Anthology Film Archives

JANUARY 20-26

Please scroll all the way down to see all of the offerings we have this week!

AVANT-GARDE FILMS BY POLISH WOMEN ARTISTS OF THE 1970s
Streaming online from January 13-February 2 (extended!)

The 1970s represented a period of revival in Polish art, which manifested itself in artists’ interest in new media, among other aspects. An especially striking feature of the art of the period was a strong tendency to engage with the moving image, and in particular with the nascent medium of video, which made its appearance within the realm of Polish art in 1973. Women were pioneers in the fields of both avant-garde film and video, despite the extremely limited access to film cameras (and especially portable video cameras) in Poland under communism. Notwithstanding these obstacles and the fact that art academies in Poland did not offer the possibility to work with the medium of film, female artists succeeded in developing their own, original filmic language. They created both analytical and Conceptual works – structural films and impressionistic pieces devoted to the question of gender, approaching womanhood and its experience from a variety of perspectives. This program embraces films representing both these tendencies and features recently re-discovered films, such as ARTA by Teresa Tyszkiewicz, which had not been digitized until 2020, as well as films by Jadwiga Singer, whose archive has been in the custody of the Arton Foundation since 2018. Other artists included in the program are Jolanta Marcolla, Iwona Lemke-Konart, Izabella Gustowska, Natalia LL, and Ewa Partum. [Click here for full program details, and here to stream the program.]

Curated by Marika Kuźmicz, this program has been organized in collaboration with the Arton Foundation/Fundacja Arton and is co-presented with the Polish Cultural Institute New York.

A non-profit organization formed in Warsaw in 2010, the Arton Foundation collects and preserves Polish art from the 1970s – films, photography, and video – as well as creating publications and exhibitions documenting the art of the period. For more info visit: www.fundacjaarton.pl

We would like to thank the following artists and institutions for making the films available: Izabella Gustowska, Iwona Lemke-Konart, Jolanta Marcolla, Natalia LL, Ewa Partum, Jadwiga and Jacek Singer’s family, Zdzisław Sosnowski, lokal_30 Gallery, and Filmoteka Muzeum of the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw.

The program can be accessed here for a streaming rental fee of $8. Discounted $5 tickets are available for AFA Members and Polish Cultural Institute New York subscribers. AFA Members, email hannah@anthologyfilmarchives for your promo code; PCI subscribers, email nyc.office@instytutpolski.org.

Those who rent the program will also gain access to a pre-recorded introduction from the curator Marika Kuźmicz; a video discussion with filmmakers Iwona Lemke-Konart, Jolanta Marcolla, and Ewa Partum, moderated by Kuźmicz; and two bonus films by Izabella Gustowska.

Jonas Mekas’s LITHUANIA AND THE COLLAPSE OF THE USSR
STREAMING FOR FREE!

To mark the 30th anniversary of the tragic and courageous struggle that led the Lithuanian people to regain their independence, the Lithuanian Culture Institute and Humboldt Books organized a two-day event on January 13 & 14, hosted by Scandinavia House and the Brooklyn Rail. This event comprised two international online panel discussions dedicated to Jonas Mekas and the book “Transcript 04 44’ 14”: Lithuania and the Collapse of the USSR” (Humboldt Books, 2020). Inspired by Mekas’s film, LITHUANIA AND THE COLLAPSE OF THE USSR (2008, 286 min), this new book comprises a transcript of the entire film, alongside an essay by the editors, and copious illustrations. For the online panel discussions, the editors of the publication, Francesco Urbano Ragazzi, engaged in dialogue with other thinkers, artists, and historians – including the first Head of State of the Republic of Lithuania, Vytautas Landsbergis – in a virtual roundtable involving Italy, France, Israel, Lithuania, and the U.S.

In conjunction with this two-day event – and as part of our ongoing 50th anniversary celebration – Anthology is presenting Mekas’s film, free of charge. To access the film, click here.

For more details regarding the panel discussions hosted by Scandinavia House and the Brooklyn Rail, of which recordings are now available, see below.

“This video is made up of footage that I took with my Sony from the television newscasts during the collapse of the USSR, with the home noises in the background. It’s a capsule record of what happened and how it happened during that crucial period as recorded by the television newscasters. It can be also viewed as a classic Greek drama in which the destinies of nations are changed drastically by the unbending, bordering-on-irrational will of one small man, one small nation determined to regain its freedom, backed by Olympus in its fight against the Might & Power, against the Impossible.” –J.M.

For more on LITHUANIA AND THE COLLAPSE OF THE USSR, click here.

