Between Two Cinemas: American Avant-Garde. Part 2

The programme entitled Between Two Cinemas revolves around the same-name essay film by Ross Lipman, a filmmaker and archivist from the United States. He reflects his thirty-year tortuous path through the endless space between two traditions: European art film and American avant-garde cinema.
This two-part autobiographical collage includes Lipman's restored experimental films of the past years and, as a result, features an experience of a kind of self-archiving. At the same time, it contains many references to films that influenced his creative style, and unique archival material, which tells, for instance, about the quarrel between Brakhage and Tarkovsky. This year we have decided to focus only on one of the poles designated by Lipman — the North American one: each part of his digital video essay will be preceded by a short retrospective of Maya Deren, Stan Brakhage, Michael Snow and Bruce Baillie's classic films on 16 mm. But the binary logic of the programme, thus, will be reflected in another dimension — the technological one: in the space between digital and analogue cinema.

Between Two Cinemas. Part two

USA | 2018 | 33 min
Ross Lipman
Russian Premiere
Each film of the retrospective is somehow connected to the Ross Lipman's introspection. He directly refers to some of them in his video essay, arguing about their influence on the development of his creative style. He inserts fragments of others, including, for example, Michael Snow's Wavelength, demonstrating them in silence and positioning them among the rest of the elements of his collage. Finally, the third type of films is not mentioned at all in Lipman's autobiography, but are crucial for both his oeuvre and the international cinema history. Castro Street, included in the Library of Congress archive, is the pinnacle of Bruce Baillie's creative journey. An interview with this poet of everyday life and the researcher of the mythologies of post-war America became the central element of the second part of Between Two Cinemas. And in its very beginning, Lipman tells the story of the conflict between Andrei Tarkovsky and Stan Brakhage. The reason was the US director's incredibly bold formal experiments, many of whose works, including The Dante Quartet, became the cinematic equivalent of abstract expressionism.

Castro Street

USA | 1966 | 10 min | 16mm
Bruce Baillie
Russian Premiere
"Inspired by a lesson from Eric Satie , a film in the form of a street – Castro Street running by the Standard Oil Refinery in Richmond, California… switch engines on one side and refinery tanks, stacks and buildings on the other – the street and the film ending at a red lumber company. All visual and sound elements from the street, progressing from the beginning to the end of the street is black and white (secondary), and one is colour like male and female elements. The emergence of a long switch engineer shot (black and white solo) is to the film-maker the essential image of consciousness." – Bruce Baillie.


USA | 1967 | 45 min | 16mm
Michael Snow
Russian Premiere
«Winner of the Grand Prix at the 4th EXPRMNTL, also known as the Knokke Experimental Film Festival. "One of the few truly original works of the current avant-garde, a perfect example of the cinema of stillness and poetic contemplation weaving its hypnotic charms so deviously that many who come to scoff remain transfixed. Wavelength is one of those few films that compel the viewer regardless of his personal reactions to speculate on the very essence of the medium and inevitably of reality». – Amos Vogel.

The Dante Quartet

USA | 1987 | 6 min | 16mm
Stan Brakhage
Russian Premiere
«This hand-painted work, six years in the making (37 in the study of The Divine Comedy) demonstrates the earthly conditions of 'Hell', 'Purgatory' (or 'Transition'), and 'Heaven' (or 'existence is song', which is the closest I'd presume heaven to be from my experience). The film is in four parts which are inspired by the closed-eye or hypnogogic vision created by these emotional states. Originally painted on IMAX and Cinemascope 70mm and 35mm, these paint-laden rolls have been carefully rephotographed and translated to 35mm and 16mm compilations by Dan Yanofsky of Western Cine». – Stan Brakhage.

Ross Lipman

Ross Lipman (b. 1963) is an independent filmmaker, essayist, and archivist. Formerly Senior Film Restorationist at the UCLA Film & Television Archive, his many restorations include Charles Burnett's Killer of Sheep, Kent Mackenzie's The Exiles, the Academy Award- winning documentary The Times of Harvey Milk, and works by Charlie Chaplin, Orson Welles, Shirley Clarke, Kenneth Anger, Barbara Loden, Robert Altman, Bruce Conner and John Cassavetes. He is a three-time winner of the National Society of Film Critics' Heritage Award, and a 2008 recipient of Anthology Film Archives' Preservation Honors. Lipman's films have screened internationally and been collected by museums and institutions including the Oberhausen Kurzfilm Archive, Budapest's Balazs Bela Studios, Munich's Sammlung Goetz, The Academy Film Archive, Anthology Film Archives, and Northeast Historic Film. Lipman's writings on film history, technology, and aesthetics have been published in Artforum, Sight and Sound, and numerous academic books and journals. His documentary feature, Notfilm, premiered at the London International Film Festival in 2015 and was named one of the 10 best films of the year in numerous publications.
July 12
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