Avant-Garde, Experimental & Non-narrative Films

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vogler
Joined: Thu Jun 29, 2006 8:42 am
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#76 Post by vogler » Mon Oct 30, 2006 9:11 pm

acquarello wrote:Index has released the third Kurt Kren DVD compilation, including Which Way to CA
I bought this dvd shortly after it was released. I found that a number of the films were not as interesting as the first 2 Kren dvds although there were a few that I particularly liked. The 55 minute documentary is excellent though and makes the dvd absolutely essential for anyone interested in Kren's work. I need to watch the dvd again and maybe I will appreciate some of these films more on my next viewing.
acquarello wrote:although their expected release of Martin Arnold's Cineseizure is still up in the air.
I have been waiting for this one and I really hope that it gets released before too long. Do you have any idea what films it will include? I have the Cinemnesis tape which features pièce touchée, passage à l'acte & Alone. Life Wastes Andy Hardy and I am wondering if this dvd will feature these or perhaps some different ones as well.

Still no news on the Valie Export Invisible Adversaries dvd either unfortunately.

acquarello
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#77 Post by acquarello » Mon Oct 30, 2006 9:30 pm

Thanks for the information on the Kren disc, sounds as though I could really benefit from the documentary since I practically ran out of one of the Kren program screenings at Anthology last year (loop of a guy crapping, I was not a happy camper :x). Fortunately, I stayed for another program (this one was more about structures and surface properties, like Bäume in Herbst) and enjoyed that one much more.

Regarding the Arnold disc, unfortunately it is pretty much the Re:Voir Cinemnesis tape, with a bonus short called Der Österreichfilm, which I haven't seen, and three trailers. Here's the index page. I've heard of the Psycho trailer by reputation, so I'm really looking forward to seeing that one.

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vogler
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#78 Post by vogler » Mon Oct 30, 2006 10:04 pm

acquarello wrote:I practically ran out of one of the Kren program screenings at Anthology last year (loop of a guy crapping, I was not a happy camper :x).
Ah, you must be referring to the charming film 20. September aka. The Eating, Drinking, Pissing and Shitting film. A lovely little film featuring the imimitable Gunter Brus performing said actions in extreme close up. There is a marvellous quote about the film in this passage from an article in Bright Lights Film Journal:
In one of his most notorious films, 16/67: September 20—Gunther Brus (a.k.a., Eating, Drinking, Pissing, Shitting Film), Kren again used his always accommodating pal Brus, this time to reduce existence to its mechanical essence as stated in the subtitle. Kren was typically unpretentious about this startling work: "It is very dirty, being about eat-drink-piss-shitting. Many friends will hate me after having seen that film." But he added, in a phrase that shows his career as an irresistible command to create, "Sorry. It had to be done!"

For anyone else who is curious about this, and don't say I didn't warn you, there are some disgusting images from the film featured in this page about it here. It looks even worse in motion as well. I watched this film mostly with my hands in front of my eyes taking the occasional peek and collapsing into a mixture of hilarity and disgust. It can on occasion also be used for the purpose of a great practical joke.
acquarello wrote:Regarding the Arnold disc, unfortunately it is pretty much the Re:Voir Cinemnesis tape, with a bonus short called Der Österreichfilm
Thanks for the information and link to the page. I think I'll probably still buy it anyway as it would be nice to have it on dvd (although I don't think Pip Chodorov from re:voir would agree with me - he detests dvds).

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Gregory
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#79 Post by Gregory » Wed Nov 01, 2006 1:31 pm

Some interested parties may not be aware of this, but a DVD of Harry Partch-related films titled Enclosure 7 quietly came out a couple of months ago as part of the Enclosures series of Partch CDs, Videos, a book, and finally this DVD. I picked it up recently from Overstock.com for about $13, and it's also available from at least a few other online retailers, as well. The Amazon listing says it's no longer available (and it also says it's R2, when it's actually NTSC R0).

