London Film Festival 2006

Date: 28 October 2006 | Season: London Film Festival 2006 | Tags:

Saturday 28 – Monday 30 October 2006

London National Film Theatre

The Times BFI London Film Festival presents its fourth annual Experimenta Avant-Garde Weekend, featuring a concentrated, international programme of artists’ film and video. This is a unique opportunity to survey some of the most original and vital work by international artists, presenting a diversity of observations, personal statements and technical innovation. We anticipate that many film-makers will be in attendance to introduce and discuss their work.

In this anniversary year, we will celebrate the work of Jack Smith and special guest Kenneth Anger, both influential pioneers distinguished for their creative vision and lack of compromise. Four curated programmes of recent film and videos present the most innovative international work. Taking ‘old media’ outside the architecture of the cinema, Luis Recoder and Sandra Gibson will perform a live multi-projection work at the ICA to close the weekend on Monday evening.

Other festival highlights include folk art films made by Phil Chambliss in the Arkansas outback, plus screenings of recently restored prints of Alejandro Jodorowsky’s Holy Mountain and Vittorio de Seta’s glorious documentary shorts.

Games People Play

Date: 28 October 2006 | Season: London Film Festival 2006 | Tags:

Saturday 28 October 2006, at 2pm
London National Film Theatre NFT3

Miranda Pennell, You Made Me Love You, UK, 2005, 4 min
‘Twenty-one dancers are held by your gaze. Losing contact can be traumatic.’

Shannon Plumb, Olympics 2005 Track and Field, USA, 2005, 18 min
From the opening ceremony to awarding the medals, Plumb plays all the characters in this burlesque of the trials and triumphs of the summer games. Rooted in silent comedy, its homespun style references equal parts Keaton and Riefenstahl, and is the vehicle for a series of witty observations.

Victor Alimpiev, Sweet Nightingale, Russia, 2005, 7 min
In a theatre, a crowd perform a series of choreographed gestures facing the stage. Left unexplained, this mysterious ceremony appears more symbolic than absurd.

Judith Hopf, Nayascha Sadr Haghighian & Florian Zeyfang, Proprio Aperto, Germany, 2005, 6 min
An off-season stroll through the temporary ruins of the Giardini, home of the national pavilions at the Venice Biennale.

Phil Solomon & Mark Lapore, Untitled (for David Gatten), USA, 2005, 5 min
Made as a ‘get well card’ for a friend, this uncharacteristic work invokes a sense of absence, and ultimately loss.

Pablo Marin, Blocking, Argentina, 2005, 3 min
By contravening archival guidelines on water damage, the original image is erased from a ‘mistreated’ filmstrip, to be replaced by an organic explosion of colour.

Matthias Müller & Christophe Girardet, Kristall, Germany, 2006, 15 min
Shards of emotions from Hollywood melodrama are combined in a Chinese box of reflection and refraction. Kristall is a cinematic hall of mirrors, which ruptures and multiplies the anxieties of narcissistic, star-crossed lovers.

Angela Reginato, Contemplando la ciudad, USA, 2005, 4 min
‘Perfectly without affect, a girl sings along with a pop tune, transporting herself through space and time to Mexico City circa 1978.’


Distance and Displacement

Date: 28 October 2006 | Season: London Film Festival 2006 | Tags:

Saturday 28 October 2006, at 4pm
London National Film Theatre NFT3

Ken Jacobs, Let There Be Whistleblowers, USA, 2005, 18 min
Advancing the techniques of his ‘Nervous System’ performances (seen here in 2000), Jacobs now treats archival film footage with electronic means, shifting his exploration of visual space into the digital domain. All aboard the mystery train for a journey from actuality to abstraction. Steve Reich’s ‘Drumming’ provides added momentum.

Brett Kashmere, Unfinished Passages, Canada, 2005, 17 min
Archival images and a contraflow of texts trace the migration of the artists’ grandfather from London to Saskatchewan. ‘Using the shadow play of light and darkness as a metaphor for human memory Unfinished Passages reframes his forced immigration/orphan experience through the developing lens of the cinema.’

Ben Rivers, This is My Land, UK, 2006, 8 min
A portrait of Jake Williams, who lives a hermetic lifestyle in a remote house in the woods of Aberdeenshire. Folk film for the new millennium.

