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NYFF 2010. Views from the Avant-Garde

Actually, this entry won't be strictly limited to the 14th Views from the Avant-Garde, which wrapped on Sunday. Other, somewhat related events bear rounding up here as well; for example, Walking Picture Palace, "curated by Mark McElhatten as an itinerant nomadic series of film presentations that moves from city to city, sometimes programming work of different eras in unlikely combinations" and described by New York's Anthology Film Archives, where it's on through Friday, as "an annual satellite series" to Views.

"This edition completes a three-year retrospective of the devotional work of Nathaniel Dorsky," notes Dave Kehr in the New York Times, and David Phelps has written about the first of three programs of Dorsky's films for the L.

To London and Ajay RS Hothi's piece for APEngine: "As American Night by the German artist Julian Rosefeldt replaces John Akomfrah's ravishing Mnemosyne at the BFI Gallery; and as the Hayward Gallery prepare for Isaac Julien's ambitious nine-screen installation Ten Thousand Waves (which itself, has travelled the world already) and as we lie in the wake of one of the most successful films of the year thus far, Apichatpong Weerasethakul's Uncle Boonmee..., it's difficult to think anything other than that artists — our favourite film artists at least, in a time of meagre pecuniary prosperity for the arts — are making sense and analysing the present situation using the blanket of mythology and reflection."

Then, on October 26, Los Angeles Filmforum presents Here: A Survey of Films and Videos by Vincent Grenier.



"This year's Views seems even more ambitious in scope than in recent years," writes Manohla Dargis in an overview for the NYT, "with 17 programs featuring more than 70 artists, including titans of the art like Jean-Marie Straub (who gets his own program with the short O Somma Luce and the feature, made with Cornelia Geiser, Corneille-Brecht, both in digital) and less familiar names like Tomonari Nishikawa, here with two short films." Nishikawa's Tokyo-Ebisu "lasts only five minutes but is pleasurably complex, deserving of repeat viewings."

Free of the confines of a printed publication, Tony Pipolo devotes half a dozen rich paragraphs to individual works in his piece for Artforum before pulling out all the stops to dwell at length on one more: "Should anyone imagine that the art of alchemy died with the Middle Ages, Phil Solomon's American Falls testifies to the contrary: both to the possibilities of photographic and digital transformation and to the magical emanations of their fusion. The work is epic in conception and form, with a surface texture that, as it refashions and transmutes archival footage from myriad sources, resembles something between a palimpsest of chemical and photographic strata and the impasto of a painter's canvas."

For the House Next Door, Aaron Cutler has caught "films shot by Pierre Clémenti, who played the nasty, love-struck thug in Belle de Jour and who programmer-critic Michael Chaiken has called a punk with a prince's hands. The program, following a Chaiken-organized Clémenti retrospective at Anthology in June, showcased three works Clémenti filmed between 1967 and 1978 that looked like the most aesthetically conscious home movies ever assembled — Mekas and Brakhage aside." Update, 10/9: Yesterday was Pierre Clémenti Day at DC's and Dennis Cooper's got ten good reasons why.

Also at the House, Kenji Fujishima reviews James Benning's Ruhr, "a challenging, beautiful, and rewarding work of art that has the power to sharpen the senses, inspire contemplation, and refresh our awareness of the world around us."

Update, 10/14: Aaron Cutler has a wrap-up at the House Next Door. And here in The Daily Notebook, 45 views from Ben Russell.

Images: Nathaniel Dorsky's Aubade and Phil Solomon's American Falls.

Update, 10/16: "The 14th annual and newly expanded Views from the Avant-Garde opened and closed this year in the Furman Gallery, a smallish room off to the side of the Walter Reade Theater, where the bulk of the program's experimental films were shown." Genevieve Yue for Reverse Shot: "Repurposed for 8mm projectors and outfitted with folding chairs and free beer, the gallery invited a looser, more casual encounter with the films shown there, a kind of rec room to unwind in the after-hours of the festival-within-a-festival. Different films demand different kinds of viewing situations, and for the psychedelic Pierre Clémenti film journals discovered after languishing in a dusty corner of the Pompidou Center for twenty years, the taut, urban superimpositions of Paul Clipson, or Bruce McClure's aggressive, minimalist projection-performances, the gallery space offered a comfortable closeness, both in terms of intimacy and proximity to the screen. It also helped being seated cross-legged on the floor next to filmmakers, festivalgoers, and all the other faces that had become welcomingly familiar by the weekend's final program."

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