Meshes of the Afternoon
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8 items from 2010

1946 Art In Cinema: Official Lineup

15 December 2010 6:00 AM, PST | Underground Film Journal | See recent Underground Film Journal news »

In the fall of 1946, Frank Stauffacher mounted a major, and very influential, retrospective of avant-garde film in the U.S. at the San Francisco Museum of Art. The series was called “Art in Cinema” and it featured ten different programs from filmmakers in the U.S., France, Germany and Canada.

By the mid-’40s, the avant-garde hadn’t taken a strong hold in the U.S. yet, so the majority of the films screened came from Europe, or by Europeans who relocated to the U.S. However, by that time also, the European avant-garde had pretty much completely petered out. Still, Stauffacher wanted to show that there was a continuity to avant-garde film history that, up until that point, had yet to be fully considered.

In conjunction with the series, the San Francisco Museum of Art published a catalog, pretty much like one would find with any major art exhibit. »

- Mike Everleth

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This week's cinema events

3 September 2010 4:06 PM, PDT | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

František Vlácil, Edinburgh, Glasgow & London

While the likes of Milos Forman and Jirí Menzel benefited from attention focused on Czech cinema in the late-60s and early-70s, František Vlácil wasn't so lucky. He's been mentioned in the same breath as Welles, Tarkovsky and even Kurosawa; and on home turf, his 1967 historical drama Marketa Lazarová is considered a masterpiece. Yet few of Vlácil's films have ever been shown in the UK. Vlácil, who died in 1999, kept working up to the late-80s, and this selection gives a good indication of his range, incorporating Marketa Lazarová alongside lesser-known works such as The Little Shepherd Boy From The Valley and Shadows Of A Hot Summer.

BFI Southbank, SE1, to 30 Sep; Filmhouse, Edinburgh, to 3 Oct; Glasgow Film Theatre, Tue to 28 Sep

Ray Harryhausen, London

In the year of his 90th birthday, Ray Harryhausen can't say he feels too overlooked these days, especially after »

- Damon Wise

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The Corruption Of Maya Deren

27 July 2010 9:00 AM, PDT | Underground Film Journal | See recent Underground Film Journal news »

This is a weird one. The best I can do is tell you what I think it is. The actual title of the above embedded video is Corrupt.Maya.Deren by an entity called Videogramo. What I believe it is, is a corrupted or digitally manipulated version of Maya Deren‘s classic underground film Meshes of the Afternoon. However, the original film is completely unintelligible and what we have is a hypnotic swirl of digital blurs, squares and flashes of light.

Although it’s virtually impossible to tell what we’re actually looking at, I believe through certain sound cues — the sound doesn’t kick in until a few minutes in — that this is Meshes of the Afternoon. But, the soundtrack to the original film by Teiji Ito doesn’t match up exactly as I believe the audio has been as corrupted as the video, so I can’t say for certain. »

- Mike Everleth

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Me And You And Memento And Fargo

16 July 2010 6:00 AM, PDT | Underground Film Journal | See recent Underground Film Journal news »

Anybody who’s ever written or attempted to write a screenplay has run into the dreaded “Hollywood formula.” There’s even an entire industry of seminars, books and videos built of experts who explain all the rules one needs to follow in order to write a winning, successful screenplay, such as specific plot points that need to fall on specific pages, proper character arcs, etc.

There’s nothing inherently wrong with that formula. (Full disclosure: I love formulaic Hollywood movies.) Plus, Guidelines are actually a good idea for the beginning writer who’s not quite sure how to begin. (More disclosure: I’ve written my own share of “guideline”-based screenplays that never sold.) However, resistance to these guidelines start to build up thanks to the overly aggressive nature that each expert tries to instruct writers to follow them. What should be helpful guidelines become absolutely unbreakable “rules” enforced by »

- Mike Everleth

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What Are You Watching? (Open Thread)

20 May 2010 2:40 PM, PDT | ShadowAndAct | See recent ShadowAndAct news »

It’s been a relatively slow news week, as I’m sure you all have noticed. And as the week comes to a close, it’ll likely slow down even more.

So, I thought, let’s have a little fun! As the title of this post asks, what are you watching? What films have you seen this week, and what did you think of them? Any you’d recommend the rest of us see? Any we should stay away from? They could be films you saw in a theatre, at home on DVD, on TV, Cable, on the web, in a cafe, library, wherever. And they don’t have to be “black films.”

I re-watched La Haine last night, a film I actually like… well I did like it, until Qadree said something that made me think about it differently, and quelled my enthusiasm for it. Thanks a lot Qadree »

- Tambay

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Anthology Film Archives’ Essential Cinema Repertory Collection

3 May 2010 6:00 AM, PDT | Underground Film Journal | See recent Underground Film Journal news »

First the history, then the list:

In 1969, Jerome Hill, P. Adams Sitney, Peter Kubelka, Stan Brakhage, and Jonas Mekas decided to open the world’s first museum devoted to film. Of course, a typical museum hangs its collections of artwork on the wall for visitors to walk up to and study. However, a film museum needs special considerations on how — and what, of course — to present its collection to the public.

Thus, for this film museum, first a film selection committee was formed that included James Broughton, Ken Kelman, Peter Kubelka, Jonas Mekas and P. Adams Sitney, plus, for a time, Stan Brakhage. This committee met over the course of several months to decide exactly what films would be collected and how they would be shown. The final selection of films would come to be called the The Essential Cinema Repertory.

The Essential Cinema Collection that the committee came up with consisted of about 330 films. »

- Mike Everleth

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Skip Battaglia: Parataxis

13 April 2010 10:00 AM, PDT | Underground Film Journal | See recent Underground Film Journal news »

Embedded above is the 1980 short film Parataxis by Rochester, NY-based animator Skip Battaglia. This structuralist film reimagines the same scenario — a man checking out a cute chick in a department store — with different reshufflings of the order of the exact memory of the event. As Skip notes, Parataxis is considered the first xerographically animated film produced on a Xerox 6500 Color Copier on paper. While it’s a fascinating technique executed imaginatively, I want to discuss something else:

Skip was one of my film professors at the Rochester Institute of Technology (1988 – 1992) and had a phenomenally huge impact on my life. While my life and career didn’t go in the direction of creating films, Skip really instilled and inspired in me new ways of looking at the world differently. He had a way of looking at your footage and, while seeing and appreciating it for what it was and what you »

- Mike Everleth

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Anthology Film Archives: Carl Theodor Dreyer’s Vampyr

14 January 2010 2:29 PM, PST | Underground Film Journal | See recent Underground Film Journal news »

Jan. 16

8:00 p.m.

Anthology Film Archives

2nd Ave at 2nd St.


Hosted by: Anthology Film Archives

Carl Theodor Dreyer’s Vampyr (1932) may not be considered an “underground” film, but it sure as hell looks like one, belonging to the avant-garde tradition of the “trance film,” a term coined by the writer P. Adams Sitney in his book Visionary Film.

Sitney doesn’t actually write about Vampyr in Visionary Film, but he pulls his definition of a “trance film” from another film writer, Parker Tyler. In his book The Three Faces of Film, Tyler wrote:

The chief imaginative trend among Experimental or avant-garde filmmakers is action as a dream and the actor as a somnambulist.

That was true in 1960. Sitney traced the evolution of the “trance film” from the classic German Expressionist silent film The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari to the work of American avant-garde filmmakers like Kenneth Anger »

- screenings

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