Star Spangled to Death (2004)

Star Spangled to Death is the magnum opus of the independent filmmaker Ken Jacobs. Begun in 1957 as a backyard bohemian romp starring the avant-garde legend Jack Smith the project grew over the years to incorporate huge chunks of appropriated material. Star Spangled to Death is like a sponge, absorbing into itself political advertisements, patriotic songs, home movies, television programs, soft porn, newsreels, early cartoons, and the delirious street antics of Jack Smith and Jerry Sims.
Though the film originally included more autobiographical sections than in the final cut, Star Spangled to Death easily lends itself to a broader experience. It is recognisable for the fears and concerns it invokes of a particular era that perhaps translate too easily into our own.

This film is a major event in the history of poetic cinema and at the same time, it's highly political: an exhaustive, sprawling history of America in the form of found footage and recordings, as seen through the eyes of those on the margins .
Six hours and forty-five minutes of obscure found educational and nature films mixed with 1950s street theater footage shot by the filmmaker and updated with anti-Bush thoughts and opinions from the past five years. That’s right, 50 years in the making.
Styles of editing and photography are mixed and matched, found footage sometimes plays out completely and other times it cuts back and forth with footage shot for the film.

1979 Semifinalist 1

By Kelly Aka.

Yoman (1983)

Shot over a ten-year period, Diary is not only the political, professional, and personal diary of a man, but is a testimony on the turbulent reality of a war-torn country, Israel. The six chapters that make up the film takes us from Tel Aviv to Paris, then to London and Brazil, where David Perlov was born, and where he decides to return after a twenty year absence.
Diary is finally about the threads that bind a man to his country of citizenship, his countries of belonging. Perlov's deep voiced narration ties together these fragments of contemporary Israel, for by ploughing into himself and his life he painted his country's fate.

The film is also a family diary in which Perlov records the coming of age of his two daughters, yael and Naomi. An extraordinary mixture of home movies, political documentary, and cinéma-vérité, Diary is a unique work. His Diary, filmed informally over the course of ten years, unhurriedly recomposes life as it goes on and suggests a simple exercise of patience in deciphering the best in our humanity.

Sonando estar atrapada

Alejandro Cartagena's works has been exhibited internationally. He is recipient of several major national and state young creators grants, numerous honorable mentions and acquisition prizes.

Drawn and Quartered (1987)

Lynne Sachs and her friend John shot this film with a Regular 8 camera on a roof in San Francisco, literally creating a drawn and quartered image. Images of a male form and a female form exist in their own private domains, separated by a barrier. Sometimes, however, one person dares to intrude upon the pictorial space of the other. Only for a moment does the one intrude upon the pictorial space of the other.

This short is a diary in which the filmaker reflected on the possibilities and the limitations of her own body became the skeletal framework for the film.

Le Canard à l'orange (2002)

Patrick Bokanowski developed a manner of treating filmic materiel that crosses over traditional boundaries of film genre. His works lie on the edge between optical and plastic art, reinventing itself. He challenges the idea that cinema must, essentiallly, reproduce reality, our everyday thoughts and feelings, contradicting the photographic objectivity that is firmly tied to the essence of film production, and attempting to open the art of film up to other possibilities of expression

A housewife is preparing a duck à l'orange in her kitchen. But the reluctant bird tries to escape from her but the woman manages to recaptures it and plucks it savagely. Once the duck is put in the oven, an alligator unexpectedly appears in the kitchen, threatening the cook. She tries to escape from it first, then pursues it and finally sits down at the table with it. Meanwhile, the duck succeeds in opening the the door of the oven and flies away through the open window.

Rock Series

"Feeling Sublime", 40" x 96" oil on Canvas.

"I'm Here", oil on Canvas, 48" x 60".
By Stephanie Taormina.

...Remote... Remote... (1973)

This short film displays Valery Export's views on women in society. She uncovers the socially hidden suffering and pain women experience in life. Through her shocking imagery and semiotic use of the body, she attempts to free the woman's image from the confides of society and men.
With sometimes painful directness, she conducts a psychological investigation of the body in this film performance, externalizes an internal state. In front of a police photo showing two children, she tortuously cuts into her cuticles until blood drips into a bowl of milk on her lap. On top of the symbolic plane of blood and milk, the physical effect on the viewer of her destructive act of self-mutilation is extreme.

Valie Export forces you into the male position of watching pain: alienating, repulsing and terrorizing you with it.
A female's image is very much connected to her identity, especially by society. Like many of Export's performance pieces, she is again freeing her body from society, by having the woman cut away at her own hands. A woman's hands are stereotypically associated with well-groomed polished nails, and fragile feminine fingers.

