Strange Sinema 58: Bizarre Cinema Histories - Thurs. Nov. 29 - 8 PM

Oddball Films presents Strange Sinema 58: Bizarre Cinema Histories, a monthly screening of new finds, old gems and offbeat oddities from Oddball Films’ collection of over 50,000 film prints. Tonight we present an offbeat look at the origins and bizarre expressions of cinema through historical inventions, experimental innovations and hand-made films throughout the ages. We start off with a fascinating documentary The Origins of the Motion Picture (1955) examining cinema history from Leonardo Da Vinci to Thomas Edison featuring oddities such as the Thaumatrope, the Phenakistiscope, Muybridge’s Zoopraxiscope and more. We follow with the early cinema experiments of Georges Méliès in excerpts from Baron Munchausen’s Hallucinations (1911) and pair of animated satires of Hollywood including Mickey’s Gala Premiere (1933) featuring M*ckey Mouse and a cast of show biz celebs viciously lampooned for our enjoyment, Daffy Duck Goes to Hollywood (1938) where our duckster makes movie mayhem by creating a masterpiece using stock footage only to enrage his boss! Witness Camera Magic (1943), a rare curio by notorious oddball photographer Arthur “Weegee” Felig demonstrating a variety of camera techniques used to produce special effects. Moving on to the 70s we take a cue from Stan Brakhage, Len Lye, and other avant-garde film makers in Michael and Mimi Warshaw’s How to Make a Movie Without a Camera (1972) and Yvonne Andersen’s Let’s Make a Film (1971), films which encourages kids to make beautiful movies by scratching and drawing directly on film and animating films using hinged cut-outs, clay, toys, painted film and live action. Another rare doc Richter on Film (1972) profiles Dadaist and abstract/avant garde filmmaker Hans Richter as he talks about his ground-breaking experimental films of the 1920's including excerpts from Rhythm 21 (1921), Race Symphony (1928), and Ghosts Before Breakfast (1927). Additional films include Mandatory Edits (1965), a wacko reel of sexually suggestive and violent censored film clips marked for the cutting room floor and saved by a film collector and Bombay Movies (1977), an inside look at the bizarre world of Bollywood films in the 1970s. 

Plus! Rare avant garde shorts and excerpts featuring Lightplay: Black- White-Grey (excerpt) (1932) by Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, Site (1964) (excerpt) by Robert Morris & Stan Vanderbeek and Linoleum (1967) (excerpt) by Robert Rauschenberg 

Date: Thursday, November 29, 2012 at 8:00pm 
Venue: Oddball Films, 275 Capp Street San Francisco 
Admission: $10.00 Limited Seating RSVP to or (415) 558-8117 

Highlights Include:

Origins of the Motion Picture (B+W, 1955)
This fascinating documentary describes the events leading to the perfection of motion pictures, and examines the technological development, from the theories of Leonardo Da Vinci to the inventions of Thomas Edison. The film examines reliefs on Indian temple walls, DaVinci’s Camera Obscura, the Magic Lantern, the many facets of moving image inventions from the Thaumatrope, or “wonder turner,” the Phenakistiscope, Muybridge’s Zoopraxiscope, the Zoetrope, Edison’s, Kinetograph and many more evolutionary moving image projection devices. Produced by the U.S. Navy in collaboration with The Library of Congress, The Smithsonian Institution, the National Archives, Thomas Alva Edison Foundation and the George Eastman House of Photography.

How to Make a Movie Without a Camera (Color, 1972) 
Taking a cue from Stan Brakhage, Len Lye, and other avant-garde film makers, Michael and Mimi Warshaw encourage kids to make beautiful movies by scratching and drawing directly on film. Using just these simple techniques and a catchy soundtrack, the Warshaws show that it doesn’t take a big studio budget or an all-star cast to craft a movie that makes more sense than Inception.

“Michael and Mimi Warshaw’s film is a non-stop sampling of the wonders of found footage and hand-made movie techniques. The film incorporates techniques such as scratching, acetate inks, food coloring, felt tip pens, bleaching, rub-ons, and various stock or found footage elements creating an instructional yet experimental film. Famed avant garde filmmakers such as Len Lye, Stan Brakhage, and dadist Hans Richter created entire bodies of innovative, abstract cameraless film using direct physical techniques such as these.

