Austrian avant-garde filmmaker Peter Tscherkassky makes compelling cut-up movies from "found" 16mm and 35mm footage and samples from other movies. All of the frames and clips are treated in the darkroom, without digital tools. For Outer Space (1999), seen above,
Tscherkassky chopped up and decolorized bits from The Entity, a 1982 horror film starring Barbara Hershey.
Here's Alex Cox, director of Repo Man (1984), interviewed recently by psychotronic film buff and master poster artist Jay Shaw. Criterion just re-released Repo Man on DVD and Blu-ray, featuring original package art by Shaw and Tyler Stout of Austin's Mondo Gallery scene. Repo Man: Criterion Collection edition(via Mondo)
The new documentary about esteemed magician, magic historian, and actor Ricky Jay opens next week at New York City's Film Forum with screenings in many other cities to follow in May and June. Jay is a fantastically curious and entertaining fellow and I can't wait to see this film. "Deceptive Practice: The Mysteries and Mentors of Ricky Jay"
Behold the beautiful grain of director Paul Clipson's Super 8 short film for San Francisco droneography duo Barn Owl's new track "Void Redux." Clipson shot the footage on trains in Zagreb, Geneva, and Berlin. "Void Redux" will be included on Barn Owl's forthcoming album "V," out April 16 on Thrill Jockey. Barn Owl: V
Pioneering sound/video collage artist Christian Marclay's "The Clock" (2010) is a 24-hour montage of appropriated film clips related to time. OK, I'll admit that I haven't seen the whole piece, but the chunks I've watched are fantastic. Above is a phonecam recording of some of it, recording at one of its installations. The Clock will be on view at the SFMOMA starting April 6, which is appropriate given the museum's imminent closure in June for (gasp) three years of construction. "SFMOMA Presents Christian Marclay’s 24-Hour Cinematic Masterpiece The Clock"
For several years, MOVIEBARCODE has compressed entire films and famous film sequences into barcode-like images where the lines represent frames from the movie. There are hundreds in the archive and prints are available too. Seen here at top, Blade Runner, and below that, Dorothy entering the Technicolor of Oz. And here's a Movie Barcode Generator so you can do it yourself! (via @death_waltz_records)
The Source Family, a magnificent documentary by my friend Jodi Wille and Maria Demopoulos, will see nationwide distribution this spring, starting with a May 1 premier at the IFC Center in New York City. The film tells the story of Father Yod and his Source Family, a radical, utopian social experiment that emerged from the Los Angeles freak scene in the 1970s. Boing Boing is delighted to premier the trailer above. Far fucking out.
The Source Family’s outlandish lifestyle, popular celebrity hangout restaurant, rock band, and beautiful women made them the darlings of Hollywood’s Sunset Strip; but their outsider ideals, controversial spiritual leader Father Yod, along with his 13 wives, instigated local authorities. They fled to Hawaii, leading to their dramatic demise. Years later, family members surface and the rock band reforms, revealing how their time with Father Yod shaped their lives in the most unexpected ways. These personal accounts, along with interviews with outsiders, make up the interviews in the film. However, the story is largely cinematic, expressed through the use of the group’s extensive film and audio archive maintained by Isis Aquarian, one of Father's wives, Family documentarian, and a central character in the documentary (as well as being associate producer). The film’s soundtrack is composed entirely of original Source Family music produced from 1971-1975.
Sol Yurick, author of The Warriors (1965), has died. The novel -- which in 1979 led to the classic cult film of the same name -- was inspired by Yurick's experiences working in the New York City Department of Welfare.
“Some of the children of these families were what was then called juvenile delinquents,” Mr. Yurick wrote in an introduction to an edition of “The Warriors” published in 2003. “Many of them belonged to fighting gangs. Some of these gangs numbered in the hundreds; they were veritable armies. This social phenomenon was viewed, on the one hand, as the invasion of the barbarians, only this time they came from the inside rather than from the outside.”
