Dream Theater - Surrealist Cinema - Thur. Jan. 28th - 8PM

Oddball Films presents Dream Theater: Surrealist Cinema, a night of 16mm short films and animation that delve into the non-narrative world of dreams and dream logic with works by Man Ray, Roman Polanski, Georges Melies, Maurice Sendak, Istvan Szabo, Busby Berkeley and more. Realism is overrated and this program explores the magnitude of creative expression when freed from the constraints of rational and linear structures. Man Ray's surrealist classic L'Etoile de Mer (1928) captures the furtive, flirting moments of sexual desire, ever so dreamily obscured. Two men emerge from the sea and search for meaning in a meaningless world in Roman Polanski's early short Two Men and a Wardrobe (1958). István Szabó's A Dream About a House (1972) wryly demonstrates the absurdities of war when contrasted with the consistencies of the familial unit.  Georges Melies employs his magic bag of cinematic tricks to bring to life the story of the infamous hallucinating nobleman in excerpts from Baron Munchausen's Dream (1911). Busby Berkeley choreographs a dreamy musical sequence featuring hundreds of bathing beauties in By a Waterfall from Footlight Parade (1933). Slip off into a dream world of cannibal cooks, naked babies and delicious pastry with the beloved banned children's classic In the Night Kitchen (1975) and join cartoon heroine Little Lulu as she hits her head and ends up in a bizarro nightmare of celebrity babies and bartending storks in The Babysitter (1947). So, leave logic at the door and treat yourself to a beautiful night of nonsense!

Date: Thursday, January 28th 2016 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


L’Etoile de Mer (B+W, 1928)
a.k.a. The Star of the Sea and The Starfish
Directed and written by Man Ray.
Based on a poem by Robert Desnos.

A classic of Surrealist cinema, Man Ray’s L’Etoile des Mer (Starfish) is a haunting, dreamlike ode to subconscious sexual desire, inspired by a poem from Robert Desnos and starring the iconic Kiki of Montparnasse.

"In the modernist high tide of 1920s experimental filmmaking, L’Etoile de Mer is a perverse moment of grace, a demonstration that the cinema went farther in its great silent decade than most filmmakers today could ever imagine. Surrealist photographer Man Ray’s film collides words with images (the intertitles are from an otherwise lost work by poet Robert Desnos) to make us psychological witnesses, voyeurs of a kind, to a sexual encounter. A character picks up a woman who is selling newspapers. She undresses for him, but then he seems to leave her. Less interested in her than in the weight she uses to keep her newspapers from blowing away, the man lovingly explores the perceptions generated by her paperweight, a starfish in a glass tube. As the man looks at the starfish, we become aware through his gaze of metaphors for cinema, and for vision itself, in lyrical shots of distorted perception that imply hallucinatory, almost masturbatory sexuality." - Donald Faulkner

A Dream About a House (Color, 1972)
Part of István Szabó's trilogy Budapest, Why I Love It, this bizarro poetic paean to his birth city starts out with a fish-eye travelogue of classic edifices before happening upon a strangely choreographed street scene. Time and space are compressed and the distinction between indoors and outdoors eradicated as assorted personages eat, sleep, marry, die, and chop wood, all out in the open. The camera pans and zooms fluidly to follow various figures, who not infrequently turn to wave back at us.

Two Men and a Wardrobe (B+W, 1958)
Roman Polanski’s darkly comic early film has many of the director’s preoccupations already present: alienation, crisis in identity, and a bizarre view of humanity that sees us as some very strange animals. In this quasi-surrealist jaunt, two otherwise normal looking men emerge from the sea carrying an enormous wardrobe, which they proceed to carry around a nearby town. Seeking fun, solace, or maybe some place to put the damn thing, all the two find is rejection at every turn. Watch Polanski in a bit part he later reprises in Chinatown. “Two Men and a Wardrobe” initiated Polanski’s collaboration with Krzysztof Komeda, the great Polish jazz composer who went on to score such Polanski hallmarks as Knife in the Water, Cul de Sac, and Rosemary's Baby.

Baron Munchausen’s Dream (B+W, 1911)
From the influential Georges Melies comes the strange drunken adventure of the Baron. After feasting and drinking, Baron Munchausen is put to bed, and he begins to drift into dreamland-where he travels to distant lands and times-- including ancient Egypt, Rome and Greece, and is met with nightmarish creatures. This film makes excellent use of extravagant sets, props, and costumes while the mirror serves as the dream portal.

In the Night Kitchen (Gene Dietch, 1975, color)
With its Sunday comics format and flash of baby nudity, Maurice Sendak’s In the Night Kitchen was groundbreaking (and censored!) upon its 1970 publication. Mickey tumbles into the pantry metropolis of the night kitchen, landing in giant bowl of batter for the morning cake. After hours baking is overseen by a trio of Oliver Hardy look-a-likes, who pop him in the oven. Freely referencing Windsor McKay’s Little Nemo,Sendak enhanced his standing as cool uncle to generations of kids. Animator Oldrich Haberle brings the book’s bold illustrations to vivid life. Angelo Michajlov's Kitchen Sink-o-Pators provide the appropriately swinging score.

The Babysitter (Color, 1947)
Bizarre Little Lulu cartoon- Lulu is taking care of a very naughty baby who won’t stay in his crib.  When Lulu hits her head while chasing him, she dreams a visit to the fabled Stork Club night spot- where all the famous Hollywood guests and musicians are babies… a weird one for the ages!

"By a Waterfall" from Footlight Parade (B+W, 1933)
A dazzling and jaw-dropping musical number featuring dozens of lovely synchronized swimmers all choreographed by the legendary and hallucinatory Busby Berkeley.  Ruby Keeler serenades her love by a waterfall and as he nods off to sleep, the waters come alive with bathing beauties, who then form incredible visuals and patterns with only their bodies culminating in the incredible "Human Waterfall".  This extravagant number took over 6 days to film and the pool used for filming took up an entire sound stage and required 20,000 gallons of water to be pumped per minute.

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, educationals, 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.