Bang! Bang! B-b-b-b-bang! In honor of the New Year, Magic Lantern raises its celluloid pistol towards the sky and fires it repeatedly into the air! Boom! Pop! Popopop! With all the excitement of a fireworks finale, Magic Lantern sets off cinematic explosion after cinematic explosion to deafen your eyes and blind your ears! Welcome 2006, this is the GUN SHOW! So grab your Laser Tag, your Paintball gun, and maybe even that Slingshot your neighbor’s dad gave you for your 12th birthday (the one you used to scare the birds away so they wouldn’t get shot) and bring ‘em on down to join the pile of films we’ve got about Man’s best friend… Equal parts celebration and mourning, Magic Lantern is proud to present A Hollywood Western Remix (in CinemaScope), The (Performance Art) Shot Heard ‘Round the World, A World War II-Era Superman Cartoon, At Least 60 Explosions, and A Long Hard Look At The Atom Bomb.
Featuring: Instructions for a Light and Sound Machine by Peter Tscherkassky (17:00, Cinemascope, 2005), Report by Bruce Conner (13:00, 16mm, 1963-67), Shoot by Chris Burden (4:00, video, 1971), Automatic Meat Probe by Shawn Morrissey (5:00, 16mm, 2001), 60 Explosions by Jennifer Matotek (1:20, video, 2004), Superman and the Japoteurs by Seymour Kneitel (10:00, 16mm, 1942), Crossroads by Bruce Connor (36:00, 16mm, 1976)
Instructions for a Light and Sound Machine by Peter Tscherkassky (17:00, Cinemascope, 2005) “A wonderful example of metacinema, Peter Tscherkassky’s Instructions for a Light and Sound Machine reworks images from Sergio Leone’s The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. The source material is distilled to its essence, literally stripping away the original colour, exposing the black-and-white polarities of life and death as well as the elemental basis of cinema itself.” – Susan Oxtoby
Report by Bruce Conner (13:00, 16mm, 1963-67) “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 clamor for the spectacle of destruction. The crucial link in Report is that JFK with his great PT 109 was just as much a part of the destruction game as anyone else. Losing is a big part of playing games.” – David Mosen, Film Quarterly
“Conner is the most brilliant film-editor of the avant-garde. In Report he has used newsreel footage and radio tapes of President Kennedy’s assassination to produce a thirteen minute movie that captures unbearably, yet exhilaratingly, the tragic absurdity of that day.” – Jack Kroll, Newsweek
Shoot by Chris Burden (4:00, video, 1971) “At 7:45pm I was shot in the left arm by a friend. The bullet was a copper jacket 22 long-rifle. My friend was standing about fifteen feet from me.” – Chris Burden
Automatic Meat Probe by Shawn Morrissey (5:00, 16mm, 2001) Sounds from the Bruce Willis film Die Hard and pictures from an anonymous ‘70s action movie are cut up, collaged, and screwed with in a story about boys who like long walks on the beach. It’s like a gunfight without the guns, if you know what I mean…
60 Explosions by Jennifer Matotek (1:20, video, 2004) In a world of many explosions, here are just 60.
Superman and the Japoteurs by Seymour Kneitel (10:00, 16mm, 1942) An early Superman war-propaganda cartoon in which Japanese saboteurs, or “Japoeturs,” hijack a colossal US bomber plane and start dropping bombs on a US air base. When Superman turns up to put a stop to their plans, the Japoteurs send the plane spiraling towards destruction right at the center of Metropolis! And Lois is on board the rogue airplane! Looks like a job for Superman!
Crossroads by Bruce Conner (36:00, 16mm, 1976) “Conner bases his film on government footage of the first underwater A-bomb test, July 25, 1946, at Bikini Atoll in the Pacific. Recorded at speeds ranging from normal to super slow motion, the same explosion is seen 27 different times – from the air, from boats and land-based cameras; distant and close-up. The opening segment emphasizes the awesome grandeur of the explosion – the destructiveness, as well as the dramatic spectacle and beauty. As the repetition builds, however, the explosion is gradually removed from the realm of historic phenomena, assuming the dimensions of a universal, cosmic force. And in the film’s second section this force is brought into a kind of cosmic harmony, part of the lyrically indifferent ebb and flow of life that one sees in a lingering, elegaic view of the ocean.” – Thomas Albright, San Francisco Chronicle; Music by Patrick Gleeson and Terry Riley.