Anthology Film Archives

APRIL 14-20

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

This week we continue to offer Anthology’s recent restoration of Ron Rice’s THE QUEEN OF SHEBA MEETS THE ATOM MAN, as well as a special compilation of some of the most accomplished short films that we received as part of our 50th anniversary video project.

Meanwhile, Anthology remains closed for the time being. We don’t plan on reopening until the COVID numbers in NYC decline significantly (over the past weeks the trend has been the opposite), and the majority of New Yorkers have had the opportunity to get vaccinated (the news on this front is much better, with eligibility recently expanded to cover all those 16 or older). We’re keeping a close eye on things as they develop, designing the protocols for post-COVID gatherings, and working on theatrical programs that will be ready to go when the time comes. Until then, we’ll continue to offer online programming, and will keep doing so even after we open our doors, so that until everything returns entirely (or as much as possible) to normal, you’ll have the option of virtual and/or theatrical screenings. Stay tuned for further updates in the weeks to come!

THE QUEEN OF SHEBA MEETS THE ATOM MAN
STREAMING FOR FREE THROUGH THE END OF APRIL!

In 2018, after years of work, Anthology completed the restoration of Ron Rice’s longest film, THE QUEEN OF SHEBA MEETS THE ATOM MAN (1963/81). Rice completed only three films during his short lifetime (THE FLOWER THIEF, SENSELESS, and CHUMLUM), and at his untimely death in 1964, at the age of 29, he left behind a rough cut of his magnum opus, THE QUEEN OF SHEBA. In 1981 Anthology commissioned Rice’s collaborator and star, Taylor Mead, to complete the film. Mead compiled a score and edited the 16mm footage into its final form, and his version was the basis for Anthology’s 2018 16mm-to-35mm restoration. This spring, as we continue to offer online programming, we’re pleased to make the restoration available to stream, in High Definition.

“The small body of work that Ron left will have to be compared now with the work that Jean Vigo left at his own untimely, young, and wasteful death. […] Each film is a new departure, each like no other, each breathing the poetry, unexpectedness, and imagination that marked him as one of our most original artists.” –Jonas Mekas, MOVIE JOURNAL

Ron Rice
THE QUEEN OF SHEBA MEETS THE ATOM MAN

1963/81, 109 min, 16mm-to-digital. Starring Winifred Bryan and Taylor Mead. Photographed and directed by Ron Rice. Edited and musical score by Taylor Mead, 1981. Restored by Anthology Film Archives and The Film Foundation with funding provided by the Hobson/Lucas Family Foundation. Special thanks to Tommy Aschenbach & Ivy Donnell (Video & Film Solutions), Chris Hughes & Laura Major (Colorlab), and John Polito & Clay Dean (Audio Mechanics).

“New York plays itself, as Taylor Mead and Winifred Bryan regale in pas de deux among the trashcans and the towers. The Studiedly Goofy and the Monumentally Grand are joined in masterly pas de don’t by a scenery-gnashing Jack Smith, and, in turn, by the likes of Ron Rice, Julian Beck, Judith Malina, Jonas Mekas, and Ed Sanders (and Marlon Brando and Lawrence Olivier, sort of). The awed couple do battle with the status quo and teach the world to dance on the head of a bin. Rice detects real dignity in Bryan and amazing grace in Mead as they essay solitary promenades through the parks, subways and streets of a wintery New York landscape. Photographed and directed by Ron Rice, edited and scored by Taylor Mead. Said to be unfinished. It’s not.” –Edward Leffingwell

“An essential document of bohemian New York City in 1963 as it was lived and thrashed in cheap apartments and on the streets. […] The film’s black-and-white images demonstrate what the camp/avant-garde nexus meant in the Manhattan of Andy Warhol, Jill Johnston, and Frank O’Hara. The film was shot a year before Sontag’s “Notes on Camp” was published, but Rice’s movie is a living, breathing, leg-humping enactment more amusing, friendly, and connected to daily life than Jack Smith’s FLAMING CREATURES. Smith, one of Sontag’s inspirations, appears in the movie and almost takes over its second half from the coy, shier Mead and from Winifred Bryan, the implacable, overweight black woman who is the Queen of Sheba to Mead’s Atom Man. The film, having established the bizarre relationship between these two mismatched oddballs, can’t stray too far from them no matter who piles on. THE QUEEN OF SHEBA MEETS THE ATOM MAN should be projected twenty-four hours a day somewhere in Manhattan, so that before we’re all pushed into the sea off Rockaway Beach people can be reminded of the strange form of life that once lived here.” –A. S. Hamrah, n+1

