HAIRY HANDMADE OBJECTS: THE FILMS OF ROBERT NELSON
April 27 – April 29
Sadly, memorial screenings have been coming fast and furious here at Anthology lately. After the painful losses last year of George Kuchar, Adolfas Mekas, Robert Breer, Owen Land, and Jordan Belson, the opening weeks of 2012 brought news of the death of Robert Nelson, who was a crucial figure in the west coast underground film movement throughout the 1960s, 70s, and beyond. Nelson is responsible for some of the most singular, mischievous, flat-out funny films in avant-garde cinema. Best known for works such as OH DEM WATERMELONS, THE GREAT BLONDINO, THE OFF-HANDED JAPE, and BLEU SHUT, Nelson’s films are formally audacious, entirely unpredictable, and profoundly oddball.
This comprehensive tribute encompasses not only the majority of the films and videos Nelson created throughout his career, but also works that he collaborated on with other artists, audio recordings, and films about Nelson.
“I think New York, it reminded me of what I imagined Egypt to be like at the height of some majestic dynasty. Because, the artistic formalism, the formalism everywhere, in every expression, even on TV, was very exciting. Once I got there, [my] film looked to me…like something a gypsy brought in a blanket and rolled out on the sand, like a bunch of hairy handmade objects that were all sort of laying there.” –Robert Nelson, CANYON CINEMANEWS interview by Henry Hills, 1978.
Mark Toscano of the Academy Film Archive will be present to introduce the programs and reminisce about Nelson, whose films he has been actively preserving for the last decade.
All films are by Robert Nelson, unless otherwise noted.
Very special thanks to Mark Toscano & May Haduong (Academy Film Archive), Dominic Angerame (Canyon Cinema), Marcy Saude, and Marian Wallace.
With the exception of FISHING FOR ASIAN CARP and the films in Program 5, all prints are courtesy of the Academy Film Archive.