This online engagement is presented with support from the Consulate General of the Republic of Lithuania in New York; special thanks to Gražina Michnevičiūtė (Cultural Attaché). Thanks also to Francesco Urbano Ragazzi, Oona & Sebastian Mekas, the Scandinavia House, and The Brooklyn Rail.

“Transcript 04 44’ 14”: Lithuania and the Collapse of the USSR” is edited by Francesco Urbano Ragazzi, and published by Humboldt Books.

Panel discussions (recordings now available):

Scandinavia House:
THE CINEMATIC DIARY AS A TOOL FOR HISTORICAL AND POLITICAL WRITING

Moderator: Juozas Kazlas; Participants: Vytautas Landsbergis, Giovanna Silva, Francesco Urbano Ragazzi, Pascal Le Segretain, and Oona Mekas.

Brooklyn Rail:
RE-FILMING HISTORY AS SUBJECTIVE MEDIA ARCHAEOLOGY

Moderator: Francesco Urbano Ragazzi; Participants: Kelly Taxter, Lukas Brasiskis, Avi Lubin, and Philippe-Alain Michaud.

• RARE ESSENTIAL CINEMA: Roberto Rossellini’s THE TAKING OF POWER BY LOUIS XIV
Available for streaming rental, through Tues, Jan 26 (free for AFA Members!)

A late masterpiece by Roberto Rossellini, and the film that launched his extraordinary series of made-for-TV “history films,” THE TAKING OF POWER BY LOUIS XIV (1966, 100 min) is part of Anthology’s foundational Essential Cinema repertory cycle. But due to the rarity of accessible 35mm prints, it has been many years since we’ve screened it. Happily, thanks to Janus Films, we are able to present an online engagement of a beautiful digital transfer of the film, as part of our 50th Anniversary celebrations.

Made for French television, LOUIS XIV marked the beginning of a period in which Rossellini embraced the potential of television to reach a truly mass audience, an accessibility he strove to harness in order to illuminate historical figures, periods, and ideas. He would go on to make television films about the Apostles (ACTS OF THE APOSTLES, 1969), SOCRATES (1971), BLAISE PASCAL (1972), AUGUSTINE OF HIPPO (1972), the Medici (THE AGE OF THE MEDICI, 1973), Descartes (CARTESIUS, 1974), and Jesus Christ (THE MESSIAH, 1975), all of them distinguished by their intellectual rigor, their radical lack of adornment or dramatic hyperbole, and their profound commitment to transmitting knowledge and provoking thought.

Though each of these films are remarkable accomplishments, and together add up to a truly unique phenomenon in the annals of the cinema, LOUIS XIV is arguably the greatest of the history films. A portrait of the early years of France’s “Sun King,” it chronicles the death of chief minister Cardinal Mazarin, the construction of the palace at Versailles, and the extravagant meals of the royal court, all of which is recounted with the same meticulous quotidian detail that Rossellini brought to his contemporary portraits of postwar Italy.

“[T]his beautifully mounted, witty, and slyly didactic account of what Louis XIV did at Versailles is about a good many things: the rise of the bourgeoisie, the king as director of staged events, the formation of the modern state, the precedence in politics of style over content. An endlessly thought-provoking masterpiece.” –Jonathan Rosenbaum

“Rossellini is not striving to create an illusion of well-rounded, lifelike characters or immersive historical detail, but to offer an analysis and an argument. In this case, it’s an argument drawn from the work of the historians Philippe Erlanger and Jean-Dominique de la Rochefoucauld, both consultants on the project: that Louis was able to tame a rebellious aristocracy partly by imposing on them fashions in food, clothing and architecture that were expensive enough to keep them in permanent debt.” –Dave Kehr, NEW YORK TIMES

 Click here to access THE TAKING OF POWER BY LOUIS XIV. The streaming rental fee is $10, but AFA Members can stream the film for free! Members, please contact hannah@anthologyfilmarchives.org for your promo code.

PORTRAITS OF JONAS MEKAS
New addition: Brigitte Cornand’s MY COUNTRY IS CINEMA

Soon after our founder Jonas Mekas passed away in January 2019, Anthology launched an ongoing, comprehensive retrospective devoted to his enormous body of film and video work. By the time we were forced to shutter our theaters in mid-March, due to the coronavirus, that retrospective had very nearly come to a close: the fifth and final installment devoted to Jonas’s own films was never presented theatrically, but we did move several of those programs online in the early days of the pandemic (and will reschedule the few remaining programs when possible). However, we also intended to devote a chapter of the film series to a selection of film portraits of Jonas by other filmmakers and artists. Now, on the occasion of Anthology’s 50th Anniversary, we’ll be presenting some of these filmed portraits online. No one documented Jonas Mekas’s life as thoroughly and persistently as Jonas himself, but these films and videos portray his life and work from another perspective, showing another side of a filmmaker, artist, writer, and friend who is greatly missed.

