Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Flaherty on the Road

The International House is exhibiting a series of films from the Flaherty Seminar.

Program 1: The Artist and the Process
Thursday, Feb 02
07:00 PM

The Artist and the Computer (dir. Lillian F Schwartz, US, 1980, video, 11 mins, color)

Pixillation (dir. Lillian F Schwartz, US, 1970, video, 4 mins, color)

UFOs (dir. Lillian F Schwartz, US, 1971, video, 3 mins, color)

From Zero (dir. Frank Scheffer, Netherlands, 2011, video, 60 mins, color)
From Zero incorporates extensive footage of Scheffer’s first interview with American composer, philosopher, and poet John Cage, much of it never before seen. A Cagecollaborator, Scheffer created From Zero expressly for the 2011 Flaherty Film Seminar, completing it on the morning of its premiere.

Program 2: City Symphonies
Friday, Feb 03
07:00 PM

Window Cleaning in Shanghai (dir. Laura Kissel, US, 2010, video, 3 mins, color, Chinese w/English subtitles)
Media artist Laura Kissel describes her subjects simply as “two workers I met, hanging off the edges of my apartment building in Shanghai.” This arresting moment captures places, people, and events that suggested the qualities of everyday life in contemporary Shanghai. A work self-aware of the verité tradition it inhabits, Window Cleaning uses only location sound and defers to long takes. Yet Kissel also has a photographer’s eye for composition, structuring her window on the world in ways that are beautiful, honest, and only occasionally ironic.

Tan Mian Hua (dir. Laura Kissel, US, 2011, video, 15 mins, color, Chinese w/ English subtitles)
While documenting the contemporary textile industry in Shanghai, Kissel found the Zhu family on Chongming Island, who demonstrated the disappearing art of making a quilt with simple tools. Tan mian hua (beating cotton) is the process of assembling this type of handcrafted quilt.

Singapore GaGa (dir. Tan Pin Pin, Singapore, 2005, video, 54 mins, color, English, Mandarin and Arabic w/ English subtitles)
Tan Pin Pin’s work shows a studied devotion to the audio dimension of contemporary life, particularly as experienced in her home city. Official declarations – school songs, patriotic parades – are heard in contrast to marginalized voices: a wheel chaired busker, avant-garde musicians, and the
multilingual polyphony of everyday life.

Program 3: Heart and Soul
Saturday, Feb 04
05:00 PM

Multiple Sidosis (dir. Sid Laverents, US, 1970, video, 10 mins, color)
Sid Laverents, a retired Convair engineer, has long been a legend in the amateur film community. Multiple Sidosis is a kind of latter-day trick film, in which Sid reprises the one-man band act he performed as a traveling Vaudevillian in the ‘20s and ‘30s. This self-reflexive masterpiece features Sid– or rather many, many Sids – hysterically performing the song “Nola,” recorded with his ingenious sound-on-sound looping technique and filmed with the use of his handmade in-camera mattes. – Ross Lipman, Filmmakers

Yard Work Is Hard Work (dir. Jodie Mack, US, 2008, video, 30 mins, color)
What if Caroline and Frank Mouris (Frank Film, 1973) had made a narrative operetta about the difficulties of romance and home ownership in the cell-phone era? A handsome, hyperactive, funny, cut-out animation tour de force, Yard Work is of considerable length for such a labor-intensive form. Accomplished animation technique aside, the music is memorable and delightfully sung (by director Mack and others), with a “libretto” of wit. To go from making dozens of miniatures in this form to producing a film of such depth is a major achievement in the art of animation.

The Florestine Collection (dir. Helen Hill, completed by Paul Gailiunas, US, 2011, video, 30 mins, color)
Animator Helen Hill (1970-2007) was beloved for her enchanting, whimsical movies, her passionate advocacy for her craft, and her radical dedication to making the world better for more people in the experimental cinema and DIY art worlds. Her shocking murder in New Orleans after Katrina was incalculably tragic, but her life and work have since inspired many. Completed posthumously by her husband and creative partner Paul Gailiunas, The Florestine Collection was always conceived as being about the connection between two New Orleans DIY artists. The film tells the story of African American seamstress Florestine Kinchen, and Helen’s discovery of Kinchen’s handmade dresses on a trash pile one Mardi Gras morning.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Los Angeles Plays Itself

The ICA and The International House, with Penn Cinema studies, is hosting an ongoing series examining the use of archival image in moving-image art: Living Document / Naked Reality: Towards an Archival Cinema will present works in video, installation, and traditional “black box” cinema that respond to a particular historical moment and cultural movement through the engagement of archival material.

This Saturday, January 14, at 1pm, they will be screening Thom Andersen's LA Plays Itself (2003, 169 min.), an essay film that juxtaposes Hollywood's depiction of Los Angeles with the city's social and political history.

The will be followed with a roundtable discussion with myself and Timothy Corrigan, from Penn's Cinema Studies' program.

Saturday, January 14
International House (3701 Chestnut St.)
$9 and $7 for Students/Seniors (Free for ICA and International House members)