Bill Brown, The Other Side, USA, 2006, 43 min
In this rich and revealing essay film, Brown shares his experiences of travelling from Texas to California, recounting a history of the landscape, its inhabitants and those that pass through. The border between Mexico and the USA is crossed by thousands of undocumented persons each year, and hundreds do not survive the journey through the desert to the other side. Incorporating a personal voiceover and interviews with migrant activists, this visually striking film examines the border as a site of aspiration and insecurity.


Jack Smith and the Destruction of Atlantis

Date: 28 October 2006 | Season: London Film Festival 2006 | Tags:

Saturday 28 October 2006, at 9pm
London National Film Theatre NFT3

‘The only person I would ever copy. He makes the best movies.’ (Andy Warhol)

Mary Jordan, Jack Smith & The Destruction of Atlantis, USA, 2006, 96 min
Diving headlong into the exotic world of Jack Smith, this is a ravishing celebration of a seminal figure of contemporary art, experimental theatre, fashion, film and photography. A devotee of ‘moldy glamour’, Smith was shooting fanciful tableau vivants in 1957, later naming his ensemble the ‘Superstars of Cinemaroc’ way before Warhol had a Silver Factory. His ethereal masterpiece Flaming Creatures is an epic fantasy, featuring blonde vampires and bohemians cavorting amid a tangle of naked bodies. Fêted by Fellini, but denounced by Playboy for ‘defiling at once both sex and cinema’, the film was became a totem in the battle against censorship. Dismayed and resentful, Smith reacted to this unwanted attention by never completing another film. To become a product was to be embalmed. Returning to the ephemeral medium of performance, he appeared amongst piles of meticulously arranged garbage with Yolanda, a toy penguin with jewel-encrusted brassiere. Utterly opposed to the concept of rented accommodation, Smith railed against ‘landlordism’, transforming his dilapidated apartment into an homage to Babylonian architecture. This documentary opens up Ali Baba’s cave, mixing commentary from friends and enemies with the glistening treasures of Smith’s own creation. An abundance of rare photographs, footage and audio bear testament to his uniquely baroque vision.

Also Screening: Thursday 26 October 2006, at 1:15pm, London NFT2


Within You, Without You

Date: 29 October 2006 | Season: London Film Festival 2006 | Tags:

Sunday 29 October 2006, at 2pm
London National Film Theatre NFT3

Nathaniel Dorsky, Song And Solitude, USA, 2006, 21 min
As a guest of the Festival in 2004, Nathaniel Dorsky gave an inspirational lecture-screening on ‘Devotional Cinema’. His new film is a sombre work, which further refines his vision of an intimate, poetic cinema that creates a space for personal reflection. ‘Its balance is more toward an expression of inner landscape, or what it feels like to be, rather than an exploration of the external visual world as such.’

Grant Wiedenfeld, Muriel’s Song, USA, 2006, 3 min
‘A hand-painted, hand-processed film only bent thru the lens of the projector and your pearly-crowned pair. Never before have light and shadow sung so well without a camera.’

Nick Collins, Across The Valley, UK, 2006, 20 min
Across The Valley is a beautifully photographed response to the landscape and environment of the Cévennes Mountains in Southern France. Employing time-lapse and other techniques, the film charts variations in the distant and immediate surroundings over a range of seasons.

Mark Lapore, Kolkata, USA, 2005, 35 min
This luminous study of North Calcutta is one of the last completed films by the American film-maker who died last year. It combines personal and ethnographic elements in an experimental documentary that looks at, and into, another culture with empathy and fascination. ‘This film searches the streets for the ebb and flow of humanity and reflects the changing landscape of a city at once medieval and modern.’


Kenneth Anger 35mm Preservations

Date: 29 October 2006 | Season: London Film Festival 2006 | Tags:

Sunday 29 October 2006, at 4pm
London National Film Theatre NFT1

            ‘Kenneth Anger is a unique film-maker, an artist of exceptional talent.” (Martin Scorsese)

Kenneth Anger’s iconic films are an extraordinary demonstration of the transformative power of cinema. With support from The Film Foundation, the UCLA Film Archive has recently made glorious new 35mm prints of four of Anger’s works. This special screening offers aficionados and the uninitiated an opportunity to see these landmark films as they have never been seen before. We are delighted to welcome Kenneth Anger to the Festival to present this screening.

