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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Close Encounters of the Third Kind (Steven Spielberg). Details. 35mm. 1977. 137 min. 7 pm.
- 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 Center. Details. Digital projection. 1994. 54 min. 11 am.
Blacks in Experimental Film at Maysles Cinema. Details. Curated by 8mmAnonymous. 8mm and Super 8 only. 7:30 pm.
White Heat (Raoul Walsh) at MoMA. Details. 1949. 113 min. 1:30 pm.
A Dangerous Method (David Cronenberg) at MoMA. Details. 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 House. Details. 1959. 94 min. 6:30 pm.
Alien (Ridley Scott) at IFC Center. Details. 1979. 117 min. 11:30 pm.
The French Connection (William Friedkin) at IFC Center. Details. 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 Theater. Details. 1964. 81 min.
Under Control (Volker Sattel) at Anthology Film Archives. Details. 35mm. 2011. 89 min.7:15 and 9:15 pm.
Khodorkovsky (Cyril Tuschi) at Film Forum. Details. 2010. 111 min. 1, 3:15, 5:40, 7:50 and 10 pm.
Possession (Andrzej Żuławski) at Film Forum. Details. 35mm. 1981. 123 min. 2, 4:30, 7 and 9:30 pm.
Tomboy (Céline Sciamma) at Film Forum. Details. 2011. 82 min. 1, 2:45, 4:30, 6:15, 8 and 10 pm.
- Harun Farocki “Images of War (at a Distance)” at MoMA, Midtown. $20 general/$12 students/$16 seniors. Closed Tuesday/Wednesday. Through January 2.
- Haris Epaminonda “Projects 96” at MoMA, Midtown. $20 general/$12 students/$16 seniors. Closed Tuesday/Wednesday. Through February 20.
- George Kuchar “Pagan Rhapsodies” at MoMA P.S.1, Queens. $10 general/$5 students/$5 seniors. Closed Tuesday/Wednesday. Through January 2.
- Frances Stark “My Best Thing” at MoMA P.S.1, Queens. $10 general/$5 students/$5 seniors. Closed Tuesday/Wednesday. Through January.
- Rania Stephan at MoMA P.S.1, Queens. $10 general/$5 students/$5 seniors. Closed Tuesday/Wednesday. Through January.
- Clifford Owens “Anthology” at MoMA P.S.1, Queens. $10 general/$5 students/$5 seniors. Closed Tuesday/Wednesday. Through March 12.
- The User: The New Auteur at The Museum of Arts and Design, Columbus Circle. $15 general/$12 students and seniors. Open 7 days a week. Through March 4.
- View all exhibitions at Museum of the Moving Image, Astoria, Queens. $12 general/$9 students and seniors/$6 ages 3 to 18. Free admission Friday 4-8 pm. Closed Monday.
- Roy Lichtenstein “Three Landscapes: A Film Installation” at The Whitney Museum, Upper East Side. $18 general/$12 students, seniors, ages 19-25/free for under 18. Pay-as-you-wash Friday 6-9 pm. Closed Monday/Tuesday. Through February 12.
- Aleksandra Mir “The Seduction of Galileo Galilei” at The Whitney Museum, Upper East Side. $18 general/$12 students, seniors, ages 19-25, free for under 18. Pay-as-you-wash Fridays 6-9 pm. Closed Monday/Tuesday. Through February 19.
Below listed North-South
- Claire Fontaine “Working Together” at Metro Pictures. Closed Sunday/Monday. Ends December 10.
- Mary Reid Kelley “The Syphilis of Sisyphus” at Fredericks & Freiser. Closed Sunday/Monday. Ends January 7.
- Connor Linskey, Clare Gasson and Nick Hornby “Aggregate” at Churner and Churner. Closed Sunday/Monday. Ends December 17.
- Simon Denny”Corporate Video Decisions” at Friedrich Petzel. Closed Sunday/Monday. Ends December 22.
- Bruce Conner, Yayoi Kusama and Christian Marclay “Accumulations” at Paula Cooper. Closed Sunday/Monday. Ends December 23.