Filmmaker and film activist Pip Chodorov offers this affectionate overview of some of the leading figures of 20th century experimental film. Narrating in a personal and plainspoken manner (“I’d like you to meet some of my friends and see their films”), Chodorov combines clips and even films in their entirety with conversations with such luminaries as Hans Richter, Robert Breer, Michael Snow, Peter Kubelka and Stan Brakhage in his final recorded interview. The film, which takes its title from Len Lye’s direct animation classic, shows how avant-garde filmmakers were often left in a no man’s land between the art world and the commercial film industry. It was up to visionaries like Jonas Mekas and the organizations he founded — Film-Makers’ Cooperative, Anthology Film Archive — to help struggling filmmakers out. (At one point, Ken Jacobs describes dumpster diving for food.) Warm and inspiring, Chodorov’s film is part essay and part loving tribute. –AFI Film Festival
It more accurately could be called "A History of Anthology Film Archives," which is still great and worth documenting, but it's (obviously) not really a wide overview of experimental film. Some great interviews - Ken Jacobs and Robert Breer in particular. Wanted way more Brakhage.
My take on it: it is A History of Experimental Film, not THE History. I think the filmmaker comes at it from a personal way and tells the story of his life in experimental film, not claiming that this is the only path. It's the antithesis of what Mark Cousins attempted with The Story of Film: An Odyssey. I would love to see a whole series of these type of films.
The 13th San Francisco Independent Film Festival, known to most as SF IndieFest, opens tonight with Gregg Araki's Kaboom and runs through