Folkstreams is an incredible online archive of documentary films about American folk and roots music and culture. Above, an excerpt from "Born For Hard Luck," a 1976 film by Tom Davenport about harmonica player and comedian Arthur "Peg Leg Sam" Jackson." (A clip of this film appears in the French movie Amelie.) Below are just a few of the hundreds of films you can watch for free, right now. Shame about my deadlines this week.
• “Adirondack Minstrel.” Hudson, N.Y.: Bowling Green Films, 1977. (19 min.)
[Jack Ofield film on woodsman/musician Lawrence Older]
• “Land Where the Blues Began.” New York: Cultural Equity, 1990. (58 min.)
[Alan Lomax film on Mississippi blues, from his “American Patchwork Series”; parallels his book of the same title]
• “The Amish, A People of Preservation.” Harleysville, Pa.: Heritage Productions. (52 min.)
[John Ruth film on Amish life, with Hostettler as consultant—and some surreptitiously shot footage]
• “The Sacred Vision of Howard Finster.” New York: Museum of American Folk Art, 1995. (30 min.)
[Interviews with Finster talking about his art, visions, and religious beliefs, with scenes of his creations, his preaching, and his home]
(Spoken in booming movie trailer voice): If you see only one Red Dawn remake this year, see this one. New York City artist Annamarie Ho, known to regular BB readers for her Betelnut Girls art installation and other daring works, created this filmic provocation titled Dread Spawn (Head Wrong) that asks "how would the fantastical storyline of the Red Dawn remake function if the Chinese People’s Liberation Army were to invade New York City’s Chinatown instead and was met by multicultural, brainy high school students?" Of course, the fact that the current Red Dawn remake's producers, MGM, did a last-minute digital switch of the "villains" from the Chinese to North Koreans only makes Ho's commentary more compelling. Annamarie will be in attendance at three Dread Spawn (Head Wrong) screenings this week and next, and I'm honored that she's asked me to introduce the film in San Francisco on December 6.
Wednesday, November 28 at 3pm
Saturday, December 1 at 4pm
Queens Museum of Art
Thursday, December 6 at 7pm
Ninth Street Independent Film Center
You can now stream Alfred Hitchcock's "The White Shadow" (1924), the earliest surviving feature by the director. As I posted in 2011, the "lost" movie turned up in a New Zealand film vault. The film stars Betty Compson as twins, one angelic and one evil. Unfortunately, only half of the film's six reels were found, making it a true cliffhanger.
Meet Me, Jesus is a strange 1966 experimental film by Walter Ungerer. It is Ungerer's first narrative short, following his 1965 documentary The Tasmanian Devil, about drag racing. (via toys and techniques)
Last week's biggest entertainment news, Disney acquiring Lucasfilm for just over four billion dollars, was almost immediately followed by the news that Star Wars: Episode VII might now be in the works. While rumors fly on that, here's another one to add to the mix: possible returning cast members. No, not Hayden Christensen, as excited as I know everyone would be about that! Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, and Harrison Ford have all said that they're "open" to the idea for reprising their roles from the original trilogy, according to Entertainment Weekly. That's far from a confirmation of anything, but in an interview with a source close to Ford, who has remained decidedly unenthused about the entire franchise since Return of the Jedi, the 70-year-old actor might just be go for launch.
One factor in such a decision -- besides the gigantic paycheck and never having to work ever again -- is that George Lucas will soon be stepping aside and retiring from running Lucasfilm and will yield power to Kathleen Kennedy. That leaves a bit more creative freedom, and the right director might just be the right man or woman to woo Ford back into the cast. It's pretty exciting just knowing that Ford is "upbeat" about such a project, and it's certainly red meat for Star Wars fans who were let down by the most recent trilogy. But as it's been pointed out repeatedly, all that exists right now are rumors. Set your speculatrons to "stun." Hehe -- little Star Trek joke. For the Star Wars post.
(Video link) While we wait for Jose Padilha's upcoming (but delayed) reboot of RoboCop, here is an old clip from Entertainment Tonight featuring the 1987 movie's star, Peter Weller. On the set, he goofs around a bit, talks about the robo-suit, and reminds us why RoboCop is such a timeless and awesome piece of cinema. I'd buy that for a dollar, but YouTube is actually free! (via Blastr)