At the heart of this 50th anniversary series are Jonas’s appearances on three different public television programs devoted to independent, experimental cinema: Charles Levine’s CINEMA FORUM, Gerald O’Grady’s FILM-MAKERS, and Robert Gardner’s SCREENING ROOM. Jonas visited these programs in, respectively, 1971, 1976, and 1981, leading the three together to form (among other things) a kind of chronicle of the first phase of Anthology’s history, from its founding in 1970, through its relocation to Wooster Street in the mid-1970s, to its renovation of the Second Avenue Courthouse throughout the mid-to-late 80s.

In addition to these programs, the series includes Jackie Raynal’s illuminating and thoughtful REMINISCENCES OF JONAS MEKAS (her contribution to the French television series “Cinéma, de notre temps”), as well as a selection of short films by John Klacsmann, Andrew Lampert, Karin Schneider & Nicolás Guagnini, and Peter Sempel.

And this week we premiere a new addition to the series: Brigitte Cornand’s MY COUNTRY IS CINEMA. SCENES FROM THE LIFE OF JONAS MEKAS (1999).

All films (with the exception of the SCREENING ROOM episode) stream for free!

[Special note: Anthology’s collection includes the master tapes for the complete run of CINEMA FORUM; we’re preserved them, and are very happy to announce that we’ll be making all of them available online in 2021!]

Brigitte Cornand
MY COUNTRY IS CINEMA. SCENES FROM THE LIFE OF JONAS MEKAS

1999, 58 min, video
Filmmaker Brigitte Cornand has made numerous documentary portraits of artists including Joan Jonas, Annette Messager, Kiki Smith, and especially Louise Bourgeois (her long association with Bourgeois resulted in several intimate and perceptive films about the great artist). In her portrait of Mekas, Jonas reflects on the destiny of his Lithuanian homeland, his arrival in New York, his achievements in the realm of avant-garde cinema, and his filmic practice.

Charles Levine
CINEMA FORUM (with Jonas Mekas)

1971, 58 min, video. Preserved by Anthology Film Archives.
On July 14, 1971, Jonas Mekas was the very first guest on a new show produced and hosted by experimental filmmaker Charles Levine for Public Access Channel “C”. This station had recently been established by George Stoney, the renowned filmmaker, educator, and public access pioneer, and Red Burns, with whom Stoney co-founded the Alternate Media Center (AMC) at NYU. CINEMA FORUM would be produced from 1971-72, and would welcome filmmakers and artists including Mike Kuchar, Storm De Hirsch, Elaine Summers, Rosalind Schneider, Jud Yalkut, Taka Iimura, and Ed Emshwiller, among others. For the inaugural episode, Jonas spoke about several topics, including his own films, his role as founder and publisher of Film Culture and columnist for the Village Voice, the philosophy of the Film-Makers’ Cooperative, and, of course, Anthology Film Archives, which had opened its doors just the year before. Jonas discusses the principal behind the founding of Anthology, and the need he and his fellow co-founders perceived for an institution of its kind.

Gerald O’Grady
FILM-MAKERS (with Jonas Mekas)

1976, 28 min, video
“Developed and directed by Gerald O’Grady – scholar and founder of the legendary Center for Media Study at SUNY Buffalo in the early 1970s – the series, FILM-MAKERS, was broadcast on American public television channels from 1976-77 and geared to the independent and experimental film world. It helped to promote marginal artistic practices that were generally misunderstood by the public at large. O’Grady would talk with his guests, filmmakers and artists such as Stan Vanderbeek, Peter Kubelka, Paul Sharits, Robert Breer, and Jonas Mekas. They would comment on their work, presented in a media space that was the first of its kind. [Today] FILM-MAKERS constitutes invaluable archival material for the history of independent and experimental cinema.” –CINÉMA DU RÉEL

