The Day of Reckoning

Date: 2 July 2000 | Season: Miscellaneous

Sunday 2
July 2000, at 6:00pm
London Battersea Arts Centre

The night is long and it is hard.

Louise O’Konoe, 1967, b/w, silent, 6 min

This film documents the slaughtering of reindeer by Norwegian and Swedish Sami (Lapps) on Lake Krutvattnet in Norway, close to the Swedish border. It records some of the steps involved: driving the herd into the enclosure, catching and killing them (with a knife or bolt gun). (Louise O’Konoe)

Georges Franju, 1949, b/w, sound, 20 min

Amidst steaming blood and men wading in excrement, even Vietnam and the concentration camps are not too far away. The killing of animals in Paris slaughterhouses becomes a poetic metaphor of the human condition. When the butcher raises his axe-like tool to stun the animal, the camera stays with him to the bitter end; there is no attempt either to protect or cheat the spectator; we must come to terms with daily slaughter committed in our name. (Amos Vogel)

Peter Kubelka, 1966, colour, sound, 13 min

Peter Kubelka’s savage montage of safari footage was commissioned from him by Austrian tourists. His Unsere Afrikareise documents and subverts the voracious eye. Scraps of folk-song and banal conversation are cut to images of hunted or dead animals, and universal myth (evoked by tourists admiring the moon) is undercut by neo-colonial reality. (A.L. Rees)

Owen Land (formerly known as George Landow), 1967, colour, silent, 20 min

A paraphrasing of certain sections of the Bardo Thodal (Tibetan Book of the Dead). The analogy of the film is between the process and the basic operating procedures of the system of which we are all part, sometimes called ‘creation’; the suggestion is that death is not an end but merely the next stage. (George Landow)

Stan Brakhage, 1971, colour, silent, 32 min
Stan Brakhage, entering with his camera, one of the forbidden, terrific locations of our culture, the autopsy room. It is a place wherein, inversely, life is cherished, for it exists to affirm that none of us may die without our knowing exactly why. All of us, in the person of the coroner, must see that for ourselves, with our own eyes. (Hollis Frampton)

Stan Brakhage, 1960, colour, silent, 11 min

A very sombre and intense visual poem, a black lyric full of an open dramatic energy which puts it well above a formal or rhetoric exercise on Time and Eternity. In the visual form of the monuments of the Pere Lachaise cemetery in Paris, the persistent and impenetrable geometric masonry gets to be less a symbol of death than a death-like sensation. (Donald Sutherland)

Peter Gessner, 1966, black and white, sound, 12 min
A film about the war in Vietnam, compiled from American newsfilm, combat footage shot by the National Liberation Front of South Vietnam and suppressed film taken by Japanese cameramen. Not propaganda but an expression of agony. (Peter Gessner)

Bruce Baillie, 1964, black and white, sound, 24 min

The Mass is traditionally a celebration of Life; thus the contradiction between the form of the Mass and the theme of death. The dedication is to the religious people (the Dakota Sioux) who were destroyed by the civilisation that evolved the Mass. (Bruce Baillie)

Bruce Conner, 1963-67, black and white, sound, 13 min

Society thrives on violence, destruction, and death, no matter how hard we try to hide it with immaculately clean offices, the worship of modern science, or the creation of instant martyrs. From the bullfight arena to the nuclear arena, we clamour for the spectacle of destruction. The crucial link in Report is that JFK was as much a part of the destruction game as anyone else. Losing is a big part of playing games. (David Mosen)

Bruce Conner, 1976, black and white, sound, 36 min

Conner bases his film on government footage of the first underwater A-bomb test, July 25, 1946, at Bikini Atoll in the Pacific. The same explosion is seen from the air, from boats and land based cameras. The opening segment emphasises the awesome grandeur; the destructiveness, as well as the dramatic spectacle and beauty. As repetition builds, the explosion is gradually removed from the realm of historic phenomena, assuming the dimensions of a universal, cosmic force.  (Thomas Albright)

Film programme compiled by Mark Webber. Thank you David Jubb, Ben Cook, Andrew Youdell and David Leister. Le Sang Des Betes is distributed by the British Film Institute. All other films courtesy of Lux Distribution.