My Name Is Oona (1969)

Gunvor Nelson chose to create a haunting, intensely lyrical evocation of her daughter's inner and outer worlds. The film consists of looped sound, elliptical cutting, slow motion, and superimpositions which construct a dream world in which Nelson's daughter plays, at one with nature. The child moves through rhythmically changing scenes, on to the meaning of letting go, respective harnessing the inherent power of life.
A series of extremely brief flashes of her moving through night-lit space or woods in sensuous negative, separated by rapid fades into blackness, burst upon us like a fairy-tale princess, with a late sun only partially outlining her and the animal in silvery filigree against the encroaching darkness. Throughout the entire film, the girl, compulsively and as if in awe, repeats her name, until it becomes a magic incantation of self-realization.

The film creates an unsettling rather than an idealized portrait of childhood: Gunvor Nelson doesn't want this film was a normal, cute picture of Oona; he think the world Oona was in and Gunvor Nelson own childhood world are combined there. As a child, you're pretty secure in your known world, but the rest is very mysterious and scary; maybe there are monsters and trolls lurking out there, even if you've never seen them.

Dhrupad (1982)

Mani Kaul came to the cinema rather late in life, because he had eyesight problems as a child. He was already thirteen when the doctors found a cure. It was then that he discovered the world and choose to gave his life to cinema.
Its Dhrupad' explores an exquisite form of Indian classical music, dating from the 15th century and possessed of a mesmerizing intricacy. The film isn't so much a documentary as it is an exploration: every shot with immense love and care for tone, texture and colour, it is a landmark film.
Featuriing two famous masters, the Dagar brothers of Dhrupad school, this film is truly a pioneering work in the sense that nothing quite like this had been attempted before. It not only captures for us, and posterity, the magical quality of the two great masters' voices, but provides a valuable clue to the evolution of their art with its beginning in tribal music.

Dhrupad observes the musicians as they sit atop a beautiful mountain fortress and perform. As the camera traces the curves of the architecture and examines the landscape around them, and with a narrator's occasional commentary, this music casts its spell.
Mani Kaul puts forth the argument that tribal music had two aspects: one concerned itself with ritualistic hymns and the other related to changing seasons, as also birth, marriage, death, etc. While the folk music stayed in the villages, the ritualistic music evolved into classical music and moved to the courts.

Talysis II (2006)

After trashing the idea of being part of the 'art world' and being in the enviable position of being unemployable, Paul Prudence spent a few years travelling, then voluntary working as an art therapist in a mental hospital. Spare time was spent staying up until morning painting pictures influenced by altered states of consciousness.
spent drafting fantastical landscapes in pen and ink.
He's widely known for his impressive output of generative artworks. Having migrated from Flash to the more powerful VVVV, he’s now focusing on audio-responsive generative systems that evoke organic 3D spaces.

Talysis explored elements self-organisation and crystallisation - autocatalytic replication and recursive symmetry. It navigates the possibility of a sentient geometry to produce a stream of geometric archetypes; a collective unconscious for emergent dynamical systems.
The film mimics analog video feedback systems, recursively transforming a geometric form through a series of render passes until a crystalline form emerges. The patterns produced seem unstable, constantly about to morph into new configurations. The strict symmetry evokes a sense of folding and unfolding movement, as though one was watches fragments of a 4-dimensional form projecting into Cartesian space.

Milch (2005)

Milch is a wordless but nowhere near silent dramatic piece by long-time Klasky Csupo director/animator Igor Kovalyov.

The density of his art expresses human experiences of loneliness, madness, reclusion and redemption.

Kovalyov's characters are not idealized, nor are they horribly grotesque - they are extremely ordinary people in a bizarrely permissible world. Milch merges adult themes with the unforbidden landscape of animation.

I Am Sitting in A Room (1970)

I Am Sitting in A Room is a psycho - acoustic classic by Alvin Lucier for voice and tape. It features Lucier recording himself narrating a text which describes this process in action, and then playing the recording back into the room, re-recording it. The new recording is then played back and re - recorded, and this process is repeated. Since all rooms have characteristic resonance or formant frequencies, Lucier had also specified that a performance need not use his text and the performance may be recorded in any room. However, Lucier himself has recorded the piece in at least one room he did not find aesthetically acceptable.
In fact, certain frequencies are emphasized as they resonate in the room, until eventually the words become unintelligible, replaced by the pure resonant harmonies and tones of the room itself.

The process continues until all we can hear is white noise. Different rooms affect the decay of sound in different ways, so this performance is different to the original recorded version. It is not easy to understand and it is not necessarily the most enjoyable listen you will come in contact with. There is no beat and thus no driving force. But what you hear throughout the extent of this album transforms beautifully. By the end of the recording, you are no longer hearing Alvin Lucier’s voice, although it is still there. You are hearing a room. You are hearing the room Alvin Lucier is sitting in.
You can buy I Am Sitting in a Room.

Humdrum (1998)

Humdrum is a self parody. Since the characters themselves are composed of cast shadows from animated figures, the joke is heightened when they resort to playing shadow puppets with their hands.

This film was born out the need to make a film that was relatively cheap. In Peter Peak's sketchbook, he has been knocking around the idea of making an animated film using shadow puppets, if only because it meant they didn't have to spend a lot of money making complex models.