Robert Gardner
SCREENING ROOM (with Jonas Mekas)
1981, 75 min, video. Presented courtesy of Documentary Educational Resources (DER).
SCREENING ROOM was a 1970s Boston television series that for almost ten years offered independent filmmakers a chance to show and discuss their work on a commercial (ABC-TV) affiliate station. The series was developed and hosted by filmmaker Robert Gardner (DEAD BIRDS, FOREST OF BLISS), who was Chairman of the Department of Visual and Environmental Studies and Director of the Carpenter Center for Visual Arts at Harvard for many years. Jonas visited SCREENING ROOM in October 1981 to discuss and show excerpts from his own work, as well as that of other filmmakers, including Bruce Baillie, Maya Deren, and Joseph Cornell. Jonas also took advantage of his visit to promote his ongoing efforts to establish Anthology in a new home at the Second Avenue Courthouse, which the institution had acquired in 1979 – a dream that, after nearly 10 years of fundraising and construction, would be realized when Anthology reopened in its current home in 1988.
[Please note: this episode is no longer available for free via Anthology’s Vimeo page, but it is available for a streaming rental fee of just $3.95 courtesy of Documentary Educational Resources; click here to rent it. DER is offering numerous other SCREENING ROOM episodes as well; you can browse all of them on this page.]

Jackie Raynal
REMINISCENCES OF JONAS MEKAS

2015, 53 min, digital. In English and French with English subtitles. With Jonas Mekas, Jackie Raynal, André S. Labarthe, and Patrice Rollet.
Jackie Raynal has been a crucial figure in both French and American film culture for the past fifty years, as a filmmaker (DEUX FOIS), actress and editor (she has worked with everyone from Eric Rohmer, Jean-Daniel Pollet, and Philippe Garrel, to Ulrike Ottinger, Yvonne Rainer, and Abel Ferrara), and as the Director of the legendary Bleecker Street Cinema through the late 1970s-80s. Having already created one short film about Jonas Mekas [NOTES ON JONAS MEKAS (2000)], Raynal was commissioned by Andre S. Labarthe to create a more expansive portrait of her longtime friend and colleague, for the long-running program “Cinéma, de notre temps.” The result is both an affectionate, loose, and handmade film, in the tradition of Mekas’s own work, and a self-reflexive essay on the difficulty of making a portrait about a filmmaker whose entire oeuvre comprises a series of self-portraits. Asking herself, “What can one film regarding Jonas Mekas that he hasn’t already filmed himself?,” Raynal has created a playful and revealing work. Thanks in large part to the onscreen presence of Labarthe and the eloquent Mekas scholar Patrice Rollet, REMINISCENCES stealthily and unassumingly develops from a charmingly casual portrait into a penetrating, rigorous meditation on the multiple dimensions and enduring importance of Mekas’s cinema.

Peter Sempel
JONAS TOWARDS BROADWAY

1994/2019, 2 min, video. Music by Peter Brötzmann.
&
3 FRIENDS SINGING (…IN THE DESERT): JONAS, LEO LETAS, ADOLFAS MEKAS

1994/2019, 2.5 min, video
Two short portraits of Jonas Mekas by filmmaker and veteran Jonas chronicler, Peter Sempel. Sempel has made films with or about Kazuo Ohno, Nick Cave, Blixa Bargeld, Nina Hagen, and Lemmy Kilmister, as well as a series of portraits of Mekas: JONAS IN THE DESERT (1994), JONAS AT THE OCEAN (2002), and JONAS IN THE JUNGLE (2013), which we hope to screen theatrically at a later date.

Karin Schneider & Nicolás Guagnini
AXIOM OF CHOICE

2003, 5 min, 16mm-to-digital, silent
“Evoking the physiognomy of a Rembrandt portrait, AXIOM OF CHOICE depicts Jonas Mekas and his son Sebastian, their heads rotating in radiant chiaroscuro against a black ground. With Mekas at its center, the references to cinematic machinery abound in this work: from the proto-filmic zoetrope (which used a spinning cylinder to create the illusion of a moving image), to the flickering zoom of Ernie Gehr’s film SERENE VELOCITY, to the enormous gyrating machine at the center of Michael Snow’s LA RÉGION CENTRALE.” – Richard Birkett, Karin Schneider & Nicolás Guagnini

Andrew Lampert
QUESTION A DAY (Questions for Jonas Mekas)

2008, 10.5 min, digital
In 2008, Andrew Lampert, employed as the film archivist of Anthology Film Archives, endeavored to ask Jonas Mekas one trivial or profound question a day. This is a selection.

John Klacsmann
ELEGY FOR J.M.

2019, 4 min, 35mm-to-digital
“An elegy for Jonas Mekas et al.
A readymade requiem."
–J.K.

