Taking their aesthetic cues from such early-20th-Century filmmakers as Lumiere, Melies, Man Ray, Dreyer, and Dulac, these seven contemporary film/video artists have produced works that place the magic of early cinema within a distinctly 21st Century context. In this particularly anachronistic setting, Magic Lantern is proud to present films that make extensive use of photograms, hand-cranked cameras, matte-boxes, and post-dubbed sound to speak to the history of cinema itself. Featuring the premiere of Providence filmmaker Anthony Penta’s newest silent-era opus – The Black Balloon.
Featuring: Odilon Redon (eye like a strange balloon) by Guy Maddin (5:00, 16mm, 1995); The Black Balloon by Anthony Penta (20:00, video, 2004); Depart by Tom Comerford (6:00, 16mm, 2000); The Invalids by Mary Billyou (10:00, 16mm, 2003); Gone Over by Chris Bravo (10:00, 16mm, 2001); Sissy Boy Slap Party by Guy Maddin (5:00, video, 2004); Palindrome by Rebecca Reynolds (11:00, 16mm, 2001); The Whites by Natasha Uppal (11:00, 16mm, 1993)
Odilon Redon (eye like a strange balloon) by Guy Maddin (5:00, 16mm, 1995) Keller an old sub-aquatic locomotive engineers, and his son Caelum wit- ness a train collision and rescue from its wreckage an orphaned pre- adolescent girl-snail, Berenice. Keller and Caelum adopt Berenice as a member of their family. Keller even names his beloved steam engine after his “daughter”. When Berenice reaches puberty, both Keller and Caelum fall in love with her, becoming romatic rivals. A disturbed Berenice runs away to marry a Zepplin pilot, only to be kidnapped by her adoptive father. Keller is blinded in a train mishap. Caelum loses his head and turns into a flower. Berenice turns into a cactus.
The Black Balloon by Anthony Penta (20:00, video, 2004) Anthony Penta is a staple on the New England new early cinema scene, and this screening will be the Providence premiere of a film that has been shrouded in mystery – “lightning fast as a silent feature… it’s all pantomime and music and sound effects.”
Depart by Tom Comerford (6:00, 16mm, 2000) The landscape of a railroad switchyard in a small Midwestern town and the relationship a French filmmaker has with the railroad. As an homage to Louis Lumiere’s Arrivee and early cinema, the film evokes nostalgia for the mechanical, intertwined institutions of the railroad and the cinema. Part of a series of films made with pinhole cameras and found/homemade noise machines.
The Invalids by Mary Billyou (10:00, 16mm, 2003) A mostly silent film recreating the plight of women consigned Victorian insane asylums. This short film prompts consideration of the maladies once ascribed to women, such as hysteria, and the belief that too much intellectual or physical stimulation might prove harmful to the fairer sex.
Palindrome by Rebecca Reynolds (11:00, 16mm, 2001) The circular has collapsed into a straight line. Surreal images created extemporaneously within a structure of in-camera effects and editing suggest the workings of a mechanism. This is a film about the mechanism of desire and the desire to become formless.
Gone Over by Chris Bravo (10:00, 16mm, 2001) An epilepsy-inducing OpArt silent film whose images are derived from computer screens and direct photography, this work produces a near- sublime transcendence into the realm of the strictly visual.
The Whites by Natasha Uppal (11:00, 16mm, 1993) The Whites’ existence centers around a mysterious library card catalog, which serves both as a source and repository for traces of family life. The catalog’s system of perfection intersects with the rigid hierarchy of this household. Manipulated voices replace dialogue, and although words are unintelligible, we understand the Whites very well. Highly stylized yet grounded in humanity, this film is a disturbingly funny tale of home and hearth.
Sissy Boy Slap Party by Guy Maddin (5:00, video, 2004) Starring Louis Negin and his Chippewa Sissy-Boys, this six-minute study in what can go wrong when the sissys are left alone is an exercise in grafting the Three Stooges onto a Kenneth Anger lilac bush. Originally commissioned as a four-minute short in support of the Saddest Music in the World, this longer version stands on its own as a timeless look at a very human problem. Now contains 50% more slapping.