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Friday, December 2

Owen Land at Anthology Film Archives  Image from Thank You Jesus for the Eternal Present (1973) courtesy of Anthology Film Archives  

What’s Showing Today? Friday, December 2
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Featured screenings: Owen Land at Anthology Film Archives

Beginning today Anthology Film Archives pays tribute to two late greats of experimental film: Owen Land and Robert Breer. On the occasion of today’s Owen Land programs, Filmmaker Heidi Phillips guest posts:

The late George Landow, who from the late 1970s onward went by the name Owen Land, had a long history as a fascinating and elusive figure in the American avant-garde film world since the 1960s. He distanced himself from this scene in the 1970s, though Land and his work have been rediscovered and distributed around the world by LUX along with a book Two Films by Owen Land, which is assembled and edited by Mark Webber.

Owen Land’s work stands apart from other American avant-garde films because of its religious themes. He gives this reason for exploring religious themes in his work, “I’ve had conversion experiences myself, and I’m interested in observing them in other people; especially radical personality changes.” Gregory Springer points out that Land may be the only experimental filmmaker addressing Christianity with his work. It is necessary to explore this theme in Land’s work.

P. Adams Sitney refers to George Landow as one of the most devout of the structural filmmakers and perhaps the most sublime. In On the Marriage Broker Joke as cited by Sigmund Freud in wit and its Relation to the Unconscious, or can the Avant-Garde Artist be Wholed? (1977-79) the question is asked by the First Panda, “What’s a structural film?” The Second Panda answers, “That’s easy, everybody knows what a structural film is. It’s when engineers’ design an airplane, or a bridge, and they build a model to find out if it will fall apart too soon. The film shows where all the stresses are.”

Among Land’s earlier films, Bardo Follies (1967) is the most impressive. This film’s main focus is the melting of the celluloid on the frame of the projector. It seems more like a science project than an avant-garde art film; as if the filmmaker is discovering the properties of film itself. The visuals are stunning and the audience is captivated by the anticipation of the film melting.  Still, beyond pushing the boundaries of medium this film has little content.

Land’s conversion to Christianity in the early 1970s led to a change in his work. He begins to use his personal faith as a theme in his films. The first of these new films, Thank You Jesus for the Eternal Present (1973), has a preacher giving a sermon as the audio track.  An image of a woman’s face appears superimposed throughout the piece. It starts off as black and white high contrast image, then is inverted, layered with itself, and goes to colour near the end of the film. The change from black and white to colour is like going from death to life and references a born again experience.

Land states, “Dealing with anything spiritual is like the tip of the iceberg. Most of it is below the surface and can’t be recorded by a camera.  In a sense it’s an impossible thing to deal with in films. Regardless, he attempts this impossible task in his films. —Heidi Phillips

Read the rest of the post here.

Today

Robert Breer and Owen Land at Anthology Film Archives
Series Details 

  • George Landow aka Owen Land Program 1. Details. 1961-1973. 16mm. 80 min. 6:45 pm.
  • George Landow aka Owen Land Program 2. Details. 1974-1984. 16mm. 95 min. 9 pm.

The 6th Annual Romanian Film Festival at The Film Society of Lincoln Center
Series Details

  • Morgen (Marian Crişan). Details. 2010. 100 min. 1:30 pm.
  • Eruption (Liviu Ciulei). Details. 35mm. 1957. 108 min. 3:45 pm.
  • Forest of the Hanged (Liviu Ciulei). Details. 1964. 154 min. 6 pm.
  • Digging for Life (Pavel Cuzuioc). Details. 2011. 55 min. 7 and 8:15 pm. FREE
  • Danube Waves (Liviu Ciulei). Details. 35mm. 1959. 110 min. 9 pm.

Iberoamérican Images at MoMA
Series Details

  • The Stoplight Society (Rubén Mendoza). Details. 2010. 108 min. 4 pm.
  • They Come for the Gold, They Come for It All (Cristián Harbaruk & Pablo D’Aló Abbá). Details. Introduced by producer Hugo Castro Fau. 2010. 87 min. 7 pm.

See It Big! at Museum of the Moving Image
Series Details

  • Close Encounters of the Third Kind (Steven Spielberg). Details. 35mm. 1977. 137 min. 7 pm.

Brooklyn Comics and Graphics Festival 2011 at Spectacle Theater
Series Details

  • Baba Yaga (Corrado Farina). 1973. 91 min. 7:30 pm.
  • Col Cuore in Gola (Tino Brass). 1967. 107 min. 9:30 pm.

Douglas Sirk Double Feature: A Time to Love and a Time to Die with The Tarnished Angels at 92YTribeca. Details. 35mm. 1958. 132 and 91 min.Starts at 7 pm.
Pariah (Dee Rees) at BAMcinématek. Details.Q&A with director, cast and crew. 2011. 86 min. 8 pm.
Total Balalaika Show (Aki Kaurismäki) at IFC CenterDetails. Digital projection. 1994. 54 min. 11 am.
Blacks in Experimental Film at Maysles CinemaDetails. Curated by 8mmAnonymous. 8mm and Super 8 only. 7:30 pm.
White Heat (Raoul Walsh) at MoMADetails. 1949. 113 min. 1:30 pm.
A Dangerous Method (David Cronenberg) at MoMADetails. 2011. 93 min. 8 pm.
Aachi and Ssipak (Jo Beom-jin) at Museum of Arts and Design. Details. 2006. 90 min. 7 pm.
The Hunt (Erik Løchen) at Scandinavia HouseDetails. 1959. 94 min. 6:30 pm.

Midnight

Alien (Ridley Scott) at IFC Center. Details. 1979. 117 min. 11:30 pm.
The French Connection (William Friedkin) at IFC CenterDetails. 1971. 104 min.
Black Christmas (Bob Clark) at Landmark Sunshine. Details. 1974. 98 min.
Silent Night, Deadly Night (Charles E. Sellier Jr.) at Nitehawk Cinema. Details. 1984. 79 min.
Santa Claus Conquers the Martians (Nicholas Webster) at Spectacle TheaterDetails. 1964. 81 min.

Ongoing

Under Control (Volker Sattel) at Anthology Film Archives. Details. 35mm. 2011. 89 min.7:15 and 9:15 pm.
Khodorkovsky (Cyril Tuschi) at Film ForumDetails. 2010. 111 min. 1, 3:15, 5:40, 7:50 and 10 pm.
Possession (Andrzej Żuławski) at Film ForumDetails. 35mm. 1981. 123 min. 2, 4:30, 7 and 9:30 pm.
Tomboy (Céline Sciamma) at Film ForumDetails. 2011. 82 min. 1, 2:45, 4:30, 6:15, 8 and 10 pm.

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Museums

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Brooklyn