Cinematic Synesthesia: A Sensory Overload - Thur. Aug. 4th - 8PM

Oddball Films presents Cinematic Synesthesia: A Sensory Overload, an evening of fascinating science docs divulging the secrets of the human senses and a handful of hyper-kinetic experimental shorts designed to overload your senses with barrages of sublime imagery. Enjoy the science spectacular Gateways to the Mind: The Story of the Human Senses (1958) - from the Bell Science series - about the glory and pitfalls of the human senses, hosted by Dr. Frank Baxter and featuring mind-bending sensory-deprivation animation from the legendary Chuck Jones. Find out what happens when your vision is flipped upside down (and you're paid to live like that for two weeks!) in the imported short Living in a Reversed World (1958). Cartoons sing about your senses in the vintage educational primer The Five Senses (1972). Your sensory re-education will be paired with five extraordinary short works that will stimulate all your senses with dazzling torrents of imagery and music. Caroline and Frank Mouris' Oscar-winning Frank Film (1973) is a stunning stop-motion collage animation of nearly 12,000 magazine cutouts and featuring two concurrent soundtracks. Psychedelic animator Vince Collins loses his mind in the eye-popping Fantasy (1973). Canadian experimental filmmaker Arthur Lipsett's Free-Fall (1964) is a pulsating, eye-popping montage of still and moving images. The hypnotic Tanka (1976) utilizes optical printing to bring the intricate and ominous images of the Tibetan Book of the Dead to life. And the early birds will get a whirlwind tour of vintage Paris at two frames a second in Paul Roubaix's Allegro Ma Troppo (1963). Smell the sounds, taste the visuals, get swept away in cinematic synesthesia. Everything screened on 16mm film from our stock footage archive.

Date: Thursday, August 4th, 2016 at 8:00pm
Venue: Oddball Films, 275 Capp Street San Francisco
Admission: $10.00 Limited Seating RSVP to or (415) 558-8117


Gateways to the Mind (Color, 1958, d. Owen Crump)
All all-out science spectacular! The fifth in the series of edutaining Bell Science films made for television and distributed to classrooms across the world.  The first several were directed by Frank Capra with animation by UPA, but this installment - overseen by Jack Warner - is directed by Owen Crump with animation by the legendary Chuck Jones, including a sequence of the little man inside your head that controls your reactions to sensation as well as a pretty bleak sequence illustrating the hallucinogenic side effects of sensory deprivation.  Other highlights of this over-the-top spectacular are enormous set pieces of eyes, ears, and other sense organs, as well as a literal sensory circus with clowns and acrobats.  Dr. Frank Baxter is our ever-congenial host as he guides us through the fabulous world of the human senses. Did we mention animated hallucinations from Chuck Jones? Due to its length, this 50 minute extravaganza will be shown in 3 segments.

Frank Film
(Color, 1973)
This stop-motion classic of independent cinema presents 11,592 separate shots of common objects forming complex, rapidly moving patterns accompanied by two continuous narrative soundtracks played simultaneously. The result is a collective autobiography that Andrew Sarris called "a nine-minute evocation of America's exhilarating everythingness.” This film has screened over 45 times at Oddball (although not in over a year) -it’s that great!

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Free Fall (B+W, 1964)
The poetic masterpiece of a troubled Seer! 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.

Tanka (Color, 1976)
"An extraordinary film."-Melinda Wortz, Art News
Tanka means, literally, a thing rolled up. David LeBrun’s Tanka is brilliantly powered by the insight that Tibetan religious paintings are intended to be perceived in constant movement rather than repose. The film, photographed from Tibetan scroll paintings of the sixteenth to nineteenth centuries, is a cyclical vision of ancient gods and demons, wild revels, raging fires and sea battles with monsters-an animated journey through the image world of the “Tibetan Book of the Dead”.  With an  original score by Ashish Khan (sarod), Buddy Arnold (saxophone, clarinet, flute), Pranesh Khan (tablas) and Francisco Lupica (percussion).

Living in a Reversed World (B+W, 1958) 

An excellent re-rending of our external visual environment, directors and vision specialists Ivo Kohler and Theodore Erismann stitch the viewer into a weird world of screwy visual illusion and corky dystopia via the use of optical illusions.  

Fantasy (Color, 1976) 
A hallucinatory handmade film from San Francisco animation legend Vince Collins evokes his particular brand of surrealist psychedelia.

For the Early Birds:

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. 

Curator’s Biography
Kat Shuchter is a graduate of UC Berkeley in Film Studies. She is a filmmaker, artist and esoteric film hoarder. She has helped program shows at the PFA, The Nuart and Cinefamily at the Silent Movie Theater and was crowned “Found Footage Queen” of Los Angeles, 2009. She has programmed over 250 shows at Oddball on everything from puberty primers to experimental animation.
About Oddball Films
Oddball Films is a stock footage company providing offbeat and unusual film footage for feature films like The Nice Guys and Milk, documentaries like The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution, Silicon Valley, Kurt Cobain: The Montage of Heck, television programs like Transparent and Mythbusters, clips for Boing Boing and web projects around the world.

Our screenings 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.