Anthology Film Archives

AUGUST 5-11

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

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.

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PRISON IMAGES
As part of our ongoing, online revival of our two-part 2019 film series, “Prison Images: Incarceration and the Cinema,” we’re presenting virtual engagements of two films this week: Christine Choy & Cynthia Maurizio’s INSIDE WOMEN INSIDE (1978, 21 min) and Wendy Clarke’s ONE ON ONE: KEN AND LOUISE (1994, 79 min).

Part of our ongoing collaboration with Third World Newsreel (see below for more TWN co-presentations), INSIDE WOMEN INSIDE exposes the daily humiliation regularly faced by women in U.S. prisons using firsthand accounts of women incarcerated at the North Carolina Correctional Center for Women and the Correctional Institute for Women at Riker’s Island, New York. The women reveal the anger and frustrations of daily life behind bars, testifying to inhumane conditions ranging from feudal wages and overcrowded cell blocks to lack of nutritional meals in the cafeteria. In spite of the realities of their oppression, their optimism and strength are insurmountable.

Produced while Clarke was the artist-in-residence at the California Institution for Men in Chino, California, ONE ON ONE: KEN AND LOUISE is one of a series of video dialogues between the people imprisoned there, the members of the Church in Ocean Park in Santa Monica, and a group of residents of Crenshaw, Los Angeles. Clarke held a video workshop where people from the prison made videotapes introducing themselves to strangers on the outside. The collaborators from Crenshaw and the Church in Ocean Park then created their own video responses. Throughout 1992, fifteen pairs of people communicated via this inside/outside process. The inmates and the outside contributors were to keep their dialogue only to video, never in person or through letters, in hopes of creating a pure video experience for the strangers to exchange. This particular tape features Ken and Louise, whose exchange encompasses a shared passion for music and whose connection is palpable.

Co-presented by Third World Newsreel, INSIDE WOMEN INSIDE is available here. Co-presented by the Video Data Bank at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, ONE ON ONE: KEN AND LOUISE is available here, through Tuesday, August 11. Both films can be viewed for a streaming rental fee of $6.

Other selections from the series that are currently available online (for free!) include Gary Glassman and Jonathan Borofsky’s PRISONERS (1985, 56 min) and Glassman’s WALKING SMOOTH: SELECTIONS FROM PRISON VIDEO WORKSHOP – CALIFORNIA INSTITUTION FOR MEN IN CHINO (1989, 53 min), two extraordinary documentaries about (and made in collaboration with) incarcerated men and women, as well as renowned photographer and filmmaker Danny Lyon’s WILLIE (1985) and MURDERERS (2006).

For more info about the online version of the “Prison Images” series, with links to numerous films that are currently available for streaming rental from other online sources, click here.

The inaugural issue of Fabric – a new, independent journal that examines incarceration through a variety of critical writing and art practices – includes an in-depth article about Anthology’s series. In particular, the article takes the form of an interview with Lauren Lee White, the co-curator of Part 2 of the series, which focused on “Art by Inmates.” Click here to read the article.

• BLACK AND BLUE + THE PEOPLE UNITED
In collaboration with Third World Newsreel (TWN), we offer a virtual pairing of two extraordinary documentaries about communities struggling against police brutality: BLACK AND BLUE (Hugh King & Lamar Williams, 1987) and THE PEOPLE UNITED (Alonzo Rico Speight, 1985).

An alternative media arts organization that fosters the creation, appreciation, and dissemination of independent film and video by and about people of color and social justice issues, TWN was founded in 1967 as Newsreel, an activist filmmaker collective that soon grew to encompass chapters throughout the country. The New York chapter evolved into Third World Newsreel in the mid-1970s and strengthened its commitment to developing filmmakers and audiences of color. Today, TWN carries on the progressive vision of its founders, and remains the oldest media arts organization in the U.S. devoted to cultural workers of color and their global constituencies.

In the wake of the protests resulting from the killing of George Floyd, we’ve been recommending – and in certain instances, presenting – a selection of films about police brutality, systemic racism, and civil rights, including one extraordinary and little-known film from TWN’s distribution catalogue: BLACK AND BLUE, which chronicles the impassioned community response to decades of deadly force against people of color by members of the Philadelphia police force. BLACK AND BLUE has been (and continues to be) available for streaming free of charge thanks to TWN and the filmmakers. And now, Anthology and TWN co-present a film that is a perfect amplification of and complement to BLACK AND BLUE. Alonzo Rico Speight’s THE PEOPLE UNITED documents a similar struggle against systemic racism in another American city, Boston, MA, where in the late 1970s racial violence and police brutality were exposed and enflamed by the conflict over school bussing, and the black community was further terrorized by the brutal and still unsolved murders of 12 black women within an 18-month period. THE PEOPLE UNITED captures this fraught moment in the history of Boston (and the country as a whole), and the protest movement it spawned. Like BLACK AND BLUE, it demonstrates how deeply embedded police brutality and racial violence are in our society, how little has changed over the past 40 years, and how urgently change is needed now.

