CEMETERY OF SPLENDOUR
Open Colour and Fabrica Film Club Present
Wednesday 10th August at 8pm
at Fabrica, 40 Duke Street, Brighton, BN1 1AG
Cemetery of Splendour
Thailand/UK/France/Germany/Malaysia | 122 minutes | 2015
The latest masterpiece from visionary Thai auteur Apichatpong Weerasethakul is, like his beguiling Palme d'Or winner 'Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives', a transfixing, enigmatic work of restrained “magical realism” that delivers the mythical and mundane in equal, hushed tones.
In 'Cemetery of Splendour', a unit of soldiers have succumbed to a mysterious sleeping sickness. A young medium acts as a go between using her psychic powers to help visiting family and friends communicate with their comatose loved ones. As events unfold she begins to suspect the soldiers’ enigmatic syndrome links them to an ancient burial ground that lies beneath their makeshift clinic.
Mesmerising and gently humorous, 'Cemetery of Splendour' is a sublime fusion of history, memory, mysticism and socio-political allegory.
Top 10 film of 2015 for Sight & Sound, Cahiers du Cinema, and Cinema Scope.
£4 Advance / £5 on door.
Tickets £4 Book online via Eventbrite (booking fee applies). Payments can also be made in cash (no additional fee) in person during gallery opening hours. Sorry - no phone booking.
DAISIES + SHORT FILMS FROM CHICK STRAND
+ TAMARA HENDERSON
Dreamland and Open Colour Present
Sunday 24th July at 7.30pm
at 88 London Rd, Brighton, BN1 4JF
Introduced by Miska Morning - PHD candidate in Czech Surrealism and Cinema
Vera Chytilová, 1966, Czechoslovakia, 76 mins
Two young women, Marie 1 and Marie 2, deciding that the world is irrevocably corrupt, run amok through a series of exuberant, anarchic adventures – drinking, feasting, trashing apartments and goading aged would-be suitors. Fifty years on, Daisies remains an amazing explosion of absurdist humour, lurid random tinting, deep eyeliner and proto-feminist politics. A milestone of the ‘Nová Vlna’, Chytilová's masterpiece was banned by the Czech authorities till 1975 for ‘depicting the wanton’.
‘A film that incites radical fantasies and exults in the dream of a repressive social order being destroyed. It’s a trip, a surreal manifesto, a joy to behold’ Telegraph
"One of the great outpourings of cinematic invention in an age of over-all artistic liberation …a dazzling, bewildering catalogue of visual effects." The New Yorker
Artificial Paradise (Chick Strand, 1986, USA,13 min) / 16mm screening
Strand is a major West Coast filmmaker whose pioneering work combines elements of documentary, ethnographic and experimental cinema. ‘Artificial Paradise’ is one of her boldest experiments – an ecstatic, hypnotic visual encounter aiming to collapse the distance between filmmaker and subject.
Accent Grave on Ananas (Tamara Henderson, USA/Canada 2013 3 mins) / 16mm screening
A full three-minute slice of gorgeously flawed pop perfection. Henderson’s gleeful free associations and in-camera choreography sculpt a dream landscape from signs of waking life. We’re on paradise beach with pineapples, but still no one’s answering the phone. Thankyou Rodeo Gallery for this print.
Fabrica Film Club and Open Colour Present
Thursday 16th June at 7pm
at Fabrica, 40 Duke Street, Brighton, BN1 1AG
Tape Leaders - Book Launch and short film screening
To celebrate the publication of Ian Helliwell's Tape Leaders - A Compendium of Early British Electronic Music Composers, this event combines a programme of short films with electronic music soundtracks, plus a talk and discussion with several of the composers featured in the book.
Tape Leaders is a comprehensive reference guide for anyone interested in electronic sound and its origins in Great Britain. For the first time details are set out on over 100 music-makers active before 1970, to reveal the untold story of early British electronic composition. After six years of research and dozens of interviews, Helliwell has amassed information never before brought to light in this fascinating subject. For people interested in early analogue synthesizers and Radiophonic Workshop era musique concrete, this volume will be essential reading. A specially compiled 15 track CD of mainly unreleased early electronic tracks comes with the book, copies of which will be on sale.