A short description of Patrch for those unfamiliar: he was a great composer, inventor, and visionary who was seriously involved in music and writing from a young age and developed some iconoclastic views toward traditional music. Many of his pieces involved written texts, some of them based on his experiences traveling around by rail as a hobo during the Depression. More than anything else, though, he is known for his invented instruments: mostly tuned percussion and string instruments of unimaginably striking appearance and sound. With names like "Gourd Tree," "Spoils of War," "Cry-Chord" and "Mazda Marimba" made them out of glass bottles, different sized light bulbs, artillery shell casings, hub caps, and so on. But this was no arbitrary assortment of junk: they were all meticulously designed to produce exactly the sounds Partch wanted, and tuned to his 43-tone scale. There is really no other music that sounds like this, and Partch himself was a true original, to risk pointing out the obvious.

A couple of the films of this disc (The Dreamer That Remains and the Bonus Album Slideshow) consist of Partch enthusiastically explaining what the instruments are and why he made them the way he did. Delusion of the Fury, one of his full theatrical productions, is also included here. One of the bonus extras is Harry, in one of his more eccentric and unintelligible modes, showing us how to make rose petal jam in just one minute.

A word of warning, however: the transfers of these films are very soft, to the extent that in the dimly lit Delusion of the Fury I found it hard to clearly make out the instruments behind the dancers in the foreground (it may look better on a tube). Audio quality seems perfectly fine. It's very doubtful these will ever get a better release anywhere, so my advice is to just enjoy them as they are.
Last edited by Gregory on Thu Nov 02, 2006 4:53 am, edited 1 time in total.

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vogler
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#80 Post by vogler » Wed Nov 01, 2006 2:10 pm

Gregory wrote:Some interested parties may not be aware of this, but a DVD of Harry Partch-related films titled Enclosure 7 quietly came out a couple of months ago as part of the Enclosures series of Partch CDs, Videos, a book, and finally this DVD.
I received my copy of this dvd today. I've not had a chance to watch it properly yet but I had a quick look to see what the quality was like. The transfers are actually not a lot better than the VHS versions although the sound is a lot better, particularly on Delusion of the Fury. This makes a huge difference. Do you think the dvd was made from the same master as the VHS? I'm very happy with the disc anyway. The Dreamer that Remains is a great documentary and the performance of the composition The Dreamer that Remains is a sight to behold and probably the most bizarre musical performance ever.
The extra features are great as well, particularly the Revelation footage. I only wish there was more of it.

I am now wondering if they will release an Enclosure 8 DVD featuring the four short films Partch made with Madeline Tourtelot and there's also a few more documentaries that could be included. Have you seen the 4 Tourtelot films yet Gregory?

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Gregory
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#81 Post by Gregory » Wed Nov 01, 2006 2:39 pm

Not yet but I will soon. By the way, I read that Enclosure 7 is to be the last in the series. Still, Innova and Philip Blackburn could always issue DVDs of Enclosure 1 ("Four historic art films by Madeline Tourtelot") and even Enclosure 4 ("Delusion of the Fury" and "The Music of Harry Partch") without really considering them new additions to the series.

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Kirkinson
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#82 Post by Kirkinson » Wed Nov 01, 2006 6:54 pm

Thanks for the heads-up, I hadn't heard about the Partch DVD. I'll definitely be picking that up as soon as I can.

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#83 Post by David Ehrenstein » Wed Nov 01, 2006 8:27 pm

Le Lit de la Vierge is marvelous. Saw it once back in 1970 at the Museum of Modern Art.

Pierre Clementi and Zouzou as Christ and the Virgin Mary (sort of) with Tina Aumont and songs by Nico.

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david hare
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#84 Post by david hare » Wed Nov 01, 2006 8:31 pm

Sounds FABULOUS!

fred
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#85 Post by fred » Thu Nov 02, 2006 4:42 am

It is. Jackie Raynal has had a print of this in New York for the past several years and it has occassionally screened at Anthology. It's exquisite.

