“When we were seeing all the astonishing films coming out in the 60s from every corner of the world, the American avant-garde was at the core of the excitement… Artists from all over the world were pushing film in directions it had never gone before. But people like Stan Brakhage, Andy Warhol, Bruce Baillie, Ken Jacobs, Kenneth Anger, and George and Mike Kuchar were giving us something else – films that felt genuinely homemade, in which every image, every cut, every sound, felt as if it had been crafted, lived with and worked through over time. And they gave us different ways of telling stories. Or rather, different ideas of what a story was or could be. These filmmakers approached film with new eyes and re-envisioned it as visual music or as personal diary or city poem or found object… Everything was breaking down, overlapping, blending together, to form new hybrids.”
American film director, screenwriter, producer and film historian
With Scorsese’s statement as our motivation, DOCLAB is delighted to present 4 short films made during the four key decades of American avant-garde filmmaking (1940s – 1980s):
Time: 15:00 – 17:00 Thursday 14 October 2010
Location: Doclab Office, Goethe institute, 56/58 Nguyen Thai Học St., Hanoi.
1. Notes on the Circus by Jonas Mekas
With this diary film, Mekas shows that he is less interested in recording specifics of the circus performances than in the excitement they generate. The rapid editing and superimpositions amplify the awe of the crowd and the troupers’ sheer love of performance.
2. Here I Am by Bruce Baillie
A sensitive, low-key portrait of the East Bay Activity Center, a school in Oakland, California, started in the 50s to help emotionally disturbed children. Like the school itself, the film gives the kids center stage and moves at their pace, and needs no narration or dialogue to tell its story.
3. Fake Fruit Factory by Chick Strand
Strand brings an ethnographer’s eye to avant-garde filmmaking. This film emerged from Strand’s travels to Mexico in order to document the lives of everyday people met along the way. Told almost entirely through close-ups, Fake Fruit Factory shows young Mexican women, who work for a small handicraft facility, doing their things while gossiping and complaining about men.
4. Aleph by Wallace Berman
Aleph, Berman’s only film, was created with techniques carried over from collage and painting. The work was originally shot on 8mm black-and-white stock. Berman then edited and shaped it by adding hand coloring, Letraset symbols, and collage portraits of pop-culture icons. Heralded by Stan Brakhage “the only true envisionment of the sixties I know”, the film captures the era’s contradictions – its optimism, sense of alienation and intensity. In Aleph, stills come to life and appear to dance to a staccato beat.
The screening is non-profit and aims for studies and research only.
Following the screening is Q&A session.
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