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Treasures from the archive,
This review is from: Treasures From American Film Archives 4: Avant [DVD]  [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC] (DVD)
26 Major Avant Garde Films Never Before on Home Video! 27 artists from Bruce Baillie to Andy Warhol who worked outside the mainstream and redefined American cinema are collected in this stunning, five-hour set sampling an array of film types and styles. An array of film styles from animation to documentary are showcased in this collection of classics and rediscoveries, selected from five of the nation's foremost avant-garde film archives. This is a stunning alternate history of cinema.These filmmakers saw with new eyes and re-envisioned it as visual music or personal diary or city poem or found object.These films were shown in lofts, coffee houses,backyards or museums,the college circuit or underground cinemas.The disappearance of the 16mm circuit made screenings that much rarer.People like Stan Brakhage,Bruce Baillie,Ken Jacobs,George and Michael Kuchar,Hollis Frampton,Robert Beer,Owen Land,Shirley Clarke and Pat O'Neill were saved on DVD by the National Film Foundation from their fugitive existence.Their films felt genuinely homemade,in which every image,every cut,every sound,felt as if it had been crafted,lived with and worked through over time.
Some came to filmmaking from painting or sculpture,others from music, anthroplogy,photography or political activism.Of the featured films on side 1,I particularly liked "The Riddle of Lumen"(Brakhage),"Odds and Ends"(Belson Shimane),"By Night with Torch and Speer"(Cornell) and "The End" (Maclaine).On side 2 I liked "Go!Go!Go!"(Menken),"I,an Actress"(Kuchar),"New Improved Institutional Quality"(Land),"Fog Line" (Gottheim), "nostalgia"(Frampton).There is no pretence at narrative conventions,but another way of experiencing space,time and identity or another form of representing reality.I won't say I liked every film,but you can fast-forward into the next film if you wish.
Featuring newly recorded music by John Zorn, a 70-page book of program notes with a forward by Martin Scorsese, more than 200 interactive screens,where you can choose to play all the films,or choose from a menu a specific film with notes about the film or with alternative versions or soundtracks and an introduction by Martin Scorsese.