"For a biographical abstract of Christopher Maclaine, try the famous first lines of Allen Ginsberg's Howl," suggests Max Goldberg in the San Francisco Bay Guardian. "For greater precision, observe poet David Meltzer's letter to film historian P Adams Sitney (reproduced in Radical Light: Alternative Film and Video in the San Francisco Bay Area, 1945-2000): 'Poet, filmmaker, stand-up comic, bagpiper, chaser of mysteries.' Meltzer's letter continues, 'In the mid-60s sacrificed his nervous system to methedrine.' Stan Brakhage wrote of Maclaine, 'He courted madness and he finally got it.' Before he did, he completed four films, the first of which — his preemptive magnum opus, The End (1953) — flattened a very young Brakhage at its infamous Art in Cinema premiere. 67 years after the museum crowd balked at Maclaine's celluloid testament, the film is back at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art."
SF Cinematheque presents In Search of Christopher Maclaine: Man, Artist, Legend tonight at 7. The evening's been curated by Brecht Andersch, who's conducted a 15-part analysis of Maclaine, focusing on The End, for SFMOMA's Open Space blog. He's not exaggerating when he claims, however much in jest, that it's "the most aggressive package of Maclainiana ever contemplated, let alone experienced." For over a year, Brian Darr has been accompanying him to sites where the film was shot and re-photographing them. He recommends this evening for anyone with an "interest in San Francisco geography, architecture, the Beats, experimental film titans, Scottish music & dance, the Atomic Age, poetry, the history of SFMOMA, or what I might look like in person."
"Plenty of notable filmmakers have crossed over from fiction to documentary, or vice versa," writes Mike D'Angelo. "Some — Scorsese, Varda, Demme — could even make a legitimate claim of being bi, having moved back and forth between the two for their entire careers. Only Werner Herzog, however, has amassed a truly legendary filmography in both disciplines; you could eliminate either half of his output, and his place in the pantheon would remain secure. The Ecstatic Truths of Werner Herzog, running April 1 - 8 at Cinefamily, focuses on his nonfiction work from the early 70s through the early 90s, a period when he was still primarily known for such narrative features as Aguirre: The Wrath of God and Fitzcarraldo. Shot in practically every corner of the globe, all that these dozen movies have in common is Herzog's insatiable curiosity."
Also in the LA Weekly, Karina Longworth: "Referred to by its maker as his 'second first film,' [Every Man for Himself (1980)] represents Godard's return to more or less linear narrative and cinematic beauty after a decade spent making experimental, highly political video work. It's a loosely connected series of sketches that interweave Godard's most persistent themes — capitalism, working, whoring, marriage, filmmaking." And it's at LACMA tomorrow and Saturday. What's more, the film has its own site, and a fine one it is, too.
Looking for Richard Brooks: An Appreciation opens tomorrow at the UCLA Film & Television Archive and runs through May 25.
From East of Borneo: "In 1976, Los Angeles-based artist Gary Beydler (1944-2010) turned his back on the art world after the gallery-goers who came to see his film Venice Pier appeared distracted and indifferent. He never made another work. Venice Pier languished in obscurity until 2008, when it was restored by the Academy Film Archive, whose preservationist, Mark Toscano, called it 'an absolute masterpiece.' Better known are Beydler's other experiments in 16mm film, Hand Held Day [image above] and Pasadena Freeway Stills, both made in 1974, in which Beydler interacts with mirrors, photographs and the local landscape. A screening of these three films will take place on Saturday night at Armory Center for the Arts, in a program organized by X-TRA magazine and introduced by writer Benjamin Lord. We spoke with Lord earlier this week about his interest in Beydler and the significance of these works."
