November 22 – November 27
In conjunction with our film series devoted to the composer Luc Ferrari, Anthology presents this retrospective of the work of filmmaker Piotr Kamler, whose innovative and otherworldly avant-garde animations are remarkable in part for boasting musical scores by many of the towering figures of 20th-century electronic music.
Kamler began studying as an artist in his native Poland in the 1950s – an era that saw an extraordinary flowering of creativity in the realm of experimental animation in Eastern Europe – but soon relocated to Paris. There he became involved with the Service de la Recherche at ORTF, France’s national agency for radio and television at the time. Among the entities working within the Service de la Recherche was the Groupe de Recherches Musicales (GRM), which remains legendary within the history of avant-garde music as an epicenter for composers, musicians, and technicians experimenting with electronic composition, musique concrète, and other forms of acoustical research. Among those working under the umbrella of GRM were such luminaries as Luc Ferrari, Iannis Xenakis, Beatriz Ferreyra, Bernard Parmegiani, Ivo Malec, and François Bayle, all of whom would collaborate with Kamler to provide soundtracks for his films.
Kamler’s early films are predominantly abstract, emphasizing color, shape, and motion to create a counterpoint between image and sound. He moved increasingly, however, towards representational imagery, favoring surreal, haunting figures and fantastic environments whose symbolic suggestiveness and existential starkness are highly reminiscent of the work of other Polish animators like Walerian Borowczyk, Jan Lenica, Daniel Szczechura, Stefan Schabenbeck, and others. Using a wide range of techniques – from ink to pinscreen to rotoscoping to clay – Kamler created numerous short films from 1959-75, before devoting himself for the second half of the 1970s to the painstaking creation of his magnum opus, the feature-length CHRONOPOLIS, a dizzyingly inventive sci-fi allegory concerning the nature of time. This film series will survey the entirety of his career in the cinema, and represents the most extensive retrospective to take place in the U.S. in many years.
This retrospective is presented with support from the Cultural Services of the French Embassy, as well as the Polish Cultural Institute New York, and co-sponsored by the Institut national de l’audiovisuel. Special thanks to Matthieu Lamotte (aaa Production), Dies Blau (INA), Amélie Garin-Davet (Cultural Services of the French Embassy), Jean-Baptiste Garnero (CNC), Tomek Smolarski (Polish Cultural Institute New York), and Spencer Sundell.