Mr. Benn - The Spaceman (1970)
FC Judd: Mad Motors (1974)
Ken Gray Electrosculpture extracts (1976)
Expo Parade (1958)
Hazel Swift: Shirt Factory (1963)
Stuart Wynn Jones: Short Spell (1956)
William Pye: Scrap to Sculpture (1971)
The Post Office Tower (c.1968)
Discussion with composers Laurie Scott Baker, Ron Geesin, George Newson and Ian Helliwell, chaired by Angus Carlyle.
Tickets £4 Book online via See Tickets (booking fee applies). Payments can also be made in cash (no additional fee) in person during gallery opening hours. Sorry - no phone booking.
VALERIE AND HER WEEK OF WONDERS + SHORTS FROM JAN SVANKMAJER
Thursday 25th February at 7.30pm (Doors 7.20pm)
in the Friends Meeting House, Ship St, Brighton, BN1 1AF
Valerie and Her Week of Wonders
(Valerie a ty´den divu)
Jaromil Jires, 1970, Czechoslovakia, 78 mins
Based on a surrealist novel by the poet Vitezslav Nezval, ‘Valerie and Her Week of Wonders’ is among the most beautiful oddities of the Czech New Wave. Jires’ feverish, non-linear, gothic fantasy follows the plight of Valerie, who on the occasion of her entry into womanhood, finds her idyllic village transformed into a nightmarish carnival of vampires, occult ritual, and magic. Identities become fluid, family and friends are possessed, priests become predators, magical jewellery could somehow hold the key…
Ravishingly shot, enchantingly scored, Jires crystallises a sense of the mystical and captures it on celluloid - just at the moment when Soviet state communism threatened to (and eventually did) suppress an entire generation of provocative new directors.
'A work of both visceral immediacy and lingering allure, Valerie and Her Week of Wonders is a uniquely influential film, one of intoxicating sensation and unconscious immersion' Slant magazine
'It's overall effect is stunning' Time Out
+ Rare Svankmajer on 16mm: The Ossuary (Jan Svankmajer, 1970, CZ, 10 min, 16mm). A 'horror documentary' starring Sedlec's Monastery Ossuary, which is constructed from over 50,000 human skeletons. Svankmajer’s live action, dense collage pays homage to Czech artist Frantisek Rint’s obsessive creations (including skull pyramids, crosses, a monstrance and a chandelier containing every bone of the human body). + The Last Trick (Jan Svankmajer, CZ, 1969, 12 min, 16mm) Svankmajer’s first film, influenced by his work at the Laterna Magika Theater, depicts an absurd, deadly battle between two magicians
Introduced by Czech artist and filmmaker MISKA MORNING
Advance Tickets £5 (+ 50p booking fee) from SEE TICKETS
NEITHER GOD NOR SANTA MARIA...AND FURTHER MYSTERIES
Saturday 12th December at 4.30pm
at the Sallis Benney Theatre
Myth, hand painted abstract visions and more in a programme of acclaimed new artist cinema from festivals around the world. Plus archive classics unveiling a nocturnal realm of dream logic and poetry. And easing you into the yuletide spirit an opening sound work from BLOOD STEREO.
Neither God nor Santa Maria
(Sin Dios ni Santa María)
Samuel M. Delgado & Helena Girón, 2015, Spain, 12 mins
‘Since airplanes did not exist, people moved around using prayers; they went from one land to another and returned early, before dawn. In old audio recordings, the voices of pastors speak of the mythical existence of witches and their travels. In the daily life of a woman, the magic of her tales begins to materialize as night falls. Night is the time when travel is possible.’ Delgado & Girón
Shot on expired 16mm colour negative (developed by hand), with a soundtrack drawn from a cache of anthropological audio recordings, Delgado and Girón's eerily beautiful film traces their search for the last living witch in Yé, a small town on the island of Lanzarote.
