Saturday, March 10

 

11:30 am

Suranjan Ganguly 
Celebrating Stan: A Brakhage Screening
 

2:00 pm

Karen Yasinsky
 
Green, Green (2018, 1 min.)
Portrait of Victoria Legrand; work-in-progress.
 
Three Films Inspired by Robert Bresson’s Au Hasard Balthazar
I Choose Darkness  (2009, 8.5 min.)
Enough to Drive You Mad (2009, 2.5 min.)
Sound by Tom Boram and Dan Breen
Marie (2010, 6 min.)
Music by Brahms, sound by Tom Boram and Dan Breen.
 
The Man from Hong Kong (2015, 6.5 min.)
An internalized collage film which started with the found vacation film someone gave me many years ago. The script I recorded for the film was resistant but emanations of desire in the photographs of Man Ray, Paul Outerbridge and the soundtracks from Bruce Lee films attached themselves. Everyone wants to touch someone.
 
After Hours (2013-14, 9 min.)
The film originated with thoughts on senseless violence, cultural observation and hypnotism. My meditations on these involve anxiety and a sense of expectation which helped form the structure. Many of the images are repurposed, related but unhinged from their original context. 
 
This Room is White (2011, 4 min.)
The woman is moving, attending to things, the man watches. Cut to a Wacky Sticker commercial break. We switch lives. The young girl now watches. Actually she has always been watching, bemused. Obvious things go unnoticed but not by her.
 
Life is an Opinion, Fire a Fact (2012, 10 min.)
The point was to go from acts of despair towards some suggestion of serenity. What goes on when we watch horrific events and specifically the horror of suicide on TV or film? The act just shows the result but not the ideas and feelings that lead to it. The first image shows a woman who just jumped to her death (from A Gentle Woman by Bresson). The animated scene of self-immolation is shot in reverse so narrative buildup of tension is denied. The character places himself atop a statue of Marcus Aurelius from whom comes the quote, “Life is an Opinion.” We end in a place, through sound or image, that suggests diverse definitions of serenity (an opinion).
 
The Perpetual Motion of My Love for You (2016, 9 min.)
A collage film slipping between narrative starts of images and sounds: May Sarton's snapshots, a resplendent Liz Taylor, internal and external awkwardnesses and a short respite of peace.
 
Vera (2017, 6.5 min.)
A character created over the time of animating the cobweb and thinking about Mississippi Mud by Bix Beiderbecke. Additional music by Andrew Bernstein with Gillian Waldo.
 
Audition (2012, 4 min.)
The starting point was the movement of the stripper across the stage in the red light. I rotoscoped the scene and each frame is hand-drawn pixels. Once I realized that the sound attached to the source scene was the impetus for the remembered image, the rest of the video revealed itself. Music by Bo Harwood.
 
 

4:00 pm

Christopher Harris
 
Distant Shores (2016, 3 min.)*
“[A] postcard-sized [film that]…manage[s] to implicate the audience’s ethical imagination…Distant Shores models a necessary imaginative leap simply by juxtaposing footage of a Chicago River cruise with testimony of a migrant’s harrowing voyage at sea. A three-minute film edited in camera, it nevertheless offers several ways of thinking about displacement.”--Max Goldberg, KQED Arts.
 
Halimuhfack (2016, 4 min.)
A performer lip-synchs to archival audio featuring the voice of author and anthropologist Zora Neale Hurston as she describes her method of documenting African American folk songs in Florida.  By design, nothing in this film is authentic except the source audio.  The flickering images were produced with a hand-cranked Bolex so that the lip-synch is deliberately erratic and the rear-projected, grainy, looped images of Masai tribesmen and women, recycled from an educational film, become increasingly abstract as the audio transforms into an incantation.
 
28.IV.81 (Descending Figures) (2011, 3 min.)*
28.IV.81 (Descending Figures) is comprised of footage Harris shot at a performance of Christ’s Passion, staged as an attraction in a Florida amusement park…This flimsy display of devotion is shown up by something genuinely overpowering, or at least recognizably real. In a way, this seems to sum up Harris’s practice. Filmic images are things with actual impact in the world, and as such they have an unavoidable ethical dimension.”--Michael Sicinski, Cinema Scope.
 
