Wednesday, December 11, 2013

This Charming Couple (2012)

WHO: Alex MacKenzie found this highly-distressed film fragment, and repurposes it as his own work of projector performance by running it through his analytic projector in reverse.

WHAT: I have not seen it, so here is MacKenzie's website description,
A water-damaged educational film, repurposed. Its original message of the risks of entering marriage without fully knowing your partner is visually abstracted, rendering a moral lesson into a shifting landscape of emulsion. Played in reverse, the couple in question slowly move apart, becoming less and less visible as the damage worsens at film's edge
WHERE/WHEN: On a program playing tonight only at the Exploratorium at 7:00 PM.

WHY: I wrote my general thoughts on the place of projector performance in cinema culture earlier this year when Vanessa O'Neill's Suspsension screened at the monthly Shapeshifters Cinema event in Oakland. This past Sunday it was MacKenzie's turn to project his piece Intertidal at the venue. If you missed that show (as I did) you get a second chance at seeing it tonight, along with This Charming Couple and Logbook, at the wonderful new Exploratorium screening space. 

Unfortunately, though they seem to me to be naturally connected, the local avant-garde film community and the archival/early/silent-cinema community are frequently split in two by conflicting screenings occurring at the same time. Tonight begins a two-night stand at the Rafael Film Center of archivist Randy Haberkamp and piano accompanist Michael Mortilla showing first rare Hollywood Home Movies and then The Films of 1913 via a hand-cranked 1909-era projector. These events force choices, and this week is a particularly good example of it.  You can't see both MacKenzie AND Haberkamp/Mortilla tonight, just as you can't see both Haberkamp/Mortilla AND (on the avant-garde side) the presentation of Paul Clipson-curated films in Napa tomorrow. Nor can you see both Clipson's Artists' Television Access screening of his own work AND Oddball Films' presentation of (Mostly) Strange Silents Friday. Nor can you see both the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum's program including Mae Marsh in the D.W. Griffith-scripted Hoodoo Ann AND the free selection of films by Owen Land, Curt McDowell, Luther Price, etc. at the Canyon Cinema Pop-Up at the Kadist Gallery this Saturday. Well, that last one might be strictly possible if you have access to a fast car to get you from SF to Fremont.

Full disclosure: I'm also heavily involved (as in, performing live music) at a screening event tomorrow evening that I think would interest fans of both avant-garde and of early/silent cinema. Check it out if you can!

HOW: On a full program consisting entirely of live 16mm projector performance.

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