Date: Friday, April 4, 2014 - 17:30 - Location: SPHINX
A program with West Coast filmmakers, featuring historical work by Gary Beydler and Bruce Baillie together with new productions by 16mm film poet Nathaniel Dorsky and Calarts alumni Laida Lertxundi and Alexandra Cuesta.
Utskor: Either / Or
Laida Lertxundi, Country: ES/NO, 2013, 16mm, 7'
A rare excursion out of California in Lertxundi’s cinema. “In the town of Utskor in the region of Bø, northern Norway, we find memories of a political past intertwining with domestic, familial moments during the midnight sun.” (Laida Lertxundi)
Gary Beydler, Country: US, 1975, 16mm, 6'
Over the course of two Kodachrome camera rolls, we simultaneously witness eastward and westward views of the surrounding landscape as the skies, shadows, colors, and light change dramatically. Beydler’s hand, holding the mirror carefully in front of the camera, quivers and vibrates, suggesting the relatively miniscule scale of humanity in the face of a monumental landscape and its dramatic transformations. Yet the use of the mirror also projects an idealized human desire to frame and understand what we see around us, without destroying or changing any of its inherent fascination and beauty. (Mark Toscano)
Bruce Baillie, Country: US, 1966, 16mm, colour, 9'
In three sections with three different formal strategies, Baillie shares distilled moments of found natural beauty as he encountered them in the North Bay outside San Francisco. The first section features a study of plum blossoms, rendered in rich, multiple superimpositions that allow the white flowers to explode into a blizzard of visual complexity, framed by a panning shot of purple mountains. In the second section, Baillie allows us a furtive glimpse of the titular little girl, waving to cars with her dog on the side of the road, lost in her world and thoughts. Bruce’s framing remains unadorned, feeling no need to add to or take away from a beautiful piece of simple portraiture. The third section, of waterbugs on the surface of a pond, reminds us how remarkable and sensitive Baillie’s camerawork can be, as he observes their graceful dances, and the subtle light and water effects they produce by their movements. (Mark Toscano)
Nathaniel Dorsky, Country: US, 2013, 16mm, 18'
Nathaniel Dorsky makes short, silent 16mm films of rare, extraordinary beauty that translate a sense of wonder in response to the world around him. Song was photographed in San Francisco from early October through the winter solstice in late December 2012.
We Had the Experience But Missed the Meaning
Laida Lertxundi, Country: US/ES, 2014, 16mm, 8'
“We had the experience but missed the meaning” is a line from a T.S. Eliot poem. However, the inspiration for Lertxundi’s most recent work – which also exists as a double screen film installation – is a short story by Argentinian writer Adolfo Bioy Casares: Todos los hombres son iguales (All Men Are Equal or All Men Are the Same depending on the translator), from which a woman’s voice reads in the first part of the film. In Lertxundi’s reinterpretation, images become analogous to words, film functions as poetry. The second part is a road movie across the industrial landscapes and streets of Southern California.
Alexandra Cuesta, Country: US/EC, 2013, 16mm, 10'
Shot in Boyle Heights in East Los Angeles, this neighborhood historically formed by cultural transition resonates with the poetry of local resident Mapkaulu Roger Nduku. Verses about endings, looking and passing through open up the space projected. A string of tableaus gather a portrait of place and compose a goodbye letter to an ephemeral home.