IN CHICAGO, Cinema Borealis, 1550 N Milwaukee AveSunday the 1st of October at 8:00
IN PROVIDENCE, RI Cable Car Cinema, 204 S Main Wednesday the 4th of October at 9:30
Close your eyes, picture a soft place, and repeat after me: CINEMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMA. And again: CINEMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMA.
Let the lights behind your eyelids form patterns, let the stars, crucifixes, spirographs, fractals, pentagrams, and mandalas dissolve into you and each other and into the darkness that makes up 40% of your moviegoing life. Reach your hand out past the void that is and was yourself and conjoin your aura with that always-flickering light you’ve come to know as Magic Lantern. Cast off your mortal coil, watch the sun bless the ocean with your third eye, and let the trance foam drip from your un-mouth as you’re spirited away into a world of light and sound at a varying frame rate of 18, 24, and 29.97 frames per second. A world where Angela Lansbury is your host, where seizures sing out against war, where the Velvet Underground rocks in triplicate, where ethereal landscapes melt, where West African laborers channel colonial powers, where Manson dopplegangers are desert wanderers, and where the Glory of Light as Nature is At Long Last Revealed.
If you think you’re ready, then you are. Open your eyes and repeat after me: CINEMMMMMMMMA…
FEATURING: Feeling Free with 3D Magic Eye Poster Remix by Shana Moulton (8:13, video, 2004), Saint Flournoy Lobos-Logos and the Eastern Europe Fetus Taxing Japan Brides in West Coast Places Sucking Alabama Air by Will Hindle (12:00, 16mm, 1970), Melter 02 by Takeshi Murata (4:00, video, 2003), Andy Warhol’s Exploding Plastic Inevitable with the Velvet Underground by Ronald Nameth (12:00, 16mm on video, 1966), Les Maitres Fous by Jean Rouch (35:00, 16mm, 1954), Piece Mandala/End War by Paul Sharits (5:00, 16mm, 1966), The Visitation by Nathaniel Dorsky (18:00, 16mm, 2002)
Feeling Free with 3D Magic Eye Poster Remix by Shana Moulton (8:13, video, 2004) Appropriating a dated exercise video hosted by actress Angela Lansbury, Feeling Free presents a woman, played by Moulton, who attempts to follow the televised workout in her living room even as elements of her home décor begin to appear onscreen. Deriving its title from an inspirational segment of Lansbury’s program, Feeling Free subjects the appropriated footage to eccentric visual and audio displacements, culminating in a psychedelic dance sequence set to a remix of the program’s insipid theme song.
Saint Flournoy Lobos-Logos and the Eastern Europe Fetus Taxing Japan Brides in West Coast Places Sucking Alabama Air by Will Hindle (12:00, 16mm, 1970) Presaging details and intent of the Charles Manson’s cult and actions was not meant to be one of this film’s greater attributes. It was, however, filmed uncannily months before the facts were known. The resemblance is oblique. The film: the mysticism of a “calling,” a journey to be made, a vision in mid-desert to behold and oneness with it all. Filmed in Death Valley.
Melter 02 by Takeshi Murata (4:00, video, 2003) Creating Rorschach-like fields of seething color, form and motion, Murata pushes the boundaries of digitally manipulated psychedelia. With a powerfully sensual force that is expressed in videos, loops, installations, and electronic music, Murata’s synaesthetic experiments in hypnotic perception appear at once seductively organic and totally digital.
Andy Warhol’s Exploding Plastic Inevitable with the Velvet Underground by Ronald Nameth (12:00, 16mm on VHS, 1966) Watching the film is like dancing in a strobe room: time stops, motion retards, the body seems separate from the mind. The screen bleeds onto the wall, the seats. Flak bursts of fiery explode with slow fury. Staccato strobe guns stitch galaxies of silverfish over slow-motion, stop-motion close-ups of the dancers’ dazed ecstatic faces. Nameth does with cinema what the Beatles do with music: his film is dense, compact, yet somehow fluid and light. It is extremely heavy, extremely fast, yet airy and poetic, amosaic, a tapestry, a mandala that sucks you into its whirling maelstrom.
Les Maitres Fous by Jean Rouch (35:00, 16mm, 1954) Les Maitres Fous is about the ceremony of a religious sect, the Hauka, which was widespread in West Africa from the 1920s to the 1950s. Hauka participants were usually rural migrants from Niger who came to cities such as Accra in Ghana (then Gold Coast), where they found work as laborers in the city’s lumber yards, as stevedores at the docks, or in the mines. There were at least 30,000 practicing Hauka in Accra in 1954 when Jean Rouch was asked by a small group to film their annual ceremony. During this ritual, which took place on a farm a few hours from the city, the Hauka entered trance and were possessed by various spirits associated with the Western colonial powers: the governorgeneral, the engineer, the doctor’s wife, the wicked major, the corporal of the guard.
The imagery in Les Maitres Fous is powerful and often disturbing: possessed men with rolling eyes and foaming at the mouth, eating a sacrificed dog (in violation of taboo), burning their bodies with naming torches. The significance of this reality is left ambiguous in the film, although Rouch’s commentary suggests that the ritual provides a psychological release which enables the Hauka to be good workers and to endure a degrading situation with dignity. The unexplored relation of the Hauka movement to their colonial experience 1-S perhaps the most intriguing issue raised by this ceremony in which the oppressed become, for a day, the possessed and the powerful.
Piece Mandala/End War by Paul Sharits (5:00, 16mm, 1966) Blank color frequencies space out and optically feed into black and white images of one lovemaking act which is seen simultaneously from both sides of its space and both ends of its time. “Piece Mandala/End War reminds me very much of the back light (GoKo) which illuminates the spirit of Buddha – yet no image of Buddha appears; rather, a couple of naked bodies. I have never imagined that GoKo could really happen and illuminate as in this film.” – Takahiko Iimura, Film Art
The Visitation by Nathaniel Dorsky (18:00, 16mm, silent, 2002) Part One of a set of Two Devotional Songs. The Visitation is a gradual unfolding, an arrival so to speak. I felt the necessity to describe an occurrence, not one specifically of time and place, but one of revelation in one’s own psyche. The place of articulation is not so much in the realm of images as information, but in the response of the heart to the poignancy of the cuts.