Here are Some Pictures, What is Happening? Christopher Maclaine & The San Francisco Underground

Date: 30 September 2003 | Season: Christopher Maclaine

30 September—7 October 2003
London The Other Cinema

The ‘beat generation’ were born in the depression, raised during World War II and matured in the ominous shadow of the Atomic bomb. Their spontaneous, creative reaction against the mainstream was a primitive howl for freedom. Beaten and downtrodden, beatific and elevated, rhythmic and vital like the beat of the drum.

Christopher Maclaine was active in the early hipster scene of San Francisco’s North Beach in the 1940s-1950s, one of the authentic characters at the very emergence of the beat movement. He contributed poetry and prose to small periodicals with his contemporaries Michael McClure, Robert Duncan, Kenneth Patchen and Philip Lamantia, and read at late night rap sessions in coffee bars and jazz clubs. His introduction to avant-garde world came through exposure to the important “Art in Cinema” series at San Francisco Museum of Art, and personal connections with pioneer filmmakers Jordan Belson, Stan Brakhage, Larry Jordan and Harry Smith.

He was often completely broke, unable to keep jobs, and constantly relying on the generosity of others, whose patience he tested. Maclaine was a heavy user of amphetamines, which ultimately rendered him debilitated, resulting in his internment in hospital and early death. From the late 50s he was addicted to methadrine, and in 1963 he attempted suicide, resulting in a three-month stay in the psychiatric ward of SF General Hospital. He died in 1975, having spent his last six years in a completely incapacitated state in a convalescent home.

And now, for the first time in Europe, LUX proudly present these newly restored prints of the complete films of Christopher MacLaine, including his 1953 masterpiece The End. These two screenings at The OTHER Cinema are a unique opportunity to discover a long forgotten visionary filmmaker, together with other documents and masterpieces from the San Francisco beatnik underground, including films by Kenneth Anger and Stan Brakhage.


The Films of Christopher Maclaine

Date: 30 September 2003 | Season: Christopher Maclaine

Tuesday 30 September 2003, at 7pm
London The Other Cinema

Jazz, dope and rebellion – four films from the hipster subculture of San Francisco, all made by obscure and elusive poet Christopher Maclaine. His masterpiece The End (1953), salvaged in the 60s by Stan Brakhage and revered by many since, is a remarkably apocalyptic post-war saga of impending doom: the last day on earth for six of ‘our friends’ living in the shadow of the A-bomb. These new prints of Maclaine’s complete films also feature alchemical incantation (The Man Who Invented Gold), existential despondence (Beat) and highland flings (Scotch Hop).

Christopher Maclaine, The End, 1953, colour, sound, 35 min
Christopher Maclaine, Beat, 1958, colour, sound, 6 min
Christopher Maclaine, The Man Who Invented Gold, 1957, colour, sound, 14 min
Christopher Maclaine, Scotch Hop, 1959, colour, sound, 6 min


To Re-Edit the World

Date: 7 October 2003 | Season: Christopher Maclaine

Tuesday 7 October 2003, at 7pm
London The Other Cinema

A chance encounter with Loreon Vigné, at the Temple of Isis in California, started David Sherman on a mysterious journey through the outer reaches of 50s & 60s bohemia. Loreon’s memories, and the films of her deceased husband Dion, told of their orbit around an artistic circle that included Kenneth Anger, Jordan Belson, Christopher Maclaine and the Whitney Brothers, and intersections with the occult (Bobby Beausoleil, Anton LaVey). This loose video documentary includes evocative footage and audio recordings of the era. Screening with classic films of that period, including Kenneth Anger’s Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome, Stan Brakhage’s Desistfilm and Moods in Motion, a newly discovered abstract film with soundtrack by Christopher Maclaine.

David Sherman, To Re-Edit the World, 2003, colour, sound, 32 min
Ettillie Wallace, Moods in Motion, c.1950s, colour, sound, 5 min
Stan Brakhage, Desistfilm, 1954, b/w, sound, 7 min
Kenneth Anger, Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome, 1954/66, colour, sound, 38 min