Created by Anthology’s Archivist John Klacsmann, the visual track of ELEGY FOR J.M. is the result of an encoding malfunction while preparing a clip of Jonas Mekas’s LOST LOST LOST (1976), a happy digital accident in keeping with the spontaneity and openness to chance embodied by Jonas’s diary films themselves.

Alex Winter’s ZAPPA
Virtual theatical engagement!

Numerous films have been made about, by, and with the legendary musician, artist, and cultural figure Frank Zappa. This new documentary portrait, however, distinguishes itself both for the depth of its exploration into Zappa’s life and work and for the unfettered access to the Zappa family trust and its archive that its makers managed to achieve. Indeed, the film itself involved a larger effort to preserve and digitize thousands of hours of unreleased material from Zappa’s private archives, an ambitious project the fruits of which are on full display in the finished film.

Directed by filmmaker and actor Alex Winter (yes, Bill, of BILL & TED’S EXCELLENT ADVENTURE fame), ZAPPA (2020, 129 min) features appearances by Frank’s widow Gail Zappa and several of Frank’s musical collaborators, including Mike Keneally, Ian Underwood, Steve Vai, Pamela Des Barres, Bunk Gardner, David Harrington, Scott Thunes, Ruth Underwood, Ray White, and others. Chronicling the public and private life of its subject with intelligence and sensitivity, it paints a portrait of Zappa as a figure of boundless and profoundly multifaceted creativity, immense discipline, uncompromising integrity, and unapologetic social and political commitment.

“Winter evinces a contagious fascination with Zappa’s legend, as well as a lucid understanding of the Pollock-like purity that underscored his messy-seeming life (the filmmaker gets a lot of mileage from the exclusive access he was granted to Zappa’s endless personal archives, making this doc a must-see even for hardcore fans who know all the basic details by heart). […] Zappa says that you have one note in life and so you should really play the shit out of it, but this extremely dense film endeavors to show us the many different pitches that note can take. Despite its predominately linear chronological approach, ZAPPA offers a hectic flurry of influences and ideas that get sucked into all sorts of rapids and riptides as it follows the current downstream.” –David Ehrlich, INDIEWIRE

To watch ZAPPA (with 50% of the streaming rental income benefiting Anthology), click here.

ZAPPA is distributed by Magnolia Pictures. As a bonus, the film is supplemented with a live Zappa performance and backstage footage, released from the Zappa vaults for the first time.

Mike Kuchar’s DEATH QUEST OF THE JU-JU CULTS
NEW RESTORATION!

Thanks to the efforts of the Kuchar Brothers Trust, in collaboration with Anthology and Francois Ghebaly Gallery, Mike Kuchar’s DEATH QUEST OF THE JU-JU CULTS (1976, 30 min), has been newly restored! Arguably Mike’s solo magnum opus, DEATH QUEST is a mini-epic that gleefully and lovingly combines two of Mike’s favorite – if seemingly irreconcilable – genres. What appears at first to be a straightforward prehistoric tale soon morphs into something else entirely, with the deux ex machina appearance of…sorry, no spoilers. In any case, whatever the genre, DEATH QUEST was made with a nearly non-existent budget, but with admirably game actors, Mike’s uniquely resourceful visual gifts, and his inimitable ability to combine mischievous parody with wide-eyed sincerity.

It’s impossible to overstate the importance of both Mike and George Kuchar’s work to Anthology Film Archives throughout its history: Jonas Mekas was instrumental in bringing recognition and attention to their work in the early 1960s through screenings and discussion in his Village Voice “Movie Journal” column; their early films PUSSY ON A HOT TIN ROOF (1961) and TOOTSIES IN AUTUMN (1962) are part of the Essential Cinema repertory cycle; and we’ve preserved and shown their work, and hosted both of them, many times over the years. So it’s especially gratifying to present this new restoration of DEATH QUEST concurrently with our 50th anniversary celebrations. (To see Mike’s statement on the occasion of the anniversary, click here.)

DEATH QUEST OF THE JU-JU CULTS is available for a streaming rental fee of just $3.99! Click here to access the film.

“This movie was based on a comic book story I wrote but was never published, so I decided to tell it in a black and white film. I wanted to do it in color because it involved actors as cave people, had dense jungles as its setting, and a raging volcano in full eruption. My budget couldn’t buy color film, so I was determined to give this movie a lushness in texture that didn’t need color to be effectively pictorial.

Enter a shimmering forest and encounter the Pot Boiling turbulence of pre-history tribes in conflict. See sacrificial virgins, volcanoes, knife fights, spaceships… It’s all in this black and white saga of pure escapement photographed amid upper New York’s muddy river region one fine summer day back when the world was young in 1976.” –Mike Kuchar

Restoration by the Kuchar Brothers Trust, Anthology Film Archives, and Francois Ghebaly Gallery. Digital Remastering by FotoKem. Special thanks to Michelle Silva.