Genius and Junkie: Burroughs in Britain

Date: 14 March 2001 | Season: Burroughs in Britain, Miscellaneous

Wednesday 14 March 2001, at 6:30pm
London Tate Britain Clore Auditorium

Cult author Iain Sinclair, film curator Mark Webber and Tim Marlow (BBC broadcaster and editor of tate: the art magazine) come together to revel in and debate the impact of the great American Beat novelist William Burroughs on the underground arts scene in London.

Focusing on the 1960s and 1970s, when Burroughs lived for a number of years in the city, this exciting event will include screenings of two films Burroughs made in collaboration with the British film-maker Antony Balch, The Cut-Ups (1963) and Towers Open Fire (1967).

Antony Balch, Towers Open Fire, 1963, 16mm, b/w, sound, 10 min
Antony Balch, The Cut-Ups, 1967, 16mm, b/w, sound, 19 min


The Somnambulist’s Retreat

Date: 5 May 2001 | Season: Miscellaneous | Tags:

Saturday 5 May 2001, at midnight

Oberhausen Festival Lounge

Peter Hutton, New York Near Sleep For Saskia, 1972, 10 min
Subtle refractions of light bring a heightened perception. We are slowly drifting away.

Steve Dwoskin, Alone, 1964, 13 min
Maybe her finger is only her finger. And no dreams live as she waits in her bed alone.

Willard Maas, Image In The Snow, 1948, 29 min
Spiritual journey through the landscape of a dream leads to a world of violence and disillusionment.

Kenneth Anger, La Lune Des Lapins, 1950-70, 14 min (long version)
The moon is a symbol of the unattainable. A lunar dream of Pierrot and the magic lantern.

Stan Vanderbeek, Newsreel of Dreams 1 & 2, 1963-64, 9 min (2 screen)
Synthetic videographic collage of history as dream events that disappear inside each other.

Paul Winkler, Chants, 1975, 15 min
A cross moves endlessly in the black void: go toward it, reach out to your own higher consciousness.

Jordan Belson, World, 1970, 6 min
Fall deeper into the ultimate meditation. A cosmic abstraction of sound and image. An inner universe.

Plus pre-recorded dream music played by Mark Webber and Gregory Kurcewicz.

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The Joy of Subversion: Blonde Cobra & No President

Date: 13 July 2001 | Season: Miscellaneous | Tags:


Cambridge Arts Picturehouse
Friday 13 July 2001, at 10:30pm

Two underground archetypes, born of a deep disgust with existence, finding rapture in the rubbish dumps. Ken Jacobs and Jack Smith, doyens of the downside, were united by the gloom that saturated their everyday lives. With their shared horror of Technicolor America, they rose from the cesspool to revel in the garbage heap.

Not so much non-narrative as anti-narrative, these films constantly defeat and undermine their own success through their editing and structure. Private and social taboos are cast aside in two manic paeans to hopelessness.

Some people call it independent, experimental, avant-garde, underground, beat, trash, degenerate, incomprehensible, absurdist baloney. Some people don’t understand and some people don’t deserve to understand. Cinema of parody or cinema of paradise? Take these jewelled offerings, these fragments of true FREE CINEMA and run with it. (You might never catch up.)

Ken Jacobs & Bob Fleischner, Blonde Cobra, 1959-63, 33 min
Jack Smith, No President, 1967-70, 50 min

Screening as part of the 21st Cambridge Film Festival.


A Snail’s Trail in the Moonlight: Stan Brakhage 1933-2003

Date: 29 April 2003 | Season: Miscellaneous | Tags:

Tuesday 29 April 2003, at 7pm

London The Other Cinema

Memorial screening and fundraiser organised by LUX and the Other Cinema, London

An evening of screenings and talk to celebrate the life and work of one of the founding fathers of the modern avant-garde film. Over the course of 50 years and 400 plus films he mapped out a highly personal and passionate alternative history of motion pictures which looms large in the history of American post-war modernism. It is impossible to express all aspects of his work in one screening so instead we aim to present a small sample of works that were important to him, by himself and friends, as well as rare interviews and home movies. A celebration of his life and his remarkable creativity.