Camera Magic (B+W, 1943) 
This rare curio by notorious oddball photographer Arthur “Weegee” Felig demonstrates a variety of camera techniques used to produce special effects with an ordinary 16mm motion picture camera without employing special equipment. A man moves to embrace a woman and we watch her vanish. On the beach a woman smiles while her decapitated head lies next to her. More offbeat scenes demonstrate tips and tricks for the amateur and professional alike. Wacky, weird and nothing like it in the entire Castle film collection this came from!

Excerpts from Baron Munchausen’s Hallucinations (B+W, 1911) 
Georges Méliès was the magician par excellence of the early cinema, innovating constantly to bring cinema to its full expressive potential. In his rarely-seen version of Baron Munchausen, Méliès takes on the fantasies of the great traveling Baron, using new camera tricks and exquisite sets to bring the stories to life.

Daffy Duck in Hollywood (1938) 
Watch Daffy Duck wreak havoc on a movie set by cutting and splicing together various clips into finished product of a movie contains nothing but newsreel titles and clips surrealist style. An anarchistic and avant garde masterpiece!

Mandatory Edits (Color+B+W, c.1950- 1965) 
This wacko reel of censored film clips will be presented as found. Marked “Mandatory Edits” and compiled presumably by the editor at the big Los Angeles TV station where this reel originated, these feature film clips were apparently deemed too violent, sexual, suggestive or shocking to be shown on TV. Jarring edits take you from the Civil War to WWII to the old West, to Ancient times and back, and from color to B &W. See flaming arrows in the chest, suggestive undergarments, bloody stumps, heaving breasts, and so much more! See Gary Cooper, Buddy Greco, Burt Lancaster, Charo, and a cast of thousands together in the boldest film that never was!

Let’s Make a Film (Color, 1971) 
Photographed by Yvonne Andersen with narration by Dominic Falcone Shows how children between the ages of five and eighteen, working at the Yellow Ball Workshop, make animated films using hinged cut-outs, clay, toys, painted film, constructed forms, and live action. Follows one child through the entire process of making a short animated film with 16mm Bolex Camera on a tripod, and using rewinders and viewer as editing tools.

Mickey’s Gala Premiere (B+W, 1933) 
Mickey and Minnie attend the premiere of the Big Mouse’s new hit cartoon in this animation from the height of Hollywood’s Golden Age. All the stars of the day are at the show, and most of them are ruthlessly lampooned. Get a taste of Hollywood’s lost glamour in this cavalcade of in-jokes and personal attacks.

Bombay Movies (Color, 1977) 
The entire output of the American film industry is the merest trickle in comparison with India, where the original Moguls release many times more films each year than the Americans can ever dream of. Studios in Bombay’s Hollywood, Bollywood, churn out a smorgasbord of musicals and exploitation films on a daily basis, serving the needs of India’s vast moviegoing public. Follow mega-star Vinod Khanna as he introduces American audiences to cinema, Indian-style.

Richter on Film (Color, 1972) 
The brilliant painter, Dadaist and abstract/avant garde filmmaker Hans Richter talks about his experimental films of the 1920's. Excerpts from Rhythm 2 (1921), Race Symphony (1928), and Ghosts Before Breakfast (1927) are included. Richter moved from Switzerland to the United States in 1940 and taught in the Institute of Film Techniques at the City College of New York. While living in New York, Richter directed two feature films, Dreams That Money Can Buy (1947) and 8 x 8: A Chess Sonata in 8 Movements (1957) in collaboration with Max Ernst, Jean Cocteau, Paul Bowles, Fernand Léger, Alexander Calder, Marcel Duchamp, and others. In 1957, he finished a film entitled Dadascope with original poems and prose spoken by their creators: Hans Arp, Marcel Duchamp, Raoul Hausmann, Richard Huelsenbeck, and Kurt Schwitters. Richter was also the author of a first-hand account of the Dada movement titled Dada: Art and Anti-Art which also included his reflections on the emerging Neo-Dada artworks.

Plus these avant-garde art films:
Rhythm 21 (1921) by Hans Richter Lightplay: Black-White-Grey (excerpt) (1932) by Laszlo Moholy-Nagy Site (1964) (excerpt) by Robert Morris & Stan Vanderbeek
Linoleum (1967) (excerpt) by Robert Rauschenberg