JOURNEYS FROM BERLIN/1971 (Sundandce Film Festival 1980)

For the next 125 minutes, we have a ringside seat to Michelson's stream-of-consciousness ramblings, augmented by fragmentary surrealistic shots culled from modern Berlin and revolutionary Russia. In fact, to explore the ramifications of terrorism, Rainer employs an extended therapy session to evoke the daily experiences of power and repression.

The feminist propaganda films of the late 60's and early 70's were often forceful, this film is not. Its puts forwards feminist ideals without hiding femininity or alienating others. It also presents both sides of an argument about the use of political violence without ever condoning either cause.
Journey from Berlin/1971 declares also a revolution in the structurally obsessed American avant-garde film scene, stating that language is more important than image. Obvious connections between image and sound occur enough to alert viewers to the fact that there are connections they're missing, and, more importantly, to communicate a vision of the world engaged in a historically ongoing global struggle.

When the Wind Blows (1986)

When the Wind Blows is an amazing piece of animation, which still remains little known to this day, for the seamless mode in which it combines dimensions, propping 2D characters up against both 2D and 3D backgrounds.
Jim and Hilda are an elderly couple living a tranquil life in a small cottage out in the countryside. Their home is hit indirectly by a Soviet nuclear bomb, leaving it in ashes and barely standing. Jim and Hilda survive by ducking behind a door that Jim set up as an inner refuge. Then they are doomed to suffer the most for something over which they have no voice. They place their trust in a line of government-issued pamphlets and, in spite of the obvious flaws and contradictions in their advice. Their shelter, miraculously, works, altough it leaves them totally unprepared for a threat even more horrifying, devastating and noxious than the blast itself: the nuclear winter that must follow.

When Raymond Briggs first set out to tell this incredible and nerve-jangling story, he chose to do it in one of the most unlikely formats available: a children's comic book. Jimmy Murakami's film is a faithful adaptation, and really maintains Briggs' look, feel and sense of character , but in merely being a movie it lacks the naïve innocence that only a children's storybook could really provide.
You can buy When the Wind Blows.

The War Game (Oscar 1966)

Peter Watkins's depiction of the impact of Soviet nuclear attack on Britain caused dismay within the BBC and in government. It was scheduled for transmission on August 6, 1966 but was not transmitted until 1985, the corporation publicly stating that "the effect of the film has been judged by the BBC to be too horrifying for the medium of broadcasting".
Some of the images are almost impossible to look at; they truly illustrate the theory that, in the wake of such a
holocaust, the living will envy the dead. The most heartwrenching scene is the simplest. Asked what he
wants to be when he grows up, a sullen young boy, physically unhurt but with obviously deep emotional
scarred, mutters "I don't want to be nothin'".

The story is told in the style of a news magazine programme. Part interviews and quotations, part acting, this film simulates the aftermath of a large-scale nuclear attack near a rural area of England. It argues that citizens and Civil Defense authorities are poorly prepared for this eventuality, and describes possible physical, psychological and social damage in graphic detail.
It features several different strands that alternate throughout, including a documentary-style chronology of the main events, featuring reportage-like images of the war, the nuclear strikes, and their effects on civilians; brief contemporary interviews, in which passers-by are interviewed about their knowledge of nuclear war issues; optimistic commentary from public figures that clashes with the other images in the film; and fictional interviews with key figures as the war unfolds.
The "dramatic" sequences, with their highly "documentary" look, are retained as fragmentary and discontinuous illustrations of an ongoing documentary narrative which itself disorientingly moves back and forth between statements and assumptions that this is "really happening" before our eyes, and other types of proposition and warning that this is how it "could be" and "might look."
You can buy The War Game.

Mr. Hayashi (1961)

Baillie's films are characterized by images of haunting, evanescent beauty. An object will appear with spectacular clarity, only to dissolve away an instant later. Light itself often becomes a subject, shining across the frame or reflected from objects, suggesting a level of poetry in the subject matter that lies beyond easy interpretation. Baillie combines images with other images, and images with sound, in dense, collage-like structures.
The effect of Baillie's films is to make the viewer feel that any moment of the viewing, any single image he is looking at is a mere illusion that will soon vanish.

Mr. Hayashi places the poetic and the social in a very precise balance. The narrative, slight as it is, mounts a social critique of sorts, involving the difficulty the title character, a Japanese gardener, has finding work that pays adequately. But the beauty of Baillie's black-and-white photography, which consists of evocative, sun-drenched images forming a short, haiku-like portrait of a man. On the soundtrack, we hear the man speak of his life, and his difficulty in finding work Rather than a study of unemployment, the film becomes a study of nested layers of stillness and serenity
This work also functioned as an advertisement for the film society collective Canyon Cinema, of which Baillie was a co-founder. The natural and intimate pictorial handling of Mr. Hayashi is characteristic of all of Baillie's work,