Stan Brakhage, Songs 4–7, 1966, 8mm, 10 min
Stan Brakhage, The Dante Quartet, 1987, 8 min
Stan Brakhage & Phil Solomon, Concrescence, 1996, 3 min
Stan Brakhage, Yggdrasill: Whose Roots Are Stars In The Human Mind, 1997, 17 min
Marie Menken, Notebook, 1962-63, 10 min
Bruce Baillie, Rolls, 1967-70, 7 min
Mary Beth Reed, Moonstreams, 2000, 10 min
Courtney Hoskins, Gossamer Conglomerates, 2001, 5 min
Stan Brakhage, Mothlight, 1963, 4 min
Ken & Nisi Jacobs, Keeping an Eye on Stan, 2003, 8 min (excerpt)
Pip Chodorov, A Visit to Stan Brakhage, 2003, 15 min
Colin Still, Brakhage on Brakhage, 1996/2002, 9 min
Phil Solomon, Stan Editing “Panels for the Walls of Heaven”, 2003, 7 min (excerpt)

There will also be selections from audiotapes made by Stan Brakhage for his friends and acquaintances, including the poetry of James Thompson BV and music by Charles Ives and Erik Satie. Speakers will include Pip Chodorov and Al Rees.


An Evening with Yvonne Rainer

Date: 30 July 2003 | Season: Miscellaneous

Wednesday 30 July 2003, at 7pm
London Whitechapel Gallery

Yvonne Rainer will introduce a screening of her first feature film Lives of Performers, followed by a discussion between Yvonne Rainer, Berlin-based writer / curator Madeleine Bernstorff and the audience.

Yvonne Rainer, Lives of Performers, USA, 1972, 16mm, b/w, sound, 90 min

Explicating the emotional love triangle between three dancers who, as characters, play themselves, Lives of Performers is at once a melodrama and a sustained documentation of roles played within roles. Simultaneously stylised and asymmetrical, posed and improvised, it beats an episodic path through public and private observation (the dancers in rehearsal, backstage and onstage), love and pain, possibility and impasse, culminating in a series of tableaux that tell the Lulu story. Babette Mangolt’s camerawork echoes Rainer’s choreography, describing emotional intensity through durational experience, challenging narrative conventions and reconstructing expectation as radical experience.

Presented by LUX, Mary Kelly Project and Whitechapel, in association with the London International Summer School.

The Future is Not What it Used to Be

Date: 15 October 2003 | Season: Miscellaneous

15 October—22 November 2003
UK Tour

Three films by Mika Taanila, including his new documentary on the pioneering Finnish electronic music and cybernetic artist Erkki Kurenniemi, who began to build computer instruments in the 1960s. More recently, he has become manically preoccupied with achieving immortality by documenting his every thought and movement. Also screening: Futuro, about the flying-saucer shaped plastic house created by visionary architect Matti Suuronen, and A Physical Ring, a kinetic found-footage film with music by Mika Vainio of Pan Sonic.

Mika Taanila, Futuro: A New Stance for Tomorrow, Finland, 1998, 30 min
Mika Taanila, A Physical Ring, Finland, 2002, 4 min
Mika Taanila, The Future is Not What it Used to Be, Finland, 2002, 52 min

Mika Taanila will introduce the screening and answer audience questions on 16 October. Advance booking is recommended. Presented by LUX in association with The Finnish Institute and The Wire.