28.IV.81 (Bedouin Spark) (2009, 3 min.)*
The terms “Bedouin Spark” and “Descending Figures” are from passages [in Nathaniel Mackey’s Bedouin Hornbook] referring to flares, something flaring; there’s a lot of light imagery in the book. But what I like about it is that it’s about how flashes of revelation, illumination or insight, are so fleeting that once you grasp them they’re gone.
 
Sunshine State (Extended Forecast) (2007, 8 min.)
“Florida, 2007. Somewhere in a quiet outer suburb of the Milky Way galaxy, we live our lives in the pleasant warmth of our middle-of-the-road star, the Sun. Slowly but surely, we will reach the point when there will be one last perfect sunny day. The sun will swell up, scorch the earth and finally consume it.”--International Film Festival, Rotterdam.
 
Reckless Eyeballing (2004, 14 min.)
I think Reckless Eyeballing was an exorcism of a certain ambivalence that they try to instill in film students about The Birth of a Nation. I don’t think that the destructive force of The Birth of a Nation can be overstated. It is the blueprint for so much of what is wrong today. Gus is what every white cop sees in Tamir Rice, Michael Brown, Oscar Grant, Freddie Gray, and the countless others who are “demons” who must be shot, in many cases, virtually on sight.
 
still/here (excerpt), (2001, 17 min.)
still/here  suffuses the blighted north side of St. Louis with a powerful melancholy, lingering on rubble-strewn lots, decrepit buildings, and empty streets, while footsteps and a continually ringing phone on the sound track suggest lives interrupted by the devastation. Holes in a movie theater marquee are powerfully evocative, but even more impressive is the film's sprawling, almost chaotic form: its calculated incompleteness truly matches the subject, and Harris's long takes imply--not without a hint of anger--that the ruins of his hometown are eternal.”--Fred Camper, Chicago Reader.
 
*Edited in-camera
 

7:30 pm

Jean-Paul Kelly
Hello to Friends of Calamity
 
The Innocents (2014, 12:54 min.)
The Innocents features an image stream, an interview with Truman Capote’s desire, and shapes that correspond to the former through the instructions of the latter.
 
A Minimal Difference (2012, 5:10 min.)
A Minimal Difference is shot using a multi-plane camera setup and features receding cell paintings referenced from widely circulated press images (barricades from political protests in Bangkok, bodies piled after the 2010 Haitian earthquake, furniture from an eviction in Cleveland, destruction in Gaza) and more metaphoric pictures (a logjam, clouds or smoke). Each tableau is separated into visual planes that, when filmed with movement, mimic the perception of optical distance.
 
Figure-ground (2013, 4:46 min.)
Figure-ground features hand-painted cells filmed in receding distance with a multi-plane camera. Each scene is derived from photographs published online and depicting the aftermath of a death associated–tangentially or directly–with the 2008 global financial crisis: the gruesome drug-debt murder of a child in an economically depressed region; the suicide of Bernie Madoff’s son; an untreated, mentally distressed Iraq-war veteran freezes to death in a mountain stream after his manhunt for murder; the murder of Treyvon Martin; the cyanide suicide of a former Wall Street trader in court. The body of each individual is initially excised from the scene and later replaced by abstractions in regular form–a colored square and an audio tone.
 
Movement in Squares (2013, 12:43 min.)
Movement in Squares is a two-channel video comprised of three documentary sources: video appropriated from a Florida-based foreclosure broker who documents the condition of bank-owned properties at the time of their repossession; studio recordings that document retrospective exhibition catalogues of painter Bridget Riley; voice-over narration from filmmaker David Thompson’s 1979 profile of Riley’s work for the Arts Council of Great Britain.
 
Service of the goods (2013, 29:10 min.)
Service of the goods is comprised of selected scenes from American filmmaker Frederick Wiseman’s seminal documentaries on state-run, tax-funded institutions, including Titicut Follies (1967), High School (1968), Law and Order (1969), Hospital (1970), Basic Training (1971), Juvenile Court (1973) and Welfare (1975). While creating shot-by-shot reproductions of each chosen scene, including accompanying subtitled dialogue, Wiseman’s representational strategy–his overall production and editing process–is, itself, evoked as an institution subject to the same means: observation and expression.
 
