For this show we looked at two films. "The Origins of the Motion Picture" and "The Inner World of Jose Luis Borges". One film about the history and development of movie technology and another about the life and thoughts of the Famous South American writer and poet.
"Origins" was produced by the U.S. Navy in 1955. It credits no individuals but an IMDB check might reveal some pretty well known folks in there. It aspires to be comprehensive and has lots of well researched images from the Library of Congress, The Smithsonian, The George Eastman House and other repositories. It starts with the confirmation by Ptolemy of the persistence of vision in 130 BC and follows up to the development of 35 mm celluloid film. I was glad to see portraits of the luminaries like Daguerre, Plateau, and Muybridge,but missed the details of the determination who got credit for what. This film concentrated mainly on the imaging and projecting machines and less on the history of the form. It's a good introduction to the technology of motion pictures in which Edison get credit for just about everything.
The Borges film looks like a personal project for Harold Mantell the writer/director. It has a lot of hand held footage of Borges at home and at work. There are interviews as well. Some of the interviews are marred by a loud camera background noise. There is sometimes magical footage, (the blind Borges moving through the Bibleotec National in Buenos Aires lit by a single hand held spot, or a scene at home which shows him mouthing the words to one of his poems while his wife sings them back to him). There is an intrusive narrator here and in other moments that makes me wish the film maker had trusted his images more.
I also showed a bonus film of my friend David Cooper graduating from the PHD program at Brown in 1978. Shot by me in black and white 16mmm as a gift to him. I was obviously bored and distracted by the peripheral activity. It's pretty good footage. There might be a story in there somewhere.
Gordon and Tara Nelson will be coming to Montserrat on Saturday and Sunday October 29th and 30th to conduct a two day workshop in Hand processing Super-8 black and white film. The workshop will take place in the photo department darkroom area. You will learn how to process black and white positive and negative film. These Boston -based film makers work in a variety of film formats. Their work can be seen by clicking the links on the right side of this page. Check the Montserrat Continuing Education web page for details.
We screened three films; "Tilt," "Love To Kill" and "God's Monkey".
The first two were civics lessons.
Tilt" was a National Film Board of Canada animation about the worlds resources and what we can (or can't) do about preserving them. Blithely liberal, it took no positions. A committee job co-produced by the World Bank in 1972.
"Love to Kill" was a Values Lesson couched in a youth vs. elders story of camp kids who want to set free the buffalo. Strangely re-edited from a longer film by Stanley Kramer. Featuring familiar but forgotten actors from the 1970's. Jeeps, Horses, guns, kids, older guys and horses.
"God's Monkey" is ostensibly an Art History film. It changes into a subjective, zealous and almost paranoid interpretation of the Hieronymus Bosch painting "Garden of Earthy Delights" Preposterous and wonderfully mad.
Over 100 films were donated to The Institute by the Chapin-Berner collective this summer. The collection is now cataloged and housed at The Institute. We are starting a film screening series called "Random Title Search". We will be showing films chosen randomly by title only starting on Monday Sept. 12th at 6:30 p.m. in the Institute.