Wednesday 15 October 2003 (UK Premiere)
SHEFFIELD International Documentary Film Festival

Thursday 16 October 2003 [repeated Tuesday 28 October 2003]
LONDON The Other Cinema

Saturday 18 October 2003

Sunday 19 October 2003
BRIGHTON Cinematheque

Wednesday 22 October 2003
DUBLIN Electronic Arts Festival

Tuesday 28 October 2003
CANTERBURY Kent Institute of Art & Design

Thursday 6 November 2003

Saturday 22 November 2003

Mika Taanila (born 1965) has studied cultural anthropology at Helsinki University and graduated from Lahti Institute of Design, video department in 1992. Lives and works in Helsinki as free film director and video teacher at Academy of Fine Arts. Producer of new media arts in the Promotion Centre for Audiovisual Culture in Finland. Mika is a member of Team Avanto, organisers of Helsinki’s Avanto Festival of electronic arts and media.


Tribute to Stan Brakhage

Date: 15 November 2003 | Season: Miscellaneous | Tags:

Saturday 15 November 2003, at 2:45pm
Bristol Watershed

A LUX event for Brief Encounters

“Imagine an eye unruled by man-made laws of perspective, an eye unprejudiced by compositional logic, an eye which does not respond to the name of everything but which must know each object encountered in life through an adventure in perception.” —Stan Brakhage, Metaphors on Vision, 1963

Widely regarded as the most original and influential independent filmmaker of his generation, Stan Brakhage was not only a consummate artist, but also a great teacher, a passionate champion of the work of others and a huge fan of mainstream movies. His death in March 2003 brought to an end an abundant flow of imagery that produced over 300 films in five decades. His films were a search for a purity of vision unhindered by conventions of seeing. This fleeting survey of his work, including both photographed and hand-painted films, begins with a portrait of the artist made for French television earlier this year.

The curator of this event, Mark Webber will introduce this screening. Mark Webber is an independent programmer of avant-garde film and video, and is Project Manager at LUX. 

Pip Chodorov, A Visit to Stan Brakhage, France, 2003, 15 min
This short documentary, commissioned by ARTE and shot in January 2003, provides an invaluable introduction to Brakhage’s work and personality.

Stan Brakhage, Autumnal, US, 1993, 5 min
In the 1990s, Brakhage concentrated mainly on hand-crafted films, usually painting directly on the filmstrip to manifest his ‘hypnagogic vision’.

Stan Brakhage, Reflections on Black, US, 1955, 12 min 
During the post-war period of avant-garde psychodrama, Brakhage developed a singular approach. Reflections on Black is the most complex of his early trance films and one of his few works with sound.

Stan Brakhage, Mothlight, US, 1963, 4 min
Moth wings and vegetation were placed between strips of clear plastic to create a sculptural film without a camera. “What a moth might see from birth to death if black were white and white were black.”

Stan Brakhage, Murder Psalm, US, 1981, 17 min 
Uncharacteristically for Brakhage this film is composed mostly of found-footage, which is assembled as comment on the monstrous nature of humanity.

Stan Brakhage, Ephemeral Solidity, US, 1993, 5 min
“One of the most elaborately edited of all the hand-painted films – a Haydnesque complexity of thematic variations on a totally visual (i.e. un-musical) theme.”

Stan Brakhage, Creation, US, 1979, 16 min
A journey to Alaska inspired this allegorical vision of the formation of the Earth and the emergence of life.

Stan Brakhage, Chinese Series, US, 2003, 2 min
Made by scratching with his fingernails into black 35mm film, using spit to soften the emulsion. He continued to work on this film until his death, and gave instruction that it was then to be considered complete.

Spring with Rose Lowder

Date: 14 March 2004 | Season: Miscellaneous

Sunday 14 March 2004, at 2pm
London Tate Britain Clore Auditorium

Rose Lowder will present a selection of her films from the 1970s to the present day. Lowder’s ecological style portrays nature in a unique manner, with each film meticulously constructed by individually composing and exposing every single frame. In projection, condensed clusters of images form a retinal collage of spatial and temporal impressions. This programme mixes early works such as Parcelle (1979) and Les Tournesols (1982) with selections from the ongoing series of Bouquets (1994-present) and other recent films shown for the first time in the UK.