50TH ANNIVERSARY INFO + TRIBUTE VIDEOS
If you haven’t yet visited our showcase of the video tributes we’ve been gathering from filmmakers, artists, musicians, writers, and other members of the Anthology community (with new videos added on a nearly daily basis), you can see them all here. We’ve been delighted to receive short videos from filmmakers and artists including Peggy Ahwesh, Alec Baldwin, Stephanie Barber, Roger Corman, Manuel DeLanda, Abel Ferrara, Richard Hell, Jim Jarmusch, Jennifer Reeder, John Waters, Apichatpong Weerasethakul, and many, many others.

On December 21, WNYC’s “All Of It with Alison Stewart” hosted Anthology’s Archivist John Klacsmann and Film Programmer Jed Rapfogel for a segment devoted to the 50th anniversary; a recording can be streamed here.

Visit this page on our website for more information about Anthology’s anniversary, and this page for updates about related programming. And last but not least, click here to read more about (and support) Anthology’s expansion project, the next phase in our history!

Our Vimeo page continues to showcase works by Ken Jacobs & Jonas Mekas. In May Anthology collaborated with Screen Slate to premiere a brand-new work by Ken Jacobs, MOVIE THAT INVITES PAUSING (2020, 24 min, digital), and the film remains available for viewing free of charge! (As a special bonus, click here for an interview between Ken Jacobs and his son – and fellow filmmaker – Azazel Jacobs.) And several of Jonas’s films are available as well, including CORRESPONDENCE JONAS MEKAS – J.L. GUERÍN (2011, 100 min), which was commissioned by the Centro de Cultura Contemporanea de Barcelona (CCCB), as part of its “Correspondence(s)” project, in which filmmakers were paired together to exchange filmic “letters”. CORRESPONDENCE JONAS MEKAS – J.L. GUERÍN is available for the low, low price of $1! Other Jonas films on our Vimeo page – all available for free – include SELF-PORTRAIT (1980, 20 min), RE: MACIUNAS AND FLUXUS (2011, 93 min), KEEP SINGING (2011, 82 min), and HAPPY EASTER RIDE (2012). And Jonas’s classic works WALDEN and LOST LOST LOST are available for online rental via Kino Lorber’s KinoNow service. The films can be streamed for $9 each, with 50% of the rental income going to Anthology, to help us weather our closure. To access both films, click here.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Coming soon:

 

Anarchism on Film
Streaming series begins February 3

This fall brought the publication of a brand-new, expanded edition of Richard Porton’s Film and the Anarchist Imagination, a pioneering study whose first edition appeared in 1999. Anthology organized a film series inspired by the book (and co-curated by Porton) in 2011, and we’re pleased to celebrate this important work once again on the occasion of its reappearance. The films selected to accompany the launch of the expanded second edition of Film and the Anarchist Imagination are preoccupied with pivotal historical events from the 19th and 20th centuries, as well as utopian moments from the recent past. They all fuse innovative aesthetic approaches with efforts to represent key anti-authoritarian struggles. “Anarchism on Film” will feature Ken Loach’s LAND AND FREEDOM (1995), Peter Watkins’s LA COMMUNE (PARIS, 1871) (1999), Želimir Žilnik’s THE OLD SCHOOL OF CAPITALISM (2009), Maple Razsa & Pacho Velez’s BASTARDS OF UTOPIA (2010), Abigail Child’s ACTS & INTERMISSIONS: EMMA GOLDMAN IN AMERICA (2017), and Maple Razsa & Milton Guillén’s THE MARIBOR UPRISINGS (2017).

There Are No Rules!: Restored and Revisited Avant-Garde Films from the Netherlands
Streaming series begins February 24

This survey of Dutch experimental cinema, from the 1920s to the present day, was intended to take place in April 2020, until the pandemic intervened. It was originally designed to showcase preserved and restored prints from the rich collection of the Eye Filmmuseum in Amsterdam. While screening those 16mm and 35mm prints will have to wait until cinemas reopen, we have reconceived the series in the meantime as an online program, made possible by the Eye Filmmuseum’s creation of beautiful digital transfers of nearly all the films we planned to present. In fact, this online presentation represents an expanded version of the series, with works by filmmakers including Joris Ivens, Walter Ruttmann, Frans Zwartjes, Esther Urlus, Henri Storck, and Germaine Dulac, as well as two programs devoted to the great Henri Plaat.