Joseph Cornell, 1938-70, USA, 3 mins
One of America's greatest visual artists, Joseph Cornell also created a series of early influential found footage films - re-editing and splicing together B-movies and existing footage primarily to entertain his disabled brother. These jittery, otherworldly anti-narrative works bridge the gap between Dadaism and Pop Art. In 'Jack’s Dream' a sad eyed puppet dog in a fairy tale castle dreams of a sinking ship.
Sound of a Million Insects, Light of a Thousand Stars
Tomonari Nishikawa, 2014, Japan, 2 mins
On June 24, 2014 from sunset to dawn, Nishikawa buried 100 feet of 35mm film under fallen leaves alongside a country road, about 25 km away from Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station, exposing the film to the gradual emergence of light and the potential effects of radioactivity. In an abstract swirl of marine, fluorescent green and cyan, Nishikawa utilises film’s unique ability to absorb its surrounding environment, while his gesture toward social and political processes grants it a deeply felt immediacy and potency. ‘The night was beautiful with a starry sky, and numerous summer insects were singing loud. The area was once an evacuation zone, but now people live there after the removal of the contaminated soil…’ Nishikawa
Tomonari Nishikawa's home page
Bells of Atlantis
Ian Hugo, 1952, USA, 9 mins
A sublime example of early American poetic cinema, a dream journey narrated by and featuring Anais Nin, evoking the watery depths and aqueous beauty of the lost continent of Atlantis - and ourselves…‘I remember my first birth in water’ . Featuring abstract colour effects and multiple superimpositions by Hugo and master animator Len Lye, with an incredible early score from electro pioneers Louis and Bebe Barron.
Means and Ends
Bonnie Begusch 2014, USA, 5mins
Begusch is a multi-disciplinary artist whose work examines the intertwined relationship between text, tools and perception. Drawing from histories of abstraction, concrete poetry, and structuralist film, her works foreground the act of looking, underscoring moments of perceptual ambiguity within familiar frameworks. In ‘Means and Ends’, typed marks intertwine as the camera travels along a page. In this simple movement, contours dissolve to form crooked variations of line and brief glimpses of optical illusion.
Kenneth Anger, 1953, USA, 16mm,12 mins
‘Hide and seek in a night-time labyrinth of levels, cascades, balustrades, grottoes and ever-gushing leaping fountains, until the Water Witch and the Fountain become one.’ (Anger) Shot in the famous water gardens of the Villa d'Este at Tivoli, a marvel of 16th-century engineering and baroque imagination, ‘Eaux d'Artifice’ follows the flamboyantly costumed circus performer Carmilla Salvatorelli, on a nocturnal wander. Shot through filters and hand tinted, Anger’s own personal favourite, is part trance film, part landscape study, part rapturous, sensuous abstraction.
Spectrum Analysis (2015, 4`00) + King Size Frame (2014, 2`25)
Ian Helliwell, UK
A self-taught multi-media artist living in Brighton since 1985, Helliwell has amassed a large body of work through a synthesis of analogue and digital equipment, using various hands-on techniques to realise his ideas. His approach embraces both antiquated and contemporary technology, and his many years of audio-visual experience incorporates music, film, animation, analogue electronics, instrument building, collage, installations, light show projection, live performance, writing and film programming.
He has made over 100 short experimental films screened worldwide.
‘Spectrum Analysis’ was made from fragments of found, amateur super 8 footage collected over a period of several years, and cut together. The soundtrack is a single layered reel to reel tape loop.
‘King Size Frame’ is derived from a commercial super 8 print of an episode from the Jason King TV series - cut up and bleached. The soundtrack uses sections of the original audio, plus sounds from the Hellitron tone generator and random snippets of radio (World Premiere).