Kenneth Anger, Fireworks, USA 1947, 15 min
The rarely seen original version, featuring a spoken prologue by the film-maker.
‘A dissatisfied dreamer awakes, goes out in the night seeking a ‘light’ and is drawn through the needle’s eye. A dream of a dream, he returns to a bed less empty than before.’

Kenneth Anger, La Lune Des Lapins, USA-France 1950-71, 16 min
The only Anger film shot on 35mm has never been printed on that format until now. This is the longer edit from 1971, synchronized to haunting doo-wop ballads.
‘A fable of the unattainable (the Moon) combining elements of Commedia dell’Arte with Japanese myth. A lunar dream utilizing the classic pantomime figure of Pierrot in an encounter with a prankish, enchanted Magick Lantern.’

Kenneth Anger, Scorpio Rising, USA 1963, 29 min
Immensely influential for its use of pop music, Anger’s ironic critique of motorcycle gangs invokes Scorpio, the sign that rules machines, sex and death.
‘A ‘death mirror held up to American culture’ – Brando, bikes and black leather; Christ, chains and cocaine. A ‘high’ view of the myth of the American motorcyclist. The machine as totem from toy to terror. Thanatos in chrome and black leather and bursting jeans.’

Kenneth Anger, Kustom Kar Kommandos, USA 1965, 4 min
A slow and sensuous study of the hot rod craze.
‘To the soundtrack of ‘Dream Lover’ a young man strokes his customized car with a powder puff.’


Anger Me

Date: 29 October 2006 | Season: London Film Festival 2006 | Tags:

Sunday 29 October 2006, at 7pm
London National Film Theatre NFT3

Elio Gelmini, Anger Me, Canada, 2006, 72 min
A portrait of Kenneth Anger, legendary pioneer of independent film-making. Raised in Hollywood, a spell as the Changeling Prince in A Midsummer Night’s Dream (1935) provided his first taste of the fantasy world of the movies. The nine films Anger made between 1947 and 1980 are shown together as the ‘Magick Lantern Cycle’, emphasising his belief in cinema as magical weapon. An authority on Aleister Crowley, his dazzling montage invokes myth and ritual, exploring taboo subjects and popular culture with a complex iconography. From the homoerotic fantasy Fireworks to the transcendental Lucifer Rising, his influence reaches beyond the avant-garde and into the mainstream, touching the work of Jarman, Lynch, Scorsese and countless others. Anger’s fascination with film history, memorabilia and scandal eventually led to the bestseller Hollywood Babylon, a dark exposé of Tinseltown’s seamy side. He inadvertently invented the music video with Scorpio Rising, and his acquaintances ranged from Anaïs Nin and Alfred Kinsey to the Rolling Stones. Anger Me takes the form of an extended monologue, in which this visionary artist talks at length about his extraordinary life and remarkable body of work.

Also Screening: Friday 27 October 2006, at 1:45pm, London NFT2


Shine On

Date: 29 October 2006 | Season: London Film Festival 2006 | Tags:

Sunday 29 October 2006, at 9pm
London National Film Theatre NFT3

Luther Price, Same Day Nice Biscotts, USA, 2005, 6 min
A bleak but touching incantation composed from 13 identical prints of an early 70s documentary on elderly Afro-Americans. Time has taken its toll on the raw material too: now faded and worn, it is steeped in pathos.

Ken Jacobs, Krypton is Doomed, USA, 2005, 34 min
The original Superman radio play from 1940 accompanies the mind-bending ‘Nervous Magic Lantern,’ a filmless projection system that twists light into a perpetually throbbing mass of impossible depth. Presented by the film-maker as a metaphor for the onset of WWII, the apocalyptic narrative could be read as allegory for the present, a world of instability with the potential of environmental collapse.

Courtney Hoskins, The Counter Girl Trilogy, USA, 2006, 6 min
In an inventive response to the cosmetics industry, Hoskins has created imagery from some unusual materials discovered while working as a sales assistant on a make-up counter.

Dietmar Brehm, Blah Blah Blah, Austria, 2006, 13 min
Hotwiring history, the film-maker excavates his image bank of 16mm footage to reveal an archaeology of clandestine pursuits that hovers between ennui and agitation. Brehm’s week beats your year.

Barbara Sternberg, Surfacing, Canada, 2005, 10 min
An exodus of ghostly footsteps pass through the frame beneath layers of scratched emulsion, suggesting the transience of being and a state of emergence beyond the everyday.