Rose Lowder, Champ Provençale, 1979, colour, silent, 9 min
Rose Lowder, Parcelle, 1979, colour, silent, 3 min
Rose Lowder, Les Tournesols, 1982, colour, silent, 3 min
Rose Lowder, Les Tournesols Colorés, 1983, colour, silent, 3 min
Rose Lowder, Roulement, Rouerie, Aubage, 1978) b/w & colour, silent, 15 min
Rose Lowder, Quiproquo, 1992, colour, sound, 13 min
Rose Lowder, Les Coquelicots, 2000, colour, silent, 3 min (18fps)
Rose Lowder, Bouquets 21-27, 2001-03, colour, silent, 10 min (18fps)

After studying painting and sculpture in artists’ studios and art school in Lima and London, Rose Lowder pursued her artistic practice while working as an editor in the film industry. From 1977 onwards, her research concentrated on the visual aspect of the cinematographic process. A co-founder of Les Archives du film expérimental d’Avignon (AFEA), a film and document collection, Lowder is currently associate professor at the Sorbonne.


David Leister: Nature Boy

Date: 21 March 2004 | Season: Miscellaneous

Sunday 21 March 2004, at 2pm
London Tate Britain Clore Auditorium

A pastoral projection by David Leister, centred around his 16mm found footage hybrid Nature Boy (1990), and films from his extraordinary and eclectic collection. Featuring glimpses through the back gardens of British amateur movie makers, an instructional film on flower arranging, and a Cine Society film with poetic commentary on the passing of the seasons. Plus surprise films and a celebration of Eden Ahbez’ classic song “Nature Boy”, interpreted in many strange and wonderful ways.

Arranging Flowers, date and filmmakers unknown, 12 min
A film made by and/or for a women’s group demonstrating … the arranging of flowers! With commentary and tasteful music. (Kino Club Archives)

Gregory Kurcewicz, The Past is History, Tomorrow is a Mystery, Today is a Gift, That’s Why it’s Called The Present, 2004, 3 min
Blown up from super 8 original, flower arranging of the experimental kind.

Safety First, date and filmmaker unknown, 10 min
An educational film warning of the dangers of stinging plants using time lapse cinematography, with an equally time lapsed commentary. (Kino Club Archives)

Sophie Lascelles, Dig, 2002, 3 min excerpt of continuous loop
Created for the exhibition Diversion at the Museum of Garden History

Sophie Lascelles, Till, 2003, 3 min excerpt of continuous loop
Created for Great Piece of Turf, at Danielle Arnaud Gallery

My Second Love and Garden Girl, anonymous amateur films, date unknown, 6 min
Two clips from amateur filmmakers; the first a close up look at flowers in a backyard garden, and the second being an affectionate portrait of a young woman playing to the camera. (Kino Club Archives)

William English, Displaced, 2000, 15 min
“the more I thought of it later the more it seemed strong as an image of alienation, emptiness and just strangeness, those shots of colour on the surface somehow of those trailers, the gloss of them just being there, and the tents, the kind of mystery and (un-heavy-handed) alienation at the same time without some spurious meanings intercut, they had a necessary time of their own to impart their effect(s)… no anecdotal copouts; the whole thing gained rather than lost afterwards which is always a good sign with films I think” —Peter Gidal, August 2000

David Leister, Nature Boy, 1990, 14 min
Nature Boy is a film about making things grow. Found footage is grafted on to ‘shot to match’ film to produce a successful hybrid of new and old. In this way of ‘recycling’ imagery, Nature Boy is truly an environmentally friendly film. Aleks Kolkowski (violin) and Ian Hill (accordion) specially prepared the original music score from Kino Club sessions. Note: for maximum enjoyment a number 138 green gel should be placed over the lens during projection.

The Changing Scene, anonymous amateur film, early 1960s, 13 min
A rare 16mm amateur sound film with ‘live’ commentary from T. B. Sansom giving his candid and charming observations on the passing of seasons in and around Edinburgh and the north of England in the early 60s. (Kino Club Archives)

“Nature Boy: David Leister” curated by Mark Webber for LUX and Tate Britain. Programme composed by David Leister. Thanks to Ben Cook for the musical interludes.