Blanket Statement #2: All or Nothing
Jodie Mack, USA, 2014, 3 mins
'The phenomenal Blanket Statement #2 begins with a sound familiar to experimental film audiences: the repetitive purr of 16mm film running through a projector. Soon, images of various quilts fill the frame, with Mack’s collage establishing rapidly shifting colors and textures, a terrific multitude of formations offered by the quilting medium. Here, though, the sound isn’t as loud as the aggressive color field films of Paul Sharits, in which the double-sided 16mm sprockets violently hammer through the projector with a radical intensity. And neither can this be film noise, since the projector was hidden inside the booth. Instead, as Mack has explained, the image of quilts extends across the optical soundtrack, initiating a direct connection between image and sound. Mack’s “quilted call and response” expands the horizons of what abstract film can be by playfully referring back to something as familiar as a family quilt and ingeniously binding it directly to properties of the film medium. At only four minutes, Blanket Statement #2 is brief, bold, and essential.' Filmmaker Magazine: James Hansen
Sea of Vapors
(Meer der Dünste)
Sylvia Schedelbauer, 2014, Germany, 15:00 mins
'Sylvia Schedelbauer’s Sea of Vapors organises its own investigation into the nature of memory and recollection through a quasi-Proustian engagement with the senses. The black-and-white images indicate taste, touch, and smell and emphasize a powerful, deep connection with animals, the landscape and lunar cycle. Schedelbauer has used flicker in the past, but here it is sharper than ever. Though the flicker initially overwhelms many of the images, she seems to be using it in contradistinction to its immediate effect. While the flicker remains dynamic, it softens the transition from one image to the next so that they flow in and out of each other. At first, the images appear in sharp contrast, but, eventually, the flicker causes the shifts to occur gradually, almost imperceptibly. Impossible to pin down but thrilling to explore, it lets the viewer wander, in awe, between the familiar and the strange, between one moment, one sensation, one form and the next.' Filmmaker Magazine: James Hansen
Early Abstractions No. 10: Mirror Animations
Harry Smith, 1957, USA, 3:30 mins
Smith (1923-1991) was a musicologist, linguist, occult theorist, collector of Ukrainian Easter Eggs and creator of a series of brilliantly hallucinatory animations. In ‘Early Abstraction No. 10’, he employed cut out images for the first time, building up collages that swirled and expanded into outer space. As Smith puts it ‘The final scene shows Aquatic mushrooms growing on the moon while the Hero and Heroine row by on a cerebrum.’
‘Scottish born, Brighton based Dylan Nyoukis and Karen Constance are Blood Stereo. Deploying feral, atavistic vocalisations alongside hissing, rumbling tape-loops and electronics they establish a perfect high-concept/low art convergence, an intense and disorienting swirl which wreaths the synapses like the coiling, blackened, wordless squalls of our deep anxieties and desires oozing through bare, cracked windows, out of wardrobes and from beneath beds to flood and freeze the mind in the middle of the night.’ Café Oto
Visit Chocolate Monk
Tickets: Five Pounds on the door
THE EDGE IS WHERE THE CENTRE IS: ALAN CLARKE'S PENDA'S FEN (1974) + EMBLA QUICKBEAM
Sunday November 15th at 7pm (Doors 6.45)
at the Sallis Benney Theatre
Part of CineCity 2015
Alan Clarke / David Rudkin UK 1974 90 mins
Introduced by writer and curator Gareth Evans
A rare 16mm screening of Alan Clarke’s remarkable 1974 BBC ‘Play for Today’ - one of the visionary masterworks of British television drama. Set against a backdrop of the Malvern Hills, the film follows Stephen Franklin, the self-righteous teenage son of a pastor, whose world is about to unravel through a series of mystical experiences and encounters with angels, demons, Edward Elgar and the pagan King Penda - a journey of self discovery that confronts questions of nationhood, religion and sexuality. Rudkin script is charged with a powerful sense of ‘Deep England’ and its radical potential - the landscape seems alive, knowing and always in flux.
‘An unforgettable hybrid of horror story, rites-of passage spiritual quest and vision of an alternative England that has been hailed as one of the most original and vauntingly ambitious British films of the last half century.’ The Guardian
A revised and expanded edition of ‘The Edge is Where the Centre Is’ - a beautiful small press publication exploring the film with articles by Evans, Rudkin, William Fowler and Sukhdev Sandhu - will be available on the night.
