George Pocari made this film of Los Angeles in 1978. It’s beautiful and it shows the things one sees every day without really noticing. Films like this one turn out to be incredibly valuable glimpses of the past. It’s funny how home movies end up getting closer to art films as they age. But this one actually started off as a kind of art film. It’s very well made.
Here’s a 1973 film with Italian film director Pier Paolo Pasolini talking about the need to protect the basic form of a city because it is an expression of anonymous popular history. Pasolini believed that modern consumerism was destroying Italy in the early seventies more successfully than fascism.
This is a film by Jonas Mekas that features Andy Warhol, Yoko Ono, John Lennon, and George Maciunas who founded the New York art movement known as Fluxus. The film shows a Whitney Museum art opening in 1971 and an artists’ party in New York. Home movies become an artform in Mekas’ hands.
Have you ever watched Andrei Tarkovsky’s brilliant 1972 Russian science fiction film, Solaris? Well, you should. It’s long and it moves at its own leisure, but you’ll be richly rewarded with an unforgettable cinematic experience. When I was a kid I was a huge fan of Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey. So when I went to see this film I was very cranky about it because it just didn