(Photo by Phil Solomon)
“Mark LaPore was an experimental ethnographic filmmaker who made several films in the Sudan, India and Sri Lanka, as well as various parts of the U.S. over a period of nearly thirty years. A dedicated iconoclast and personal artist, LaPore strove to document and portray the cultures with which he connected in ways that were true to his experiences as a traveler as well as being honest reflections of people and scenes that he was witnessing. LaPore worked against conventions of ethnographic narrative, using cinema at its most fundamental level as an objective tool that could also be harnessed for personal response and expression. He was also an influential teacher at the Massachusetts College of Art, and many of his students have gone on to become significant filmmakers in their own right. LaPore’s tragic and premature death on October 11, 2005, robbed American independent cinema of one of its most original and dedicated talents.” (Steve Anker)
Netezza Urbana: N.U. by Michelangelo Antonioni
9min / 16mm / sound / 1948
Antonioni’s second film, an essay on Roman Street sweepers, much of it photographed at dawn and dusk, using the visual methods that appear in his later feature films. From the narration: Apparently we don’t care who these sweepers are or how they live, these quiet and humble workers who no one deems worthy of a word or even a stare. Street sweepers are a apart of the city to the same degree as inanimate objects. And yet, no one more than they takes part in the life of the city — Robert A. Haller
Crossroad by Phil Solomon (with Mark LaPore)
5min / digital video / sound / 2005
Prelude to In Memoriam, Mark LaPore, a series of videos made from the imagery from the video game Grand Theft Auto. “Mark and I made this film for our friend David Gatten, as a prayer, an offering, a “get well soon” card… for all three of us. It was made on the last night that I saw Mark, my best friend of 32 years.”– Phil Solomon
The Sleepers by Mark LaPore
16min / 16mm / sound / 1989
Memory, as well as the residue of information in text and film from Sudan, led me to make THE SLEEPERS in order to resolve the impression that the third world is present in the first world as an idea and a condition. THE SLEEPERS is a film about how notions of culture are often defined by information received indirectly – information that frequently violates the particulars of people and place and makes questionable one’s ability to portray specific individuals as representatives of culture. THE SLEEPERS concludes with a description of an African girl cleaning up after a meal being read over the image of a red storefront in New York’s Chinatown. Time and space contradict, then collapse to suggest a new third world city; a city of the imagination, where rural Sudan, China and Manhattan exist simultaneously.
A Depression in the Bay of Bengal by Mark LaPore
28min / 16mm / sound / 1996
A DEPRESSION IN THE BAY OF BENGAL is a 28-minute color film shot while on a Fulbright Scholars Fellowship to Sri Lanka in 1993-1994. I went to Sri Lanka with the idea that I would remake Basil Wright’s and John Grierson’s 1934 documentary Song of Ceylon. After spending three months there I realized just how impossible that would be. Wright’s film was formally innovative and visually brilliant but his experience was not to be revisited. Each of the places he filmed still exist, but thirteen years of ethnic war have colored the way in which those places can be portrayed. I have made a film about travelling and living in a distant place which looks at aspects of daily life and where the war shadows the quotidian with a dark and rumbling step.
This film is both diaristic and metaphorical, both on account of my observations of everyday life as well as an indirect record of the war and of the tense atmosphere which permeates life there. The overwhelming sensation in the film is that of both physical and metaphorical distance: the distance between the traveler and Sri Lankans, the miles traveled as indicated by the persistent sound of trains, the distance between the camera and the subject, time as distance as evoked both by the historical footage and the notion of trains as a nineteenth century mode of transport, and by the black leader at the close of the film over which an article about an explosion in Sri Lanka is read. Past experience, whether local or far away, exists only in the mind and for the duration of the last three minutes of the film, mental images are the ones that play on the screen.
The Glass System by Mark LaPore
20min / 16mm / sound / 2000
THE GLASS SYSTEM, made from images shot in New York and Calcutta, looks at life as it is played out in the streets. Every corner turned reveals activities both simple and unfamiliar: a knife sharpener on a bicycle; a tiny tightrope walker; a man selling watches in front of a department store on Fifth Avenue; a hauntingly slow portrait of the darting eyes of schoolgirls on their way home; the uncompleted activities of a young contortionist. The sound in the film (which is from a Bengali primer written by British missionaries) is a meditation on how the English language teaches ideas about culture which are often incongruous. The disjunction between what you hear and what you see evokes reflections about the impact of globalization and the hegemony of Western-style capitalism.
Sponsored by The Texas Parents Association
Coming up…April 24th, 3 films by Mark Lapore
“[LaPore’s films] should be seen by anyone who cares about the cinema… Their courage matches their beauty and their growing despair.” -Tom Gunning
Nathaniel Dorsky, born in New York City in 1943, is an experimental filmmaker and film editor who has been making films since 1963. He has resided in San Francisco since 1971.