“There Are No Rules!” has been co-curated by Simona Monizza, restorer and curator of artists’ films at the Eye, and Marius Hrdy, former curator-in-residence at the Eye in 2018. The series is co-presented by Dutch Culture USA.

 

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Anthology Recommends
:

In addition to Anthology’s own online programming initiatives, we heartily recommend the following streaming options that are available throughout the digital realm:

• The streaming service Ovid.tv has generously offered our Members a special discount: 50% off the first three months for new subscribers! The offer expires March 31, 2021, so act fast. (Members, please email hannah@anthologyfilmarchives.org for the promo code.)

The Jerome Foundation is now accepting applications for its 2021 New York City Film, Video and Digital Production Grant. The Foundation’s Film, Video and Digital Production grant programs are open to early career film, video, and digital production directors who work in the experimental, narrative, animation, or documentary genres, or a combination of these forms. These grant programs provide individual filmmakers up to $30,000 of support for specific projects, both short and full-length, for production. Interested filmmakers may register to attend an informational webinar on Wednesday, January 20, 2021 at 4:00pm Eastern. Applications are due April 21 by 4pm Central/5pm Eastern Time. Interested filmmakers can visit the Jerome Foundation website to download the guidelines (with program-specific information on eligibility, timeline, selection criteria, and more).

• As part of a focus on the work of Jonas Mekas, international Video-on-Demand platform DAFilms hosted a live discussion between writer, filmmaker, and programmer Christopher Small, Austė Zdančiūtė, the Cultural Attachee of the Lithuanian Embassy in France, and Anthology’s Film Programmer, Jed Rapfogel. A recording of that discussion is available here.

• While Anthology’s comprehensive Michael Snow retrospective (intended to take place this past April) remains on indefinite hold thanks to the pandemic, we do have enormously exciting Snow-related news to share: this week brings the publication – by Light Industry and Primary Information – of a facsimile edition of Snow’s extraordinary (and long out-of-print) artist’s book Cover to Cover. This volume was originally released by the Press of the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design in 1975, as part of a now-legendary series of publications that included titles by Michael Asher, Dara Birnbaum, Jenny Holzer, Donald Judd, Claes Oldenburg, Martha Rosler, and Yvonne Rainer, among others. Snow departed from the format of many of the press’ projects, however, producing not a collection of writings, but rather a book that constitutes an artwork in itself. Never bound by discipline, Snow has remarked that his sculptures were made by a musician, his films by a painter. Flipping through Cover to Cover, which is composed entirely of photographs in narrative sequence, one might describe it as a book made by a filmmaker. Snow himself has called the piece “a quasi-movie,” structured around a precise recto-verso montage. Visit the Publications page on Light Industry’s website to learn more and to purchase the book.

• Ken Jacobs has posted the entirety of his magnum opus, STAR SPANGLED TO DEATH (1956-60/2003-04, 435 min), to his Vimeo page, where it can be streamed for free! In Ken’s own words, STAR SPANGLED TO DEATH “pictures a stolen and dangerously sold-out America, allowing examples of popular culture to self-indict. Racial and religious insanity, monopolization of wealth and the purposeful dumbing down of citizens and addiction to war oppose a Beat playfulness.” And critic J. Hoberman has described the film as “a [seven-plus-hour] assemblage of found audio-visual material ranging from political campaign films to animated cartoons to children’s phonograph records, interwoven with gloriously eccentric original footage shot mainly on the streets (and in the dumps) of late-50s New York. […] The movie is a vast, ironic pageant of 20th-century American history and consciousness. Fantastic street theater alternates with classroom hygiene films or dated studies of behavioral modification; Jacobs’s performers, notably the young Jack Smith, hobnob with Mickey Mouse, Al Jolson, and American presidents from Franklin Roosevelt to George W. Bush. Obsession overflows as Jacobs’s private mythology and outspoken cultural criticism merge with relentless documentation of America’s ongoing military mobilization and institutionalized racism.”

The full work is available in 4 parts (plus a new intro text) on Ken’s Vimeo page.

• In partnership with Art House Convergence, the curated streaming service MUBI continues to offer 3 months of free streaming access to Anthology’s Members. Members, we sent an email in the spring with instructions for accessing this deal; if you didn’t receive or can’t find that message (and haven't already signed up with MUBI), contact hannah@anthologyfilmarchives.org. And if you’re not already a Member, consider becoming one now!

