Dave Kehr's blog bids an end to 2012 with a Groucho intro to The Girl on the Bus and Decasia.
postscript to previous post:
|logo from A Citizen Makes a Decision (1954)|
It was damaged when Hurricane Fran [Sept. 1996] flooded my basement and knocked out power so the sump pump stopped working. Water damaged around 200 films. I was very depressed about it and didn't really want to go through the collection to assess the damage. Then I got a request from Bill Morrison, who was only looking for damaged material. That gave me the push to find the bad stuff...
|courtesy of Skip Elsheimer.|
|NYTimes.com credit reads: Icarus Films|
Another consequence of base deterioration is the appearance of crystalline deposits or liquid-filled bubbles on the emulsion. This is evidence of plasticizers, additives to the plastic base, becoming incompatible and oozing out on the surface. They can appear on either the base or emulsion side of the film. Plasticizers are chemical additives that are mixed in with the cellulose acetate during manufacture. . . . The high plasticizer content of acetate films reflects a desire to make film as non-flammable [aka 'non-inflammable,' ed.] as possible. The second function of plasticizers is to reduce the dimensional instability of film due to solvent loss or humidity change. All cellulosic films will shrink under dry conditions and expand under damp conditions; minimizing this behavior is an important role of plasticizer additives.
-- James M. Reilly, IPI Storage Guide for Acetate Film (Rochester, NY: Image Permanence Institute, 1993, rev. 1996), 12. See also: D. G. Horvath, The Acetate Negative Survey (Ekstrom Library, University of Louisville, 1987); C. R. Fordyce's article "Motion Picture Film Support: 1889-1976, An Historical Review," SMPTE Journal, 85 (Jul. 1976): 493-95; and, from one of the inventors of 16mm film at Eastman Kodak in the 1920s, C. E. K. Mees, "History of Professional Black-and-White Motion-Picture Film," Journal of the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers, 63 (Oct. 1954): 125-40.
|NYTimes.com credit line: University of South Carolina Moving Image Research Collections/Icarus Films|
Mr. Morrison has clearly logged a lot of hours at film archives — including the Museum of Modern Art, the Library of Congress and George Eastman House — in pursuit of particularly evocative instances of decay. Some shots seem almost too good to be true, as when an early-20th-century boxer spars with the shifting mass of nitrate rot that has erased his punching bag.
|soundtrack CD (Cantaloupe Music, 2002) limited edition DVD (Other Cinema)|
|This "stock" photo from Corbis company [100 million images] comes from the noted Bettman Archive [11 million photos], which it purchased in 1995. According to the Corbis Images site: "Original caption:1935- - Benny Leonard, Lightweight Champion, on a barn-storming trip, took on Willie Ritchie, ex-champion for four rounds at San Francisco and took a whipping. However, in a later fight in New Jersey, he knocked out Ritchie in 8 pounds [sic]."|
On December 21, 2012, (Bradley) Eros + (Jeanne) Liotta presented a screening/seance in the Maya Deren Theater at Anthology Film Archives, recognizing the 20th anniversary of the short Super 8 film Dervish Machine they made and toured with.
Light Cone will rent you a 16mm print for €31.
1992/16 mm / coul-n & b / son / 10 '00
"Meditations on the movement and be developed and craftsmen inspired by Gysin and Dream Machine by Sufi mysticism and pre-cinema. Knowledge of the fragility of existence reflects the toughness of the material. The film itself becomes the place where we experience impermanence and reveals the moving image."
Cellphone video (12.21.12) of Anthology Film Archives projection of a video copy of the 16mm film entitled Towers, Open Fire (1963, Anthony Balch, Brion Gysin, and Wm. S. Burroughs).
The spinning cylinders are "dream machines" (see the useful http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dreamachine)
After a Super 8 projection of the original film, the duo reunited to present a series of films, drawings, objects, slides, performances, and texts that either inspired or were proto-parts of Dervish Machine. The idea is actually part of a series curated by Bradley Eros, described in the Anthology calendar this way:
CATALYSTS (or, EXPOUNDED CINEMA) is a new series wherein avant-garde filmmakers reveal the secret sources and inspirations for a specific film from their body of work by a show-and-tell presentation through readings, films, music, images, dreams, documents, private tales, or exhibits demonstrating the roots and branches of experimental personal cinema: Exegesis by demo. Experience the cultural and personal artifacts that influenced the works and unravel the process from initiation to completion of the creative dynamics that form a work of film art.
MVTN 2-49: Egyptian Dancers (11 minutes)
MVTN 2-50: Egyptian (Whirling Dervishes) Dancers (shot in Cairo, December 28, 1928) (4 minutes)
A post-script to yesterday's post:
CBS News online has a nice gallery with images from each of the 25 titles on the 2012 Registry, as well as some stills about film preservation. This was the only source Google image search found for an image from Parable.
