American Underground Primer: 2

Date: 16 October 1999 | Season: Leeds Film Festival 1999

Saturday 16 October 1999, at 6pm
Leeds The Fruit Cupboard

Scott Bartlett, OffOn, 1968, 9 min
Scott Bartlett was one of the first filmmakers to utilise the newly developed video technology in his work. OffOn evolved in an audio-visual jam session and is a virtuoso display of image and sound processing.

Ian Hugo, Bells of Atlantis, 1952, 10 min
An impressionist cine-poem providing visual accompaniment to “The House of Incest”, which is read by its author Anais Nin. The magical fusion of image, text and sound vividly depicts the sunken city of the subconscious. Produced with technical assistance from Len Lye and an electronic soundtrack by the Barrons.

Jonas Mekas, Award Presentation to Andy Warhol, 1964, 12 min
Mekas, the irrepressible force behind the promotion and preservation of experimental film, is also known for his rapid-fire diary films. Award Presentation to Andy Warhol documents Mekas giving Warhol (and Factory superstars Gerard Malanga, Baby Jane Holzer and Ivy Nicholson) the Film Culture Sixth Independent Film Award. In contrast to his regular shooting style, Mekas, assisted here by Gregory Markopoulos, uses one long take to replicate Warhol’s own techniques.

Hy Hirsh, Autumn Spectrum, 1957, 6 min
The mysterious Hy Hirsh made a handful of freewheeling abstract compositions throughout the 1950s. This film contrasts sumptuous impressions of Amsterdam canals with a soundtrack by the Modern Jazz Quartet.

Owen Land (formerly known as George Landow), The Film that Rises to the Surface of Clarified Butter, 1968, 9 min
One of the forerunners of the structural movement, Land has made several witty and confusing films that question the materials and methods of filmmaking. The Film that Rises to the Surface of Clarified Butter depicts animated figures that have a life of their own but exist in the same space as their creator.

James Whitney, Lapis, 1963-66, 9 min
James Whitney, one of the pioneers of computer animation, presents a constantly evolving mandala image as a highly psychedelic meditation tool.

George Kuchar, Hold Me While I’m Naked, 1966, 15 min
The Kuchar Brothers’ films are no-budget homages to Hollywood, which depict their own mundane lives as glamorous Technicolor dramas. Hold Me While I’m Naked is a hilarious parody of the frustration and loneliness of a Bronx filmmaker who thinks everyone is having a more exciting, sexier time than he.

Larry Jordan, Duo Concertantes, 1964, 9 min
Larry Jordan became known for constructing exquisite animations from surreal Victorian engravings. This procedure generates radical juxtapositions of scale, spatial relationships and the associative qualities of objects. Rococo imagery mixes with space age symbols as a mystical lady with an orbital head moves through the carnival of life.

Tony & Beverly Conrad, Straight and Narrow, 1970, 10 min
After making The Flicker, which consists solely of alternating black and white frames, the composer Tony Conrad collaborated with his wife Beverly on Straight and Narrow. Accompanied by psychotic music from John Cale and Terry Riley, rapidly changing horizontal and vertical lines produce visual hallucinations of colour and complex patterns.

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