Embla Quickbeam (Rowan Forestier)
Artist Rowan Forestier opens the evening with an immersive sonic exploration using field recordings, found objects, home made sound making devices and tape manipulation. 'Brighton-based audio-investigator sends chewed postcards from the eldritch heart of England.' Daniel Spicer / The Wire.
The Edge Is Where the Centre Is
Penda's Fen: A Lasting Vision...
Advance £5 (+ fee) tickets are now available - in person – from
Resident 28 Kensington Gardens, Brighton
On-line £5 (+ fee) through SEE TICKETS
THE IRON MINISTRY + FILMS AND SOUNDS FROM THE SENSORY ETHNOGRAPHY LAB
Thursday 15th October at 7.30pm
at The Sallis Benney Theatre
The Iron Ministry
JP Sniadecki, 2014, USA / China, 83 mins.
'In motion, in thought, ears and eyes wide open!' (Film Comment). Somewhere in China, crammed into a train of unknown destination, men, women and children talk, kill time, eat, sleep. Snippets of overheard conversation reveal popular opinion, fleeting relationships, insights, while outside - hurtling at breakneck speed - vast panoramas and cityscapes flicker into momentary existence.
A one man crew, American filmmaker Sniadecki filmed The Iron Ministry over a period of three years while riding across China’s sprawling railway network, editing the footage into one fluid journey. An affiliate of Harvard’s ‘Sensory Ethnography Lab’, Sniadecki’s camera is rarely still and, aided by the remarkable sound design of Ernst Karel, immerses the viewer headlong into the heightened visual and sonic abstractions of the train’s material environment —the squeals of locomotion, a power cable slicing across the sky—all the while maintaining an intimate sense of its human scale.
Raw, impressionistic, chaotic and unforgettable, Sniadecki's experimental documentary uses a China in motion to craft a unique metaphor for modern society.
'Absorbing... The Iron Ministry turns the chaos of modern China into dense, frantic poetry" Indiewire
'Vivid and mysterious and full of life. NY Times / Critics Choice
+ From the Harvard Sensory Ethnography Lab, two early films from the directors of Leviathan (2012)
The High Trail
Lucien Castaing-Taylor, 2010, USA, 7 mins.
In the monumental American West, we are acoustic eavesdroppers on a man petting his herding dog, while we are visual witnesses to the progress of their charges. Part of a series of short films tracking shepherds through Montana as they take their flocks on the long trek to the Beartooth Mountains.
Véréna Paravel, 2009, USA, 22 min.
Recorded during an unmapped, extended (anti) ethnographic walk beneath the elevated tracks of the #7 subway line in NYC, Paravel's first film documents spontaneous interactions along the route.
The Iron Ministry
Sensory Ethnography Lab
SEASHELL AND THE CLERGYMAN + FILMS FROM THE FRENCH AVANT-GARDE
With live Soundtrack by Drill Folly and Miles Brown
Thursday 17th September at 7.30pm
Fabrica Gallery / Duke Street / Brighton
In collaboration with Bijou Electric Empire Forever
The Seashell and the Clergyman (La coquille et le clergyman)
Germaine Dulac, 1928, France, 31 mins. 16mm presentation
As a director and theoretician of experimental film, Dulac proclaimed her goal was to make 'pure' cinema, which she spoke of as 'films made according to the rules of visual music.' Her most experimental work 'The Seashell and Clergyman’ premiered at the Studio des Ursulines on February 9, 1928 inciting a small riot, and critical responses that ranged from the misinformed – American prints had reels spliced in the wrong order – to the rapturous – acclaimed as the first example of a Surrealist film a full year before Dali and Bunuel completed ‘Un Chien Andolou’.
Based on a script by Anton Artaud and quickly derided by what Dulac regarded as the ‘surrealist brotherhood’, Seashell stands today both as an extraordinary feminist provocation – a joyful, sustained attack on state, church and patriarchy - and as one of cinemas earliest attempts to render the workings of the unconscious. In the UK it was famously banned by the BBFC, who found 'this film is so cryptic as to be almost meaningless. If there is a meaning, it is doubtless objectionable.'