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david hare
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#86 Post by david hare » Fri Nov 03, 2006 1:10 am

Funny - I only recently got a copy of Flaming Creatures (which I had NEVER seen) and for which I have unbounding and total adoration. I wonder how this and the Garrel would pair up? Certainly the Jack Smith is a movie about paradise.

EDIT: Should be in "Passages" but RIP the lovely Tina Aumont!

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vogler
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#87 Post by vogler » Fri Nov 03, 2006 8:04 am

davidhare wrote:Funny - I only recently got a copy of Flaming Creatures (which I had NEVER seen) and for which I have unbounding and total adoration.
I also saw Flaming Creatures for the first time very recently and thought it was fantastic and much better than I expected. Have you seen Smith's Normal Love? Also a great film. There's an excellent quality TV rip of the long version available on the share networks and a not so good shorter version available at ubu.com.
EDIT: I just watched the shorter version again and it is nowhere near as good. The time difference is about 50 minutes which is a huge amount. It also seems to be missing almost all of the footage which I found the most amazing. The more abstract imagery with incredibly beautiful and vibrant colours where you're not quite sure what you are seeing a lot of the time.

I hope that someone will eventually release a dvd set of Smith's work and the Jack Smith & The Destruction of Atlantis documentary could be included. Did anyone get a chance to see this documentary at the recent London Film Festival screenings or anywhere else for that matter?
Last edited by vogler on Fri Nov 03, 2006 7:08 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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#88 Post by Anonymous » Fri Nov 03, 2006 10:16 am

"Flaming Creatures" is one of my great pleasures. It has a unique aura of magic that no other avant-garde film of its time equals. I have seen it many times and never tire of it's exotic beauty. I highly recommend J. Hoberman's wonderful book about it, filled with great illustrations and on-set photos.

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david hare
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#89 Post by david hare » Sat Nov 04, 2006 5:01 am

It is also obviously adored by Rosenbaum in "Essential Cinema". His piece on this and "Scotch Tape" is very nice.

EDIT: I downloaded "Normal Love" (which took FOREVER) and if this is considered weak video I cant wait to see a better (and more complete) print!! Can you PM?

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#90 Post by Guest » Sat Nov 04, 2006 6:26 am

davidhare wrote:It is also obviously adored by Rosenbaum in "Essential Cinema". His piece on this and "Scotch Tape" is very nice.

EDIT: I downloaded "Normal Love" (which took FOREVER) and if this is considered weak video I cant wait to see a better (and more complete) print!! Can you PM?
More complete will be difficult because Smith never finished another film after "Flaming Creatures". "Normal Love", "No President" and others were integrated by him into his performances and he always showed variations of these films.

Rosenbaum's writing on the film is very nice, but the film's lifelong champions remain Jonas Mekas and J. Hoberman, who both have written brilliantly about this masterwork. A Village Voice Film Guide containing decades of reviews will be released in December and I'm pretty confident it will include Mekas' review from the 60s.

Ken Jacobs has told me a lot of great anecdotes about Smith. As Ken said, Jack was someone about whom no one ever said "Oh Jack wouldn't do that".

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david hare
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#91 Post by david hare » Sat Nov 04, 2006 6:42 am

Hahaha..

sounds marvellous!

Of course Mekas seems to have (inadvertently?) alienated Smith with his pronunciations of high seriousness. Not that Smith's work isn't, but I assume Jack Smith was both too sensitive and too sensible (also the French meaning) to wear this label lightly.

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#92 Post by Guest » Sat Nov 04, 2006 8:55 am

davidhare wrote:Of course Mekas seems to have (inadvertently?) alienated Smith with his pronunciations of high seriousness. Not that Smith's work isn't, but I assume Jack Smith was both too sensitive and too sensible (also the French meaning) to wear this label lightly.
We must remember that Jack was an extremely flamboyant artist, a man capable of doing everything, regardless of what others think of him. Mekas as well as Susan Sontag regarded "Flaming Creatures" as a serious, profound and beautiful work of art (they were of course right) and Jack felt they were pretentious. While no one can know what Jack really felt about his film, he was always very resistent to high-brow academics. His work came from his heart, so he didn't really contemplate about it as Mekas and Sontag did. From that point on Jack refered to Jonas as "Uncle Fishhook".

