Strange Sinema 89: Visionaries of Time and Space - Thur. June 25 - 8PM


Oddball Films presents Strange Sinema, a monthly screening of new finds, old gems and offbeat oddities from Oddball Films’ vast collection of 16mm film prints. Drawing on his archive of over 50,000 films, Oddball Films director Stephen Parr has complied his 89th program of classic, strange, offbeat and unusual films. This installment, Strange Sinema 89: Visionaries of Time and Space, explores artists working with speed and light, time and space. By slowing and accelerating time, compressing and distorting space (and distance), arresting and suggesting movement, these filmmakers explode the boundaries of conventional film, inducing a meditative, trance-inducing and in some cases a near-epileptic response in the viewer. Other artists use new technologies creating invisible art by magnetism, prisms, lights, moving objects, converging lines, and number patterns. Films include the mesmerizing documentary Kinetic Art in Paris (1971), a viscerally challenging, kaleidoscopic homage to the future of perception, featuring some of the world’s foremost kinetic artists; Lapis (1965), made by cinema pioneer James Whitney consisting entirely of hundreds of constantly moving points of light and one of the most accessible experimental films ever made; Art For Tomorrow (1969) an eye-popping exploration of experimental tech-oriented art incorporating early IBM computers, cybernetics, heart beat triggers, and invisible art by magnetism all narrated by Walter Cronkite; Free Fall (1964) famed Canadian filmmaker Arthur Lipsett creates a synesthetic experience through the intensification of image and sound utilizing single-frame editing and tribal music; Maya Deren’s A Ritual in Transfigured Time (1946) incorporates film techniques -reprinting, varying camera speeds, and direction and movement of the camera-integrating representational performance art into abstract, non-narrative filmmaking through intersecting currents of subconscious, parallel realities; Paul Roubaix’s Allegro Ma Troppo (1963) is a hyperkinetic vision of Parisian nightlife between 6PM and 6AM, shot at two frames per second utilizing automatic cameras; A Chairy Tale (1957) the surrealistic virtuoso collaboration of three of the geniuses of the National Film Board of Canada; Norman McLaren, Claude Jutra and Evelyn Lambert, about a chair that refuses to be sat upon, forcing a young man to perform an acrobatic and comedic dance with the chair, with music by Ravi Shankar; and The Wizard of Speed and Time (1979) Mike Jitlov’s legendary high speed mind-blowing special effects short.


Date: Thursday, June 25, 2015 at 8:00PM

Venue: Oddball Films, 275 Capp Street San Francisco

Admission: $10.00 Limited Seating RSVP to RSVP@oddballfilm.com or (415) 558-8117
Web: http://oddballfilms.blogspot.com 


Featuring:


Kinetic Art in Paris (Color,1971)

The works of Kinetic artists Julio Le Parc, Victor Vasarely, John Rock Yvar aren’t the only things explored in detail in this ultra rare, quirky documentary that features music from the short-lived cult British pop duo White Trash. Viscerally challenging, this kaleidoscopic homage to light, sound, motion and restraint is quintessential viewing for anyone with a desire to be fascinated by anything…even if just for a moment. Don’t miss this!



Lapis (Color, 1965)

Cinema pioneer James Whitney’s film consists entirely of hundreds of constantly moving points of light. Lapis performs such marvelous transformations of positive and negative space, projected color and after-image, similarity and difference, that the viewer cannot help but contemplate the relationships of the unit to the whole, the individual consciousness to the cosmos, of space to time - and not a dry, forced meditation, but a supremely sensual, purely visual dialogue.
Like a single mandala moving within itself, the particles surge around each other in constant metamorphosis, a serene ecstasy of what Jung calls "individuation." For 10 minutes, a succession of beautiful designs grows incredibly, ever more intricate and astounding; sometimes the black background itself becomes the pattern, when paths are shunned by the moving dots. A voluptuous raga soundtrack by Ravi Shankar perfectly matches the film's flow, and helped to make LAPIS one of the most accessible "experimental films" ever made.
The images were all created with handmade cels, and the rotation of more than one of these cels creates some of the movements. John Whitney, his brother had built a pioneer computerized animation set-up—the prototype for the motion-control systems that later made possible such special effects as the "Star Gate" sequence of 2001. James used that set-up to shoot some of his handmade artwork, since it could ensure accuracy of placement and incremental movement.
*For more information about James Whitney’s work:




Art for Tomorrow (Color, 1969)

“The artist is beginning to react to the impact of science and technology and beginning to come to terms with it. The artist better be rather careful or he will be losing his job and the engineer will become the artist of the future.”
In this film, from the Twentieth Century television program narrated by Walter Cronkite the art of the future is foreseen in new techniques demonstrated by artists and engineers using distinctive methods and new technology including computers, cybernetics, heart beat triggers, invisible art by magnetism, prisms, lights, moving objects, converging lines, and number patterns. This fascinating look at the “future past” features a kaleidoscopic portrait of avant-garde art works by Yaacov Agam (who uses strobe lights), Wen-Ying Tsai (vibrating steel rods), John Mott-Smith (computer-generated ideas), *Jean Tinguely (machine-made sculpture), Victor Vasarely’s early experiments with IBM computers, Jean Dupuy and many more.
*Here’s a link to a clip from Tinguely’s mind-blowing Homage to New York (1960) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0MqsWqBX4wQ
 
