Summer is gone and the trees shall be emptying their branches soon enough, but before you start growing your beard long(er) and digging a(nother) root cellar in anticipation of Cold Days To Come, pause and take a look around you. Do you feel that electric charge in the air? Is your arm hair standing on end? That’s the spark of Danger, my friend, and it takes but a tiny falling leaf (on fire) to Set Things Ablaze. We’d say “Take Warning,” but we at Magic Lantern reckon it’s better to throw you directly to the wolves. We’re sure you’ll come out unscathed, and when you emerge from this 7-part celluloid-gauntlet of cut-out eyes, cut-off tongues, industrial safety films, the threat of Communism, horses on fire, skyscraper tilt-walkers, a pinhole apocalypse, and people not having sex, you’ll never have a thing to worry about again. And if you don’t make it? Well, I’m afraid that the same statement applies…
Featuring: I Know What I’m Doing and Other Shop Myths by the University of Illinois at Chicago (5:00, 16mm, 1970), Paranoia Trillogy Part One: The Chemical Bath by Xander Marro (6:00, 16mm, 2001), Dream of the Wild Horses by Denys Colomb de Daunant (9:00, 16mm, 1960), NOEMA by Scott Stark (11:00, 16mm, 1998), Spills and Chills by the Vitaphone Corporation (10:00, 16mm, 1949), Seventy-Nine Spring Times of Ho Chi Minh by Santiago Alvarez (25:00, 16mm, 1969), T,O,U,C,H,I,N,G by Paul Sharits (12:00, 16mm, 1968), Last Days by Ben Russell (5:00, 16mm, 2004)
I Know What I’m Doing and Other Shop Myths by the University of Illinois at Chicago (5:00, 16mm, 1970) Rejecting the condescending tone and heavy-handed presentation of traditional didactic works, this fast-paced, witty satire on carelessness in the shop presents a unique departure in safety films. Drawing upon the tradition of black humor, the film presents a barrage of typical shop accidents.
Paranoia Trilogy Part One: The Chemical Bath by Xander Marro (6:00, 16mm, 2001) Ghost eyes roll back from a negative green version of the Afterworld, echoing out the high hymns of magtape angels over a reel-to-reel mash-up of the Shirelles and the Suicidal Tendencies. Made as part of the 24-Hour Moviemaking Experiment at the Dirt Palace in Providence, RI.
Dream of the Wild Horses by Denys Colomb de Daunant (9:00, 16mm, 1960) Cinematic poem using slow-motion and soft-focus camera to evoke the feelings of the wild horses of the Camargue roaming on the beach and in the water, a mixture of hallucination and reality as the animals try to escape a fire surrounding them.
NOEMA by Scott Stark (11:00, 16mm, 1998) “A Decameron-like tournament of missing links and coitus interruptus form a daisy chain of synchronized decouplings – porno unplugged.” – Mark McElhatten & Gavin Smith, New York Film Festival
“In just under 10 minutes, Scott Stark finds in the busy-ness of the naked, often disembodied shapes of bodies a rhythm and finally a grace…. NOEMA reins the indifferent work of sex and whips it with an aestheticism not far from Maya Deren’s Study in Choreography for Camera.” – Edward E. Crouse, The San Francisco Bay Guardian
Spills and Chills by the Vitaphone Corporation (10:00, 16mm, 1949) Absolutely fabulous thriller film will all manner of daredevils – wing walkers, skyscraper stilt-walkers. Featuring a 7-year old girl who earns her carnival keep by riding on top of hot air balloons…
Seventy-Nine Springtimes of Ho Chi Minh by Santiago Alvarez (25:00, 16mm, 1969) Interweaving still photos and newsreel footage and making expressive use of split-screen and freeze frame techniques, Alvarez crafts a lyrical tribute to Ho Chi Minh, the leader of Vietnam’s independence movement. The film’s title refers to Ho’s age at the time of his death. Accompanied by a HEAVY cuban psychedelic rock soundtrack featuring the music of Adelberto Galvez.
T,O,U,C,H,I,N,G by Paul Sharits (12:00, 16mm, 1968) Dedicated to and starring poet David Franks, whose voice also appears on the soundtrack. Pure colour and a few still images alternate in a wide variety of permutations. The spectator thus experiences the film as a constant and often aggressive flickering, which varies rhythmically and operates at the limits of perception. The coloured fields flatten the screen surface and light tends to be felt concretely in the cinema space itself, with the screen boundary pulsating and shifting with after-images.
“Merges violence with purity.” — P. Adams Sitney
“Surrealist tour-de-force.” — Parker Tyler
On “10 Best Films of 1969” lists of Soren Agenoux and Jonas Mekas.
Last Days by Ben Russell (5:00, 16mm, B/W, 2004) The Valley of Fire. Oficina Chacabuco. The Calumet Industrial Corridor. From the outskirts of Vegas to the desert ghost towns of Chile – a pinhole travelogue for the world’s end, for what was left behind.