A retrospective screening of a pillar of American avant-garde cinema.
A program of shorts spanning three decades, presented by Larry Gottheim in person.
BLUES. 1969, 8 min.
"A close continuous view of a bowl of blueberries and milk. A spoon comes in and scoops up some of the berries, presumably to be eaten, until they are all gone. The milk, that is always there, manifests itself more and more as the berries are removed and finally seems to rise up and be washed over by light that struck the end of the camera roll as it was removed from the camera. A malfunction with the camera motor of a rare 8mm Bolex produces a regular pulse against the slight flicker of the shutter at silent speed. There are already indications of a mystery as some of the berries move down as though charged by the energy of the camera’s and viewer’s concentration. This is my first real film; all the others rise out of this one."
HARMONICA. 1971, 10 min.
"This concludes the series of continuous shot films, but now with sound. The sound is produced by the car and the people inside it. The car window is both a screen and a plane that separates the inner world from the outside. Shelley, the performer, generates the primary sound when he breaks through that plane. The film is popular because of the vibrant energy of the performer, the music, and the autumn landscape, but it is also complex. As with the previous films, I myself am passive. The driver and the car and Shelley are the creative forces. He is the first of many avatars, doubles of me, that appear in many of my films and that became one thread of my later attraction to ceremonial possession."
THE RED THREAD. 1987, 17 min.
"Material from a time spent in California at the San Francisco Art Institute. My actual image appears as an ironic avatar of my real filmmaker self. It is challenged by a woman, a weaver with whom I was in a relationship. The mythic references are more than just ironic. Creatures appear. A tribute to women: Clara Schumann, Sally at the piano, Leonora, the cow-herding women of myth. The division into “acts” is a somewhat ironic echo of the formal structures of previous films. The real me, the filmmaker me, is there, for example in the piano passages and above all with the children in the schoolyard, a ceremonial dance. Leonora is connecting the making of this very film to my personal failings. The film itself shows how I transcend those failings."
FOG LINE. 1970, 10 min.
"The fog lifts on a scene. For an attentive viewer the mental fog could also lift. It doesn’t go from white to full clarity. It just shows a piece of time, a section of a process in the landscape and in the mind of the viewer. The entire image slowly changes, the sky, the ground, what’s at the edges. The main features are the three trees and the wires. The trees stand there, manifesting their being. They have a soft shape without outline. The lines of the wires are something else. They relate to drawing rather than painting, the controlling mind rather than the imagination. The implications of this contrast go right through my work. There is something ethereal, ghostly. The viewer is invited to explore the screen, looking here and there, each person following a different path. Those whose path includes entering into the very emulsion that makes up the image are rewarded by the sight of ghost horses, the first animals in my films."
Special thanks to Malkah Manouel.
Rockaway Film Festival would like to thank VBX™~Vernam Basin Terminal for generously hosting us at the Arverne Cinema in addition to BBX™~Barbadoes Basin Terminal for contributing to such.
RFF also thanks Rockaway Artists Alliance and the National Park Service for hosting us in Fort Tilden.
RFF is proud to be sponsored by Blundstone®, Istic Illic Pictures, and NYC Ferry. The festival is made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Additional support provided by FRANC.