Drill Folly is a producer working with found sound, sampling and manipulated instrumentation fused meticulously and reimagined through a maze of effects and synthesis in software.
Miles Brown is a leading thereminist and electronic artist.
Both from Melbourne, this new sonic score - performed live, is their first collaboration.
+ Early films from the French Avant-Garde
Marcel Duchamp,1926, France, 6 mins.
Duchamp’s mysterious, rotating circular discs evoke true three dimensions (without the glasses). Each is alternated with further discs inscribed letter by letter with a series of verbal puns and phrases from Rrose Sélavy (Duchamp’s feminine alter ego).
Le Retour a la Raison (Return To Reason)
Man Ray, France, 1923, 3 mins.
Ray’s photograms are brought to dazzling motion with saw blades, nails and grain printed directly onto the film strip, inter-cut with scenes of Paris, a nighttime fairground and model Kiki of Montparnasse’s light striped torso.
Fernand Léger / Dudley Murphy, 1924, France, 16 mins.
Produced and directed by French modernist painter Fernand Leger, and photographed by Dudley Murphy. A non-narrative flow of cubist form, animation and live action - every day life mechanised - set to dynamic rhythm in constant, rapidly cut movements.
Brumes D'Automne (Autumn Mists)
Dimitri Kirsanoff, France, 1929, 12 mins.
Nadia Sibirskaia (star of Kirsanoff's earlier masterpiece Ménilmontant) moves through an ethereal, at times hallucinatory autumn landscape of falling leaves and frozen mists toward a river. An astounding visual poem in which Kirsanoff attempts to capture the melancholy, nostalgia, hope and hopelessness of human inner sentiment.
SHIRLEY CLARKE SEASON
Tuesday 1st September at 7.30pm
Fabrica Gallery / Duke Street / Brighton
In collaboration with Bijou Electric Empire Forever
The Cool World
Shirley Clarke, 1964, USA, 105 mins.
Clarke's second feature is a vital landmark of American neo-realist cinema that follows Duke as he robs, brawls, and peddles dope on the streets of Harlem, while dreaming of buying a gun and leading his gang. Produced by Frederick Wiseman, it blends ragged storytelling with documentary-style location shooting, improvisation by a cast of non-professionals (recruited from Harlem's settlement houses, social clubs, and schools), and Mal Waldron's bluesy bop score, performed by Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Mingus and Art Taylor. Critic Albert Johnson called it 'a tone poem of the slums'.
+ Bridges Go Round
Shirley Clarke, 1958, USA, 4 mins x 2
Clarke’s seminal experimental work from the late '50s is an incredible dance of montage and super-imposition starring New York's luminous cityscape and its various bridges. Two soundtracks were commissioned on condition both are always screened, one a plaintive jazz score from Teo Macero, the other an early abstract electronic piece from Louis and Bebe Barron - each radically altering the viewers response to the imagery.
A dynamic member of the New York independent film movement of the 1950s and 1960s, and a pioneer of video in the 1970s, Shirley Clarke (1919–97) is one of the great untold stories of North American cinema. A dancer turned activist, video artist and filmmaker, her work pushed beyond the boundaries of fiction and non-fiction and explored the space in-between, her love of jazz and improvisational rhythms matching the kinetic energy of her camerawork. Clarke’s groundbreaking films are New York time capsules that seem as radical today as when they first appeared. With fellow filmmaker Jonas Mekas, Clarke was instrumental in the formation of the New American Cinema Group, now the largest archive and distributor of independent and avant-garde films in the world.
The Shirley Clarke season continues with ‘Portrait of Jason' (September 12th at 4pm / Duke's at Komedia), ‘Ornette Coleman: Made in America’ (September 13th at 4pm / Duke's at Komedia, in association with Brighton Alternative Jazz Festival) and The Connection (Thursday September 24th at 8pm / Emporium).