For more details about this online program, visit this page on Anthology’s website. Or to access the films directly: BLACK AND BLUE is available to stream free-of-charge here; and to purchase a streaming rental of THE PEOPLE UNITED, click here. The streaming rental income will be split between Third World Newsreel and the Black Lives Matter Global Network.

RACE AGAINST PRIME TIME:
In addition to these two Third World Newsreel titles, we’d like to direct your attention to a film that approaches the topic of police brutality and systemic racism from a different angle: RACE AGAINST PRIME TIME (David Shulman, 1985, 60 min), which explores the role of the media in shaping how these phenomena are communicated to the public, and how they are understood by viewers.

In THE PEOPLE UNITED and BLACK AND BLUE the media is conspicuously present in its absence, especially since one of the only things that distinguish them as having been made more than three decades ago, rather than yesterday, is the lack of cellphones and cheap video cameras as a means to document instances of police brutality (and the absence of the internet as a means to disseminate this documentation). It’s impossible to watch THE PEOPLE UNITED and BLACK AND BLUE without reflecting on how changes in forms of and access to media has changed since the mid-1980s. During that era, it fell to works like RACE AGAINST PRIME TIME to hold the media accountable for its sins of bias and the perpetuation of power, and to raise awareness of how mainstream media functions.

RACE AGAINST PRIME TIME scrutinizes how television news represents African Americans. Taking a look behind the scenes at the newsrooms of the three network affiliates during the 1980 Liberty City uprising in Miami that followed in the wake of the police killing of Arthur McDuffie, it provides a classic case study of how the news gets made: what we see – and what we don’t. It documents how local television newsmen anoint black community spokespersons, characterize whites as victims and blacks as rioters, and fail to place the disturbances within the context of decades of civic neglect.

RACE AGAINST PRIME TIME is distributed by Third World Newsreel, as well as by California Newsreel, which was founded in 1968 and has become a leading resource center for advancing racial justice through its unparalleled collection of films on African American and African life and history. California Newsreel has made RACE AGAINST PRIME TIME available for streaming rental here (for only $2.99).

We continue to present an online engagement of one of the films we planned to screen in our ongoing, comprehensive retrospective of the work of Jonas Mekas: CORRESPONDENCE JONAS MEKAS – J.L. GUERÍN (2011, 100 min). The film 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” (other participants included Isaki Lacuesta & Naomi Kawase; Albert Serra & Lisandro Alonso; Jaime Rosales & Wang Bing; and Fernando Eimbcke & So Yong Kim). CORRESPONDENCE JONAS MEKAS – J.L. GUERÍN is available now, for the low, low price of $1! And as a special bonus we are including two final letters, which Mekas & Guerín exchanged following the 2011 release of the feature-length film. Guerín’s final letter has never before been made available! Click here to access the full program.

Jonas Mekas & José Luis Guerín
CORRESPONDENCE JONAS MEKAS – J.L. GUERÍN

2011, 100 min, digital
“In a series of five letters to each other, José Luis Guerín and Jonas Mekas exchange ideas, thoughts, visions and reflections on cinema, realism and life. Each filmmaker revisits past images, framed by commentaries that offer telling insights into their working methodologies. This is a film about friendship and craft, about poetry and cinema, modes of communicating and fragments of life captured on screen. ‘I have a need to tape, for whatever reason,’ states Mekas, ‘I do not know what makes me do it, but I have to do it, I just have to do it.’ CORRESPONDENCE is both a visual trace of this journey and a memorable illustration of Thoreau’s dictum that ‘the world is but a canvas to our imaginations.’” –Maria Delgado, BFI

PLUS:
Jonas Mekas A LETTER TO JOSÉ LUIS GUERÍN (2015, 8 min, digital)
José Luis Guerín CARTA A JONAS MEKAS no. 6 (2016, 4 min, digital)

On Thursday, May 28, Anthology collaborated with Screen Slate to present a live online screening of a brand-new work by Ken Jacobs, MOVIE THAT INVITES PAUSING (2020, 24 min, digital), in its online premiere. The screening was part of Screen Slate’s new online streaming series Stream Slate, organized in partnership with different artists, venues, and archives. Though the live screening is over, MOVIE THAT INVITES PAUSING is now available on our Vimeo page, where it can be viewed at will (especially appropriate in this case, given the work’s title).

As a special bonus, click here for a recent interview between Ken Jacobs and his son (and fellow filmmaker) Azazel Jacobs.