Free Fall (B+W, 1964)
Free Fall features dazzling pixilation, in-camera superimpositions, percussive tribal music, syncopated rhythms and ironic juxtapositions. Using a brisk “single-framing” technique, Arthur Lipsett attempts to create a synesthetic experience through the intensification of image and sound. Citing the film theorist Sigfreud Kracauer, Lipsett writes, “Throughout this psychophysical reality, inner and outer events intermingle and fuse with each other – 'I cannot tell whether I am seeing or hearing – I feel taste, and smell sound – it's all one – I myself am the tone.'”
*Note: Free Fall was intended as a collaboration with the American composer John Cage, modeled on his system of chance operations. However, Cage subsequently withdrew his participation fearing Lipsett would attempt to control and thereby undermine the aleatory organization of audio and visuals.

Ritual in Transfigured Time (B+W, 1946)
Maya Deren's Ritual in Transfigured Time is a formalized, aesthetic composition of regimentation and studies of dynamic human forms that prefigure the films of such diverse filmmakers as Yvonne Rainer and Claire Denis. Deren incorporates representational performance art into abstract, non-narrative filmmaking through intersecting currents of subconscious, parallel realities, revealing the film's tone and intrinsic logic through the choreography of organic bodies in performance of ritual, and in the process, creates a haunting and sublime exposition on the spatial (rather than linear) dimensionality of time, synchronicity, and the potentiality of fate. With Rita Christiani, Maya Deren, Ana├»s Nin, Gore Vidal and Frank Westerbrook.
 
Allegro Ma Troppo (Color, 1963)
A Parisian evening, conveyed through automatic cameras and imaginative cinematography of the life of Paris between 6PM and 6AM shot at two frames per second utilizing automatic cameras.  From strippers to car crashes, Paul Roubaix’s Allegro Ma Troppo evokes the intensity and variety of nocturnal life in the City of Light through speeded-up action, freeze-frame, and virtuoso editing.


A Chairy Tale (B+W, 1957)

Shot partly with pixilation and partly at 12 frames a second this surrealistic fable is the directorial collaboration of three of the geniuses of the National Film Board of Canada; Norman McLaren, Claude Jutra and Evelyn Lambert. The musical accompaniment is by Indian musicians Ravi Shankar, Chatur Lal, and Modu Mullick. In this film, a chair, animated by Evelyn Lambart, refuses to be sat upon, forcing a young man to perform an acrobatic and comedic dance with the chair.

“A Chairy Tale” won the Canadian Film Award for Best Arts and Experimental Film, as well as a BAFTA Special Award, and earned an Academy Award nomination for Live Action Short Subject.


The Wizard of Speed and Time (Color, 1979)
A young man in a green wizard costume runs throughout America at super speed. Along the way, he gives a pretty girl a swift lift to another city, gives golden stars to other women who want a trip themselves. He then slips on a banana peel and comically crashes into a film stage, which he then brings to life in magical ways.
Jittlov is a special effects technician, and produced all of the special effects in the film himself, many through stop motion animation.
This short film originally was shown as a segment of an episode of 
The Wonderful World of Disney. The film segment then began to be shown at science fiction conventions around the country, gaining popularity, prompting Jittlov to eventually create a (semi) fictionalized account of how this short film came to be, in the form of a feature film.

Curator's Biography:
Stephen Parr’s previous programs have explored the erotic underbelly of sex-in-cinema (The Subject is Sex), the offbeat and bizarre (Oddities Beyond Belief), the pervasive effects of propaganda (Historical/Hysterical?) and oddities from his archives (Strange Sinema). He is the director of Oddball Film+Video and the San Francisco Media Archive (www.sfm.org), a non profit archive that preserves culturally significant films. He is a co-founder of Other Cinema DVD and a member of the Association of Moving Archivists (AMIA) where he is a frequent presenter.

About Oddball Films
Oddball films is the film component of Oddball Film+Video, a stock footage company providing offbeat and unusual film footage for feature films like Milk, documentaries like The Summer of Love, television programs like Mythbusters, clips for Boing Boing and web projects around the world.
Our films are almost exclusively drawn from our collection of over 50,000 16mm prints of animation, commercials, educational films, feature films, movie trailers, medical, industrial military, news out-takes and every genre in between. We’re actively working to present rarely screened genres of cinema as well as avant-garde and ethno-cultural documentaries, which expand the boundaries of cinema. Oddball Films is the largest film archive in Northern California and one of the most unusual private collections in the US. We invite you to join us in our weekly offerings of offbeat cinema.