That ends that matter (2016, 12:34 min.)
That ends that matter is a three-channel video installation incorporating: a re-enactment of events witnessed in a courtroom; an image stream of found photographs in which the artist’s hands appear to caress or point out details in each image; and a graphical-sound animation choreographed from movements of Kelly’s hands in the previous sequence.
 
 

Sunday, March 11

Brazilian Experimental and Documentary Cinema
Curator: Chris Stults
                                                                                                                                                                                       

2:00 pm

Program 1

A portrait of human beings through the objects they use and make. An indirect history of Brazil. Nothing is foreign because everything is. What can computer repair tell us about race relations? What can a tomato tell us about class relations? What do we do with all these things we’ve made?!
 
The Age of Stone/A Idade da Pedra (Ana Vaz, 2013, 29 min.)
A voyage into the far west of Brazil leads us to a monumental structure--petrified at the center of the savannah. Inspired by the epic construction of the city of Brasília, the film uses this history to imagine it otherwise. Special Jury Prize, 2014 Femina International Film Festival, Rio de Janeiro.
 
The Housekeeper/O Caseiro (Jonathas de Andrade, 2016, 8 min.)
Artist Jonathas de Andrade’s new work proposes a fictional parallel to a 1959 film documenting a day in the life of the famed Brazilian sociologist Gilberto Freyre. In de Andrade’s mirror recreation, the main character is not Freyre, but his supposed housekeeper, who is filmed in the same opulent setting but engaged in duties related to his job rather than at leisure. The tension between race and class emerges in de Andrade’s sly reimagining of this historical film.
 
Isle of Flowers /Ilha das Flores (Jorge Furtado, 1989, 12 min.)
Quite likely the most famous Brazilian short film, Isle of Flowers is a savage cine-essay that tracks the path of a tomato to the garbage dump. The film’s deadpan voiceover then begins to touch upon all manner of social horrors…
 
The Century/O Século (Cinthia Marcelle and Tiago Mata Machado, 2011, 9 min.)
The Century is both the documentary of a performance and the documentary of an allegory. Without a human figure in view, scraps, debris, and junk are thrown dramatically from one side of an alley to the other, and then a volley begins from the other side. A century of revolution, looting, and conflict is reduced to a compelling abstraction while remaining quite concrete and specific.
 

4:00 pm

Program 2

Cao Guimarães (born 1965) is one of Brazil’s most admired  film and video artists. His  work operates at the interface of cinema and the visual arts, capturing the poetry of the everyday through its immersion in events, objects, colors and sounds.  His films and installations have been featured at film festivals in Locarno, Cannes, Rotterdam, Sundance and Venice.
 
Epilogue/Quarta-Feira de Cinzas (Cao Guimarães and Rivane Neuenschwander, 2006, 6 min.)
After the Brazilian carnival, in the melancholy aftermath of Ash Wednesday, the ants begin their own profane, multicolored feast to the rhythm of matchbox samba.
 
Weightless/Sin Peso (Cao Guimarães, 2007, 7 min.)
The air emitted from the chests of multiform voices in the flea markets is not the same air that shakes the multicolored awnings that protect the owners of those same voices from the sun and the rain. Two different weights configure the fragile life balance of the streets in Mexico City.
 
Two-Way Street/Rua de Mão Dupla (Cao Guimarães, 2002, 72 min.)
For this film, which was originally created for the 25th São Paulo Biennial, Guimarães had two people, who didn’t know each other, swap houses for 24 hours. They each recorded their stay with a video camera and were instructed to imagine the home’s owner based on their belongings and environment. The resulting footage is presented in split-screen, creating a dialogue between the two participants and the objects that they surround themselves with. But, through the various filming styles that each person employs, the films become as much of a self-portrait as they are a portrait of the “other.”
 
                                                                                                                                                       

All events are free and open to the public!

 

The 14th Brakhage Center Symposium is sponsored by:
The Roser Visiting Artist Program
CU Film Studies Program
The William H. Donner Foundation