“In film, there are two ways of including human beings. One is depicting human beings. Another is to create a film form which, in itself, has all the qualities of being human: tenderness, observation, fear, relaxation, the sense of stepping into the world and pulling back, expansion, contraction, changing, softening, tenderness of heart. The first is a form of theater and the latter is a form of poetry.” – Nathaniel Dorsky
18.5min / 16mm / silent / 2009
Compline is a night devotion or prayer, the last of the canonical hours, the final act in a cycle. This film is also the last film I will be able to shoot in Kodachrome, a film stock I have shot since I was 10 years old. It is a loving duet with and a fond farewell to this noble emulsion. (ND)
16.5min / 16mm / silent / 2010
A pastourelle and an aubade are two different forms of courtship songs from the Troubadour tradition. In this case, the film Pastourelle, a sister film to Aubade, is in the more tumultuous key of spring. (ND)
August and After
18.5min / 16mm / silent / 2012
After a lifetime, two mutual friends, George Kuchar and Carla Liss, passed away during the same period of time. (ND)
26min / 16mm / silent / 2012
Following a period of trauma and grief, the world around me once again declared itself in the form of one of the loveliest springs I can ever remember in San Francisco. April is intended as a companion piece for August and After, and is partly funded by a gift from Carla Liss. (ND)
Wednesday, April 10th.
Studio 4D, CMB, UT Campus.
Wednesday, 03/27 — Exploding the Lumiere Brothers: Experimental Variations on the First Film Ever Made
La Sortie des usines Lumière à Lyon by Auguste and Louis Lumiere
46sec / 16mm / silent / 1895
Workers Leaving the Factory by Harun Farocki
36min / digital video / sound / 1995
Astor Place by Eve Heller
10min / 16mm / silent / 1997
Workers Leaving the Factory (Dubai) by Ben Russell
8min / 16mm / silent / 2008
Workers Leaving the Factory – 10 Days That Shook the World by Les Leveque
13min / digital video / sound / 2011
Workers Leaving the Googleplex
11min / digital video / sound / 2010
Plus an assortment of early Lumiere Brothers films and more to be announced!
House Show this Friday, 03/22. All solo performers. Takes place at The Mad Stork’s Palace: 702 West 21st Street. White house with blue trim, enter from the back.
Featuring: Jonathan Horne, Colby Nathan (ME), Amy Annelle, and Ralph White!
Please join us this Wednesday for film documents about time travel,nostalgia, tourism, and development.
Films: The Great Northwest (2012, 70 min., dir. Matt McCormick)
The Past is a Foreign Country (2009, 45 min, dir. Dan Stuyck)
Don’t You Bring me Down Today (2004, 3 min., dir. Keith Wilson).
Location: Studio 4D, CMB, UT Campus. (Dean Keaton and Guadalupe)
The Great Northwest - Matt McCormick
The Great Northwest is an experimental documentary based on the re-creation of a 3,200 mile road-trip made in 1958 by four Seattle women who thoroughly documented their journey in an elaborate scrapbook of photos, postcards, and brochures. Fifty years later, Portland artist and filmmaker Matt McCormick found that scrapbook in a thrift store, and in 2010 set out on the road, following their route as precisely as possible and searching out every stop in which the ladies had documented. Patiently shot with an observational and voyeuristic approach, The Great Northwest is a lyrical time-capsule that explores how the landscape, architecture, and culture of the Pacific Northwest has changed over the past 50 years.
The Past Is a Foreign Country - Dan Stuyck
In April 1989, a body floats down the Colorado River with a bullet
wound in the back of its head. That body is John H. Jenkins, rare book
and historical document dealer. He had been at the epicenter of one of
the largest document-forgery scandals in Texas history and his death
(legally ruled suicide) is the start of a journey deep upriver into
that exotic kingdom known as the past. THE PAST IS A FOREIGN COUNTRY is an essay about forged historical documents, murder and scenic time travel (not necessarily in that order).
“An intriguing mystery that plays with a history. A documentary that
takes a case and explores it through strange characters and dynamic
structure.” — David Gordon Green
Don’t You Bring Me Down Today - Keith Wilson
When this video was made back in 2004, the American suburbs were expanding as quickly as the popularity of pop star Christina Aguillera. DON’T YOU BRING ME DOWN TODAY is a 4 minute color video about isolation, swimming trunks, and diva-hood.
We will be screening Matt McCormick’s The Great Northwest this Wednesday at 9:00pm along with two other films, Dan Stuyck’s essayistic The Past is a Foreign Country and Keith Wilson’s short “music video,” Don’t You Bring Me Down.
The screening is free, open to the public, and will be in Studio 4D, CMB, UTexas at Austin Campus.
More info to come!