AFA 50TH ANNIVERSARY VIDEO PROJECT – COMPILATION PROGRAM 1
Last fall we put out a call to filmmakers, artists, colleagues, and friends for short video tributes on the occasion of Anthology’s 50th anniversary. The response was overwhelming, with almost 90 separate videos arriving over the past six months. These videos took a dizzying variety of forms, including numerous moving and heartfelt talking head testimonials, as well as collage films, poetic meditations, quasi-structuralist pieces, and other filmic homages to the spirit of Anthology and to the filmmakers who are our raison d’être. So many of the videos are of such a high creative caliber, essentially comprising new short films in their own right, that as the project winds down (at least in its virtual form…we can’t wait to screen them theatrically when the time comes!), we’ve decided to compile a selection of these into two compilation programs (organized alphabetically). Program 1 is now streaming, and features videos by Peggy Ahwesh, Stephanie Barber, Stephen Broomer, Jem Cohen, Martha Colburn, Manuel DeLanda, Nathaniel Dorsky, Bradley Eros & Richard Sylvarnes, Erin Espelie, James Fotopoulos, Su Friedrich, Carolyn Funk & Gina Telaroli, Sarah Halpern, Tessa Hughes-Freeland, Ken & Flo Jacobs, Tom Jarmusch, Victoria Keddie, and C. Spencer Yeh. [Program 2 will begin streaming on Wednesday, April 21.]

50TH ANNIVERSARY INFO + TRIBUTE VIDEOS
Meanwhile, all the anniversary video tributes continue to be available here. In addition to the short films included in the compilation programs (see above), this showcase includes testimonials by agnès b., Alec Baldwin, Roger Corman, Abel Ferrara, Michelle Handelman, Richard Hell, Jim Jarmusch, Alan Licht & Lee Ranaldo, Alex Ross Perry, Jennifer Reeder, Béla Tarr, John Waters, Frederick Wiseman, and 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 SELF-PORTRAIT (1980, 20 min), RE: MACIUNAS AND FLUXUS (2011, 93 min), KEEP SINGING (2011, 82 min), and HAPPY EASTER RIDE (2012). In addition, 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.

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COMING SOON:

VANDA DUARTE FESTIVAL
April 28-May 4

VANDA DUARTE is a week-long festival dedicated exclusively to dissident films by Latin American women directors. Guest-curated by Argentinian filmmakers Lucila Mariani and Lara Franzetti, whose production company VANDA is committed to showcasing points of view that are too often relegated to the margins, VANDA DUARTE will comprise one program each day from April 28-May 4, and will be available to stream free-of-charge!

THE AL LARVICK FUND PRESENTS:
REGIONAL FILMS OF POLITICS AND PARODY

May 12-25

Inspired by the legacy of Alfred Larvick, whose extensive body of 8mm home movies reflected his lifelong dedication to documenting the daily lives of his family and his North Dakota community, the Al Larvick Conservation Fund was created in order to preserve historical and cultural heritage through conservation, education, and the public accessibility of American analog home movie, amateur cinema, and community recording collections. This online series celebrates the achievements of the Al Larvick Fund by showcasing a selection of regional films that have been preserved with its support. The series encompasses home movies created by U.S. servicemen stationed abroad, during and immediately after WWII; documentation of appearances by John F. and Robert Kennedy; filmmaker Jim Hubbard’s films of LGBTQ activism in the 1970s-80s; and the hilariously resourceful and inventive film parodies made by Tim Smith and friends (including future SIMPSONS creator Matt Groening) in the same period in Portland, Oregon. For more info about the Al Larvick Conservation Fund, visit: www.allarvickfund.org.


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

• On April 6, film scholar, teacher, and media arts theorist Gene Youngblood passed away at the age of 78. Youngblood was best known as the author of the pioneering and highly influential 1970 book, Expanded Cinema, which was republished last year by Fordham University Press on the occasion of its 50th anniversary. To read about Youngblood’s life and work, click here and here.

• A frequent partner of Anthology’s, and a supporter of numerous filmmakers and artists in our community, Microscope Gallery is facing an imminent and sudden move from their longtime space in Bushwick. Though they’ve found a new home in Chelsea, near the High Line, they are seeking support in order to transform the new space, and to continue and expand their programming, which encompasses screenings of all formats (film, analog & digital video, etc.), music and experimental sound nights, performance art, expanded cinema, poetry, artist talks, and more. To contribute to Microscope’s fundraising campaign, click here or here.