CBS News also has like galleries from 2010 and 2011.
|a frame grab from Parable (1964). Rumors of this film presenting "Jesus as a clown" were obviously exaggerated.|
at 7:04 PM
Guest blogger Mark Quigley is Manager of the UCLA Film & Television Archive's Archival Research and Study Center, who modestly describes himself as an "access archivist." As an adjunct faculty member, he teaches in UCLA's Moving Image Archive Studies master's program.
Parable [videorecording] / The Protestant Council of the City of New York
written by Rolf Forsberg; produced by Fred A. Niles; directed by Tom Rook, Rolf Forsberg. Produced by the Council of Churches of the City of New York"--Back cover
Originally released as a motion picture in 1964.
--> Filmed with the cooperation of Circus World Museum, Baraboo, Wisconsin.[Nashville, Tenn.] : United Methodist Communications: EcuFilm, [2005?].
(22 min.) : sd., col. ; + 1 leaders guide (11 p. ; 18 cm.)
Pantomime mettant en scène un clown qui prend la place des exploités dans une troupe de cirque. Bande sonore originale.The leader's guide is available for free download at the United Methodist Communications web store. The catalog description reads:
Subject: Morale pratique.
A timeless classic of service and self-sacrifice, Parable was the groundbreaking, award-winning film that astounded crowds at the 1964 New York World’s Fair. Using only strong visual images and music, Parable continues to speak volumes to contemporary audiences about compassion, combating injustice, and selfless giving. Simple. Direct. Sure to affect any age or ethnic group and spark endless discussion. This is one film that your class will remember for years to come. Free guides are available for each title under the Free Study Guide section. Council of Churches of the City of New York.
Audience: Youth and adults
Suggested Settings: Sunday school, retreats, youth groups
at 7:40 PM
The Library of Congress today announced the 25 films added to National Film Registry for 2012.
Many in archiving, preservation, and orphan film circles are particularly amped about this year's list. Librarian of Congress James Billington, offered up a quite diverse set of American films, the most eclectic group of 25 in his 24 years of being the sole arbiter of all 600 titles now on the Registry.
Among those with an orphan or non-Hollywood status (15 as I count them), there are riches. So too among the Hollywood 10 (if I may). Classics enshrined on the Registry cover a variety of genres and eras. "Just in time for Christmas," the LOC gives us the boomer touchstone A Christmas Story (1983), followed by the Delmer Daves-directed Western drama 3:10 to Yuma (1957), the iconic Siegel-Eastwood cop drama Dirty Harry (1971), a George Cukor comedy remembered as Judy Holliday's best, Born Yesterday (1950), a Blake Edwards comedy absolutely owned by Audrey Hepburn, Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961; map the novella and movie here!), the Penny Marshall-directed comedy best remembered for a man's line (Tom Hanks: "There's no crying in baseball!"), A League of Their Own (1992), a William Seiter-directed Hal Roach comedy starring Laurel & Hardy, Sons of the Desert (1933), and the franchise/zeitgeist movie about which nothing more need be said here because it's all around us all the time, The Matrix (1999).
|Thanks: Daniel Dempsey.|
In 1983 the National Film Archive undertook the task of copying the original 63mm footage onto 35mm film. Using some material available from their archives together with extra reels provided by Jim Jacobs.... [The NFA] rephotographed the positive print cartoon style using a light box and register pins. Each frame being advanced by hand. The final 35mm print was of the masked frame type with an aspect ratio of about l,66:1 with the normal space being provided for a future sound track. . . [T]he fight film had also been copied by Karl Malkames Inc. in New York. In this case the printing was done using a special variable-pitch printer movement designed by Karl Malkames A.S.C. The final copy negative had a larger image extending the full width between the perforations.
The various faces of the “China girl,” sometimes called a “China doll” or “girl head,” have appeared in more films than any actress, though she is almost never seen, save for the fleeting glimpses an audience might catch at the end of a film reel.
These images of a woman, demurely positioned next to color swatches, have appeared on the leader of every commercial manufactured film since the late 1920s and continue in limited use today. The China girl image is instrumental in determining exposure, image density, and color balance, forming a kind of cinematic unconscious. Her essential but often overlooked role in film history has also made her a compelling subject for experimental filmmakers variously examining issues of celluloid materiality, the behind-the-scenes workings of the film industry, and the often marginal role of women. In some cases, the China girl is no less than the enigmatic icon of a vanishing medium.
|Gibson & Recoder at Orphans 2008|
at 4:04 PM
Here’s a New York update after the destruction wrought by last week’s hurricane (too terrible to be named “Sandy”).
Executive summary? Students and alumni from NYU’s Moving Image Archiving and Preservation Program are doing great things, including volunteering in disaster recovery efforts.
As I type this, some are on the ground at the recently flooded facilities of Eyebeam Art + Technology Center, a New York-based not-for-profit organization.
Dear MIAP folks,
Thanks so much to those of you who have come out to help at Eyebeam the past two days. You've been really incredible. We would never have got so far without your ingenuity, knowledge, skill and dedication. This has been an amazing learning experience for me, so I hope it has been for you as well. Nothing like a disaster to give you a crash course in disaster recovery!