"On Friday, Noir City: Hollywood, 13th Annual Festival of Film Noir rolls into the American Cinematheque's Egyptian Theatre for a three-week stay. Along with some of the usual noir suspects, the festival features rarities. More than 20 of the films being shown aren't available on DVD." For the Los Angeles Times, Susan King talks with the Film Noir Foundation's Eddie Muller and Alan K Rode. This makes for an easy segue to…
… where the New School "will present its first arts festival, which will explore the relevance of the classic genre of Noir and evaluate its meaning today. The festival will include iconic films, hard-boiled storytelling, graphic art, and music inspired by this quintessential American style. Featured artists and critics include Frances McDormand, Todd Haynes, Marc Ribot, Guy Maddin, Mary Gaitskill, Robert Pinsky, Greil Marcus, Luc Sante, Terry Teachout, Paul Moravec, Frank Bidart, Molly Haskell, Ben Katchor and more, as well as new works created by the New School community."
"Plenty of major doc-makers have dedicated themselves to being portraitists of their homelands, but no one has done it as relentlessly and righteously as Patricio Guzmán, for 35 years Chile's defiant verité John the Baptist and activist laureate," writes Michael Atkinson in the Voice. "BAM's week-long retro [Obstinate Memories: The Documentaries of Patricio Guzmán runs from tomorrow through April 7], which follows the release of Guzmán's latest, Nostalgia for the Light, helplessly centers around the meteor of The Battle of Chile (1975–79), arguably the most vital piece of actual history ever put on celluloid, if only because entire nations normally don't plunge into homicidal autocracy on film. In three parts and totaling over four hours, the film documents the ascension of Allende and the CIA-fueled coup that bloodied the streets (and, infamously, killed one of Guzmán's cameramen as he was shooting). A scalding lesson in orchestrated class disaster and power-mad malice, the under-seen Battle of Chile should be required viewing for high schoolers everywhere."
"Salvador Allende works as a tone poem that reflects on the life and historical contribution of the slain ex-president," writes Ryan Wells at Cinespect. "As in many of Guzmán's documentaries there's a sense of an archeological quest where the filmmaker goes searching for memory both lost and found. Salvador Allende breaks down the Marxist leader's significance, reasons for the coup against him and delivers a brutal indictment against many of the bourgeoisie neighbors who chose to disavow any semblance of honest reassessment on what they witnessed in 1973. Allende's significance matches that of Guevara and Castro though artistic and journalistic renderings tend to be scarce; most likely since the avuncular Allende is not exactly a sexy character. Guzmán's documentary works to rectify the gaps."
Nostalgia for the Light (see the recent roundup) screens this weekend at Seattle's Northwest Film Forum and the Stranger's Charles Mudede recommends this "beautiful, dreamy, and slow" film. On April 15, Patrizio Guzmán: The Watchful Eye opens at UCLA and runs through May 11.
The Native American Film + Video Festival opens tonight and runs through the weekend.
"Edward Burns's latest film, Newlyweds, which he also wrote, produced and stars in, will be the closing night film for the 10th Tribeca Film Festival," reports Jason Guerrasio for Filmmaker. "Earlier this month Tribeca announced that Cameron Crowe's documentary on the career of Elton John and his collaborative album with Leon Russell, The Union, will open the fest with an outdoor screening in Lower Manhattan. Read this year's Competition and Spotlight, Cinemania, Tribeca/ESPN and Special Screenings lineups." April 20 through May 1.
"Going back to the start of the BFI London Lesbian and Gay Film Festival (LLGFF), which celebrates its 25th edition this year, takes us to 1986 — a world where paranoia about Aids and the government's attempt to ban the promotion of homosexuality made the festival's very existence a provocation to the prevailing zeitgeist." For Sight & Sound, Brian Robinson traces the history of the festival opening tonight and running through Wednesday.
"One of Italian cinema's most distinguished figures, Dante Ferretti has played in major part in shaping some of the most iconic films of the last 50 years," writes Adam Woodward, introducing his interview for Little White Lies. "Since cutting his teeth as Federico Fellini's protégé in the early 1960s, Ferretti has gone on to work as production designer on everything from Paolo Pasolini's The Canterbury Tales to The Age of Innocence, Cold Mountain and Shutter Island." Ferretti will be hosting a masterclass at BAFTA on Saturday as part of Italian Cinema London Film Festival 2011, which runs from tomorrow through April 10.
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