Michael Robinson, And We All Shine On, USA, 2006, 7 min
‘An ill wind is transmitting through the lonely night, its signals spreading myth and deception along its murky path. Conjuring a vision of a post-apocalyptic paradise, this unworldly broadcast reveals its hidden demons via layered landscapes and karaoke, singing the dangers of mediated spirituality.’


Luis Recoder + Sandra Gibson

Date: 30 October 2006 | Season: London Film Festival 2006 | Tags:

Monday 30 October 2006, at 7:30pm
London ICA Theatre

Luis Recoder & Sandra Gibson, Untitled, USA, 2006, variable duration
New York artists Luis Recoder + Sandra Gibson create innovative and engaging light works in which they interact with and manipulate the projected image. Though their work is grounded in cinema, it goes beyond an understanding of what film is, taking into consideration the architecture and conditions of the performing / viewing situation and the physical and emotional presence of light itself. From the inventive ways that they create images on the film strip to the use of multiple projection in live performance, Recoder + Gibson are two of the most vital young artists active in the field of ‘expanded cinema’. Rarely seen in the UK, their work has been featured in the Whitney Biennial and many major festivals. This untitled piece was developed in collaboration with experimental musician Daniel Menche and first presented at ‘Kill Your Timid Notion’ in Dundee earlier this year. The performance uses multiple 16mm projectors and an ingenious method of refracting and transforming the beams of light. As the work unfolds, Recoder + Gibson subtly manipulate the projectors, creating a constantly changing and hypnotic sequence of abstract imagery reminiscent of Rothko and colour field painting.

Please Note: Arrive Early ! This piece will be running as an installation from 19.00 and will shift into the live performance sometime after 19.30. The performance will be between 60-90 minutes long.


London Film Festival Experimenta Tour 2007

Date: 1 April 2007 | Season: London Film Festival 2006 | Tags:

April–June 2007
UK touring programme

An essential part of The Times BFI London Film Festival each year, Experimenta is the place to discover innovative and challenging cinema. It explores a wide range of personal expression through the work of international film and video makers, from unconventional narrative features to contemporary artists’ moving image. The 2007 edition of the annual Experimenta Tour presents some of the highlights from last year’s programme.

The Festival’s 50th anniversary was an appropriate moment to celebrate the work of Kenneth Anger, one of the most distinctive and distinguished artists in the history of cinema, who made his first film, Fireworks, as early as 1947. For the touring programme, Anger’s recent video Mouse Heaven joins four of his classic films in “Cinema as Magick Weapon,” a selection that spans six decades of extraordinary and uncompromising creativity. In the documentary portrait Anger Me, the aker tells his own story, enhancing an already legendary mythology with anecdotes on his life and work.

With a theme of adolescent longing and sexual awakening reminiscent of Anger’s debut, Wild Tigers I Have Known is the first feature by director Cam Archer. This highly stylised film charts the coming of age of a young gay teenager in a haze of colourful reverie, replete with dreamy visuals and atmospheric music.

“Travelling Light”, a programme of 16mm films in which three artists respond to diverse locations, demonstrates that the film medium is not yet defunct, despite widespread migration towards digital and new media. Nick Collins documents a lush valley in the South of France, whilst Ben Rivers ventures to the Scottish Highlands. Bill Brown traces the border between the USA and Mexico, often fixing his camera on the vast expanse of desert. The landscape is infused with political tension, a subject addressed by the undocumented immigrants and border activists that are heard on the soundtrack of this illuminating essay film.

Ello Gelmini, Anger Me, Canada, 2006, 72 min

Kenneth Anger, Fireworks, USA, 1947, 15 min
Kenneth Anger, Rabbit’s Moon, USA-France, 1950-79, 7 min
Kenneth Anger, Scorpio Rising, USA, 1963, 29 min
Kenneth Anger, Mouse Heaven, USA, 2005, 10 min

Cam Archer, Wild Tigers I Have Known, USA, 2005, 81 min

Nick Collins, Across The Valley, UK, 2006, 20 min
Ben Rivers, This is My Land, UK, 2006, 8 min
Bill Brown, The Other Side, USA, 2006, 43 min

Selections from these programmes screened at Edinburgh Filmhouse, Glasgow Film Theatre, Manchester Cornerhouse, and London ICA.