BUT, we are not done, and we could really use your talents again tomorrow [Sunday]! Mornings have been slow, so the more of you who can come in the morning (starting around 10:15), the better.
If someone can forward the info to the 1st years MIAP students, that would be super.
Howard, Mona, Dan, Alicia -- you should be proud of the 2nd years (oh and a few faculty and alumni too, including Josh R[anger], Erik P[iil], Chris L[acinak], Seth A[nderson], Walter F[orsberg].... Hope I haven't forgotten anyone; it's been a real whirlwind could of days). Unfortunately, I don't have a group pic, but I've attached a few shots of people in action.
|Kristin MacDonough, Shira Peltzman, Walter Forsberg|
Hope everyone who I haven't talked to is doing ok!
Wow! Inspiring work, all!! Forwarded to first years.---------------
On Sun, Nov 4, 2012 at 1:29 PM, (dan.streible@nyu) wrote:
Hi, Kara, Chris, Mona, Howard and Moving Image Archiving & Preservation heroes.
No reason not to shout this out to everyone.
This is just the most recent of many reasons I am so proud to be affiliated with the program and the individuals in it. Not only is your work inspiring because it is 'impactful' (as Jodie Foster said in Contact) but your works are continuing evidence of how freakin' HARD you work.
For those being introduced to this conversation, for the first time: the Subject line references the ongoing disaster-recovery actions being taken in New York by MIAP ally Chris Lacinak's AudioVisual Preservation Solutions with many MIAP alumni and student volunteers at the not-for-profit Eyebeam Art + Technology Center. For 3 or 4 days running now.
This volunteering of hard (skilled) labor by MIAP peeps is all the more laudable given how much MIAP students achieved the 4 previous weekends.
• Friday, October 5: NYU Cinema Studies Community Weekend – AMIA @ NYU game night;
• Saturday, October 13: a student-generated Archiving the Arts conference at NYU Tisch;
• Saturday, October 20: alums and students volunteer at Home Movie Day at the Museum of Modern Art;
• Saturday, October 27: MIAP student-generated and co-hosted World Day for Audiovisual Heritage 2012 as part of the Museum of Modern Art's annual international film preservation festival, To Save and Project.
And of course the conference and the WDAVH event involved months of planning.
None of this was done as course work per se. These are impactful[!] events conceived and executed by MIAP students and their recruited allies.------------
No doubt I am omitting other amazing acts of professionalism and generosity these people have achieved in the past month. And of course many of these people were themselves undergoing the hardships of the hurricane aftermath. (You might be aware that one of the current MIAP students lost nearly all of her worldly possessions due to the flooding in New Jersey -- yet she remains part of the volunteer cohort!)
Even as MIAP/Cinema Studies students-staff-faculty-alumni remain international leaders in the field's theoretical and intellectual development, they are obviously kicking ass in practice. Making the world better for the living and their future descendants.
Also: Get some rest, all y'all.
NYU | Tisch School of the Arts | Cinema Studies | Moving Image Archive and Preservation Program
at 7:07 PM
at 1:31 AM
at 4:13 AM
|"Chickens are good animals...."|
. . . However, there is also a gulf between the influential “essential cinema” of Brakhage’s cohort and the world of Helen Hill. The humor, love, whimsy, sweetness, and accessibility (even to children) of Helen’s films differentiate them from the experimental films usually taken as emblematic of the post-WWII American avant garde. The latter is generally represented by the work of structuralists, contrarians, and male individualists -- Brakhage, Hollis Frampton, Jonas Mekas, Ken Jacobs, Kenneth Anger, et al. This artists’ film culture has historically been characterized as filled with conflict, internecine grudges, denunciations, and darkness. As the New American Cinema Group famously expressed in its 1961 manifesto: “we don’t want rosy films -- we want them the color of blood.” Helen wanted -- and made -- rosy films, figuratively and literally. Flowers were a motif in her work. Throbbing red Valentine hearts were another. And of course her pet pigs were Rosie and Daisy). Hers was, as Egan puts it, a cinema of optimism. Even when it dealt with death, resurrection followed. Scratch and Crow concludes with the written, biblical-sounding evocation “If I knew,/ I would assure you we are all / Finally good chickens / And will rise together, / A noisy flock of round, / Dusty angels.”Certainly Helen’s work also shares traits with the canonical avant garde. Like the Group, she preferred films “rough, unpolished, but alive.” She knew that Mekas, Brakhage, Jerome Hill (no relation), and other cineastes had long valorized the art of amateur cinema. (“I studied home movies as diligently as I studied the aesthetics of Sergei Eisenstein,” said Brakhage.) Helen also taught her students the history of experimental animation, showing work by Lotte Reiniger, Len Lye, Norman McLaren, and other artists who influenced her. These two schools came together briefly when Anthology Film Archives, epicenter of avant garde American cinema, hosted a retrospective, The Life & Films of Helen Hill, in October 2007.
at 8:17 PM