Avant-Garde Classics Selected by Martin Scorsese
Apr 9, 2017
Location: Bartos Screening Room
With Ken Jacobs in person
Martin Scorsese’s dynamic approach to filmmaking was strongly influenced by the avant-garde films he saw in the 1960s. This program features his own selection of American avant-garde classics that have all been restored with support from the Film Foundation. Program runs approximately 90 mins.
Black Is (Aldo Tambellini, 1965, 4 mins. 16mm). A cameraless film in which the artist scratched, perforated, drew, and used acid and other substances on the surface of the film to create a mesmerizing, abstract study of light and motion. Preserved by Harvard Film Archive through the Avant-Garde Masters program funded by The Film Foundation and administered by the National Film Preservation Foundation.
Rabbit’s Moon (Kenneth Anger, 1950-1972, 16 mins. 35mm). Originally filmed on nitrate color film stock, Kenneth Anger’s dazzling fantasia about the legend of a rabbit that lives in the moon combines elements of French mime and Italian commedia dell’arte. Anger created several different versions over the years. This version, restored in 35mm, was made in 1972 and features a soundtrack of 1950s doo wop songs. Preserved through the Avant-Garde Masters program funded by The Film Foundation and administered by the National Film Preservation Foundation.
Prefaces (Abigail Child, 1981, 10 mins. 16mm). Prefaces is composed of wild sounds placed tensely beside images of workers, the gestures of the marketplace, colonial Africa, and abstractions, to pose questions of social force, gender relations, and subordination. Preserved by Harvard Film Archive through the Avant-Garde Masters program funded by The Film Foundation and administered by the National Film Preservation Foundation.
Butterfly (Shirley Clarke and Wendy Clarke, 1967, 33 mins. 16mm). This rarely shown film by avant-garde legend Shirley Clarke was made, in collaboration with her daughter Wendy, for a 1967 anti-Vietnam protest event. Shirley and Wendy are seen together in the film; young Wendy drew, scratched, bleached, and hand-painted the film stock, and the soundtrack alternates a baby’s cries with machine gun fire and a Brahms lullaby. Preserved by the Wisconsin Center for Film and Theater Research through the National Film Preservation Foundation’s Avant-Garde Masters Grant program funded by The Film Foundation.
Blonde Cobra (Ken Jacobs, 1963, 33 mins. 35mm). An instant classic of the New York underground, Ken Jacobs’s Blonde Cobra was artfully cobbled together from footage of the performer Jack Smith filmed by Bob Fleischner for an intended horror movie comedy, and audio from a variety of sources, including an Astaire-Rogers musical, a children’s record, a crazed and poetic monologue by Smith, and snatches of live AM radio. Restored by Anthology Film Archives with funding provided by The Film Foundation.