Ken Jacobs
MOVIE THAT INVITES PAUSING (2020, 24 min, digital)
“Influenced by avantgarde artist-refugees from Europe, non-representational art dominated the art market after WW2 and pictorial comment on social conditions, popular before the war and still vital in some of Picasso’s work, went out of fashion. For the owners threatened by the appeal of socialism, it had become time to change the subject to pure aesthetics: “Rockefeller’s Paintings” one MoMA show advertised. In a society that allows both non-religious and multi-religious thinking and where opposing beliefs can neutralize each other, an openness to new thinking is possible and a great development in the art did take place. I came in after the ascendancy of so-called non-objective painting and joined those exploring imaginary developments in imaginary depth by pigments undisguised as anything other than flat color areas. Viewers offered open minds, picking up on pointed suggestion and discovering the heady adventure of engagement with ambiguity. MOVIE THAT INVITES PAUSING is just such a work in the realm of cinema. It offers no particular path to follow and running time is tentative; for repeat viewings it has none. It becomes a non-objective painting-of-sorts hung in space and I am absolved – you getting this, Hans Hofmann? – for all these years of neglecting canvas for the screen.” –Ken Jacobs, April 2020

• On our Vimeo page you can find the following Jonas Mekas films (for viewing free of charge!): 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.

 

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 Steve Circuit: A Tribute to Steve Dalachinsky: This summer, ISSUE Project Room and the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council present The Steve Circuit, an episodic series of videos and digital artwork dedicated to the beloved poet Steve Dalachinsky, who passed away on September 16, 2019. The project has been developed by his wife, painter and poet Yuko Otomo, and interdisciplinary artist Matt Mottel. Born in Brooklyn in 1946, Dalachinsky was an unforgettable fixture within particular strains of experimental music, poetry, and art – and at cultural happenings and gatherings of all kinds in Lower Manhattan and beyond.

Steve’s art was created in tandem with the public life he lived. The places he inhabited – arts venues, community gardens, the New York Public Library neighborhood branch, his Spring Street sidewalk store – were all part of his daily routine. Over the course of six events throughout the summer, these sites will be revealed in a weekly online presentation. Each week, videos made by Otomo & Mottel will be streamed pairing Dalachinsky’s text, recordings, and artwork, with additional artistic collaborators who were part of the Dalachinsky orbit. The online cultural map and presentation will provide a “virtual polaroid snapshot” of Downtown New York’s cultural history. In addition to Otomo and Mottel, the series will feature contributions from Vito Ricci & Lise Vachon, Andrew Lampert, Jean Carla Rodea & Gerald Cleaver, Tom Surgal & Lin Culbertson, William Parker & Matthew Shipp, Lee Ranaldo & Leah Singer, and Loren Connors & Suzanne Langille.

To say that Steve was a regular visitor to Anthology would be a vast understatement – he was one of the most devoted and cherished members of our community, and so it’s fitting that the July 30th event in ISSUE’s series took AFA as its featured site. Presented by our former Archivist, Andrew Lampert, this screening can still be viewed here. For more info about the series as a whole click here.

Anthology will present its own moving-image-focused tribute to Steve this fall. Stay tuned for more details.

• 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.

• A frequent collaborator of Anthology’s, gallerist Deborah Colton recently hosted an exhibition – “Precautionary Principles of the New World” – showcasing the work of Houston-based artist Felipe Lopez. In the wake of that exhibition, Lopez and his partner, Meghan Hendley (who also leads the music project, Chapel in the Sky), are making their collaborative videos available online, with new works added every week throughout the summer. Partners in work and life, the two artists collaborate across genres to conjure artistic experiences centering around birth, spirituality, the environment, and technology. Their work often explores outer space, including the 50th anniversary of the moon landing and the story behind the Golden Records that were included on the Voyager spacecrafts launched in 1977. Other works highlight the landscape and topography of nature interwoven within the human form. Multiple layers of imagery weave together visual concepts and ethereal electronic sounds. Click here for more info.

• Electronic Arts Intermix (EAI) and the Mike Kelley Foundation for the Arts co-present “At Home with Mike Kelley”, a series of online screenings and conversations about the moving-image work of Mike Kelley. Featuring videos that span from the 1980s to 2012, this series underscores the varied and inventive art practice of Kelley, praised widely for his use of lowbrow pop cultural material and everyday arcana to interrogate the basic structures of American life. This screening series will stream live at eai.org at selected times through July and August, accompanied by live conversations and audience Q&A. Additionally, the Mike Kelley Foundation for the Arts will make available Kelley’s reflections on the videos at their website mikekelleyfoundation.org, bringing forth further perspectives on and approaches to Kelley’s prolific output. Additional events throughout August to be announced soon!

• Several of the films on our list of recommended films about police brutality and civil rights are currently streaming for free, including 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.

Screen Slate’s new online streaming series Stream Slate is up and running. Organized in partnership with different artists, venues, and archives (including Anthology, who co-presented a screening of a new work by Ken Jacobs on May 28 – see above), Stream Slate has several upcoming events. Watch at twitch.tv/screenslate.

• 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.