievery, Injustice, and Maria Montez. A remarkable fusion of image and sound that is both an invaluable work of archival archaeology and a splendid filmic experience in its own right, ESCAPE FROM RENTED ISLAND is a must-see for Jack Smith devotees and neophytes alike. "Jack Smith left behind a cache of audio recordings that he made in the 1970s, 80s, and earlier, in which he reveals much about his ideas of artmaking, cinema, politics, and life. Some of the recordings are solo readings of his published writings while others are documentations of his 'Live Film' performances. Some are recordings that document rehearsals for his films and others are impromptu recitations on a theme. These recordings have been made available to me by the owner of the Jack Smith Archive, The Gladstone Gallery, New York and Brussels, for use in my film. I've culled the most daring and engaging of these recordings with images from his films and photography that exemplify or illustrate his ideas. The unique feature of the film is that there are no 'talking head' interviews with anyone. The only spokesperson for Jack Smith is Jack himself!" -Jerry Tartaglia


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