The Place I Was Born No Longer Exists is the first part in an ongoing DAFilms series entitled Housing Project, a multifaceted series of short and feature films about the very idea of housing – of spaces that are lived in, of the violence of eviction, and the uncertainty of paying rent. DAFilms has teamed up with the filmmaking team of Implantación, a great independent documentary about the people who live in an artificial neighborhood built by the Argentinian government in 1970, to find works that express the many different ways we can think about housing and displacement today. Thanks to our own similarly-themed recent online series, Home Truths (which ended last November, though many of the recommended film links and resources are still live), DAFilms invited Anthology to come on board as a partner in this new project, an invitation we were delighted to accept! Click here to access DAFilms’ series.

• As part of its inaugural curatorial fellowship program, The Poetry Project has been collaborating with the multidisciplinary, multimedia production house and collective Tierra Narrative to organize a series of online events designed to explore and celebrate Central American archives, dreamwork, and queer collectivity. For the next event, Archives of Salvadoran Cinema, taking place Thursday, April 15 at 8pm ET, Tierra Narrative invites three Salvadoran/diaspora poets to write alongside films housed by El Museo de la Palabra y La Imagen in San Salvador, an institution dedicated to collecting and preserving memories of the Salvadoran civil war. The program will include readings with Lauri García Dueñas (ES/MX), Raquel Gutierrez (US), and Elena Salamanca (ES), as well as a screening of the short films EL GRAN DEBUT (1976) by Baltazar Polío in collaboration with Teatro Grupo Independiente, and LA ZONA INTERTIDAL (1980) by collective Los Vagos. Click here for more info.

• The fifth and final part of e-flux’s ongoing virtual series, “True Fake: Troubling the Real in Artists’ Films” begins this week. Programmed by Lukas Brasiskis (guest curator of Anthology’s upcoming “Baltic Modernist Cinema” series), “True Fake” highlights 20 contemporary and historically important films and videos that examine unstable boundaries between fact and fiction, nature and artifice, objectivity and subjectivity, mediation and exposition. Part 5, entitled “Faux Documentary and Complex Reality”, features works by Peter Watkins, Eric Baudelaire, Walid Raad, and Omer Fast, and is available to stream now, through Monday, April 19.

Prismatic Ground is a new festival centered on experimental documentary. Hosted in partnership with Maysles Documentary Center and Screen Slate, the first edition of the festival takes place virtually from April 8-18. The program encompasses an embarrassment of riches, including works by Erin & Travis Wilkerson, Angelo Minax Madsen (one of the co-curators of Anthology’s ongoing “Cinema of Gender Transgression” series), Bill Morrison, Christopher Harris, Ericka Beckman, Martha Colburn & Pat O’Neill, Ben Rivers, Lynne Sachs, and many, many more.

• The ambitious and innovative distribution initiative, Sentient.Art.Film, has several exciting ventures on offer. Sentient.Omnibus, a short film project looking to build community amongst a diverse group of artists, begins on April 15 with Jiajun (Oscar) Zhang & Hee Young Pyun’s short film, IN THE BLANKS (2016). The organization’s artist development and public programming arm, Line of Sight, launches with a series of panels this spring and summer. And the online screening series, My Sight is Lined with Visions: 1990s Asian American Film & Video, is available to stream throughout this year.

• The work of Manuel DeLanda is close to our heart here at Anthology: over the past decade we’ve hosted him in person, preserved several of his films – including THE ITCH SCRATCH ITCH CYCLE (1976), ISM ISM (1979), RAW NERVES (1980), and JUDGEMENT DAY (1983), among others – and published a book highlighting his street graffiti. Starting in the late 1980s, DeLanda took an extended hiatus from filmmaking to focus on his work as a philosopher, professor, and author. But in recent years he’s returned to the moving image with a vengeance, creating short digital videos (almost a dozen in the last five years alone) which are available for free on his Vimeo page. For our most recent program with DeLanda, we wrote, “Fueled by the gonzo humor and graphic audacity of Frank Zappa and ZAP Comix, DeLanda’s fevered productions were among the most deliriously innovative movies of the punk era,” and that sensibility is unmistakably apparent in these new digital works.

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.