Ken said that Jack was definitely an intellectual, but never made it overtly explicit in his behaviour. He might seem crazy at first, but gradually revealed his sharp mind. I recommend reading the book "Wait for me at the bottom of the pool", edited by Hoberman, which collects some fine writing by Smith. Jack also wrote a little essay on von Sternberg which is included in Criterion's "The Scarlet Empress" DVD.

By the way, "production costs" for "Flaming Creatures" were $300. Tony Conrad told me they spend it on the lab costs and that was it. Jack was able to shoot the film on the roof of a building because he knew the tenant. Here is a radio report about Jack.

Fantoma is FINALLY releasing their first volume of Kenneth Anger films on DVD!

Contains the films:
Fireworks (1947)
Puce Moment (1949)
Rabbit's Moon (1950, the rarely seen original 16 minute version)
Eaux d'Artifice (1953)
Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome (1954)

The extras sound wonderful!

* High-definition transfers from newly restored elements
* Screen specific audio commentary by Kenneth Anger
* Rare outtakes and behind-the-scenes images
* 36 page hard-cover book, featuring rare photos, written appreciations by renowened filmmakers, never before seen sketches and plans for unproduced films, and more!

Jonas Mekas has updated his website with some amazing content! There are a lot of great videos up there and he announced to put up some rare Menken and Anger films on December 9th. I hope the Menken will be GO! GO! GO! Jonas Mekas really must rank among art history's major visionaries. What he does right now with his 365 diary-films reinvents cinema once again, and almost no one notices it. I am passionately following these films and am downloading them regularly. As today's film (Jan. 5th) proves once again, Mekas may be one of the last true beat poets that made Downtown Manhattan so famous in the 60s. For me, this man really represents life, living it in a way that we all should aspire to.

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vogler
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#93 Post by vogler » Sat Nov 04, 2006 9:16 am

JLG's neighbor wrote:Tony Conrad told me they spend it on the lab costs and that was it. Jack was able to shoot the film on the roof of a building because he knew the tenant.
As well as doing the soundtrack for Flaming Creatures wasn't it Tony Conrad who played the mummy in Normal Love? I have a lot of respect for Tony Conrad both as a film-maker and as a musician. It seems to me that he deserves far more credit in the field of music known as minimalism (probably more than La Monte Young).

Guest

#94 Post by Guest » Sat Nov 04, 2006 10:44 am

I'm not sure whether Conrad played the mummy in "Normal Love" or not. I'd have to ask him about it. Andy Warhol makes an appearance in that film by the way.

He did the soundtrack for "Flaming Creatures" with Jack in his back. Jack chose the records, said where he wanted them, Conrad did it.

The one thing I wonder about is what happened to the performers from "Flaming Creatures". Neither Conrad nor Jacobs know where Joel Markman, Sheila Bick, Francis Francine and Arnold Rockwood are today. Mario Montez is interviewed in the Mary Jordan documentary "Jack Smith and the Destruction of Atlantis" which I didn't have a chance to see yet.

Jonas Mekas has updated his website with some amazing content! There are a lot of great videos up there and he announced to put up some rare Menken and Anger films on December 9th. I hope the Menken will be GO! GO! GO!

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#95 Post by acquarello » Tue Nov 14, 2006 10:52 am

Robert Todd is releasing a pair of short film anthologies on the 15th (tomorrow) at his site. From the handful that I've seen of his work, his films seem to be part structuralist, part essay film. The composition of his shots, especially of landscape, remind me a little of Rose Lowder (although without the painstaking single frame process).

One DVD is all recent films: Qualities of Stone, Bliss, Interplay, Evergreen, There: An Inverted Gloaming

The other is from his 1990-97 films: Radio Therapy, Shut up, Lost Satellite, Forgotten Time, Family History, Meditations

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vogler
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#96 Post by vogler » Mon Nov 27, 2006 10:06 am

acquarello wrote:Index has released the third Kurt Kren DVD compilation, including Which Way to CA, although their expected release of Martin Arnold's Cineseizure is still up in the air.
The Martin Arnold Cineseizure DVDis now available from Index. Also just released are 'Leo Schatzl - Farrago' and 'Jan Peters - ..but I still haven't figured out the meaning of life'.

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Gregory
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#97 Post by Gregory » Sun Dec 03, 2006 5:06 am

On Dec. 5 Mode will release John Cage's only full-length film, One11, with 103, an orchestral work. More info here. There will also be a screening of this in 35mm at Anthology Film Archives in NYC Jan 20-21.

As long as I'm posting in this thread I'll mention this article from DVDBeaver that summarizes avant-garde films available on DVD. Many of these have already been discussed in this thread (or on previous incarnations of this forum) but it's a good overview for the novice.
One very recent title mentioned in the piece that I also recommend is Tributation 99.

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vogler
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#98 Post by vogler » Sun Dec 03, 2006 9:45 am

Gregory wrote:On Dec. 5 Mode will release John Cage's only full-length film, One11, with 103, an orchestral work. More info here. There will also be a screening of this in 35mm at Anthology Film Archives in NYC Jan 20-21.
Wow - this is incredibly exciting for me since Cage is one of a few artists who have had the biggest impact on me both artistically and philosophically. I have the previous John Cage dvd from Mode 'From Zero' which is absloutely amazing. Gregory, you seem to have a talent for tracking down these awesome music releases - the Harry Partch dvd is fantastic.
Gregory wrote:As long as I'm posting in this thread I'll mention this article from DVDBeaver that summarizes avant-garde films available on DVD. Many of these have already been discussed in this thread (or on previous incarnations of this forum) but it's a good overview for the novice.
I saw this article a short while ago and it is a useful guide. I have most of the dvds listed but there was one I am not familiar with and that is the new Mystic Fire DVD, The Films of Hilary Harris: Four Visionary Short Films. Do you (or anyone else) know anything about Hilary Harris's films? I have not been able to find much information about him but I am always interested in seeing experimental films that I was previously unaware of.

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Gregory
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#99 Post by Gregory » Sun Dec 03, 2006 5:21 pm

I haven't seen the four Harris films but from what I've read about his work I'm intrigued. Nine Variations on a Dance started with a basic set of dance movements (50 seconds in duration) by a female dancer, which were filmed and edited in nine different ways. Harris's main fascination was motion, and in this film the handheld camera moves gracefully with the dancer forcing the viewer to be engaged with her movements rather than a detached spectator.
Hilary Harris wrote:The rhythmic, pulsing, changing progressino of images on the screen of a darkened room can be endowed with all the power and magic or delicacy that one can imagine. Out of our eyes all things move and express themselves in their movement The action of shapes in reality or the abstract can have a wonderful range of depth of communication, from the flick of a cat's tail to the majesty of the earth's rotation. When you begin to think about it every mood, character, animal or place has its kind of movement and, conversely, every movement expresses something.
I'm interested in seeing how the films convey not only the kinesthetic sense but also the experience of movement as a central to human (and indeed all) experience.

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#100 Post by David Ehrenstein » Sun Dec 03, 2006 6:44 pm

If you can score a copy I write about Jack Smith at length in my book Film: The Front Line -- 1984 (Arden Press)

Jack was, as they say, a piece of work.

There are short excerpts from Flaming Creatues in The Cockettes -- as Irving Rosenthal was one of that film's stars.

Andy Warhol appears in drag in Normal Love. He can be glimpsed on a giant cake in a forest glade with chorus girls on top evoking the "No More Love in His Heart For Me" number from Roman Scandals.

Haven't seen the new Jac Smith documentary yet, but I gave the filmmakers a soundbite for it (Andy talking about why he admired Jack so much.)

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