Essential Cinema on the web: Though we can’t screen our Essential Cinema prints for the time being, we’re happy to share a truly invaluable resource relating to one important Essential Cinema filmmaker: Dziga Vertov. The Austrian Film Museum has demonstrated a particular devotion to collecting and preserving Vertov materials since the mid-1960s, and over the course of the past 15 years they’ve redoubled their efforts. One of the manifestations of this project is a website – Collection Dziga Vertov – showcasing a veritable embarrassment of Vertov-ian riches – everything from writings, photographs, posters, correspondence, and other documentation, to films that can be streamed in their entirety. In the Film Museum’s own words, “These activities aim at creating a network of – and for – international scholars, historians and curators, giving access to as many primary and secondary sources as possible in the interest of furthering and deepening the legacy of Dziga Vertov.”

In particular, we’d like to call your attention to the sections of the Collection Dziga Vertov devoted to Vertov’s two newsreel series: KINONEDELJA (KINO-WEEK) and KINO-PRAVDA (KINO-TRUTH). Though Anthology screens our 35mm prints of Vertov’s feature films annually as part of the Essential Cinema cycle, our own collection includes only selections from the newsreel series (which are also intended to be part of the Essential Cinema), and so we have not been able to screen these works. As part of its Vertov project, however, the Austrian Film Museum has digitized and made freely available the entirety of their Vertov newsreel holdings, comprising 14 of the KINONEDELJA films (supplemented with additional issues and fragments from the Danish Film Institute and the Swedish Film Institute), and all 22 of the surviving issues of KINO-PRAVDA. To begin accessing this extraordinary resource, click here.

• Anthology’s restoration of Lizzie Borden’s BORN IN FLAMES (1983, 85 min) is currently available for streaming via the Criterion Channel. A landmark of early 1980s American independent cinema, BORN IN FLAMES is figuratively and literally an all-out attack on our patriarchal society, a call to arms for women everywhere. This Molotov cocktail of a film became an instant classic of feminist cinema upon its premiere at the 1983 Berlin Film Festival. An unlikely underground breakout that received widespread attention and commercial distribution, it is a film whose impact has never waned. Featuring performances from Kathryn Bigelow, Adele Bertei, and Ron Vawter, and a fantastic theme song by The Red Krayola, BORN IN FLAMES examines the extremist agendas of two different feminist groups as they strategize, debate, take up arms, and form a true Women’s Army. With support from the Film Foundation and the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, Anthology was able to create a pristine restoration that is a vast improvement on older exhibition copies.

• Several of the films on our list of recommended films about police brutality and civil rights are currently streaming for free, including BLACK AND BLUE (Hugh King & Lamar Williams, 1987), which chronicles the impassioned community response to decades of deadly force against people of color by members of the Philadelphia police force; Ava DuVernay’s exposé of mass incarceration in the U.S., 13th (2016); STAY WOKE: THE BLACK LIVES MATTER MOVEMENT (Laurens Grant, 2016); and the great playwright and performer Anna Deavere Smith’s TWILIGHT: LOS ANGELES (Marc Levin, 2000), a film version of Smith’s one-woman theatrical production in which she embodies numerous witnesses to the 1992 riots that resulted from the acquittal of the cops who beat Rodney King.

• One of Anthology’s favorite filmmakers, Danny Lyon – the subject of AFA retrospectives in 2008 and 2019, and whose film DEAR MARK we preserved in 2012 – has made the majority of his films available on his website for free! One of the finest and most enterprising of American photographers, and the author of such iconic photo-books as THE BIKERIDERS and THE DESTRUCTION OF LOWER MANHATTAN, Lyon has long devoted himself to chronicling some of the most marginalized and little-understood of American subcultures, from bikers in the Midwest and prison inmates in Texas, to Native-American communities throughout the U.S. His still under-recognized body of film work includes the extraordinary “New Mexico trilogy,” the powerful immigration-themed films EL MOJADO (1974) and EL OTRO LADO (1978), and his trilogy of family films (BORN TO FILM, TWO FATHERS, and the recent CHILDHOOD)

• Our longtime partner and supporter Cinema Tropical has launched the streaming initiatives Tropical on Demand (featuring a selection of films for streaming rental or purchase) and Daily Recommendations (gathering numerous films that are available for free!).

• “Henri” is an initiative launched by the Cinémathèque française. “Henri” features an embarrassment of riches from the Cinémathèque’s collection, including works by Anthology favorites such as Jean Epstein and Pierre Clémenti, all available for free streaming! New titles are added on a regular basis, so if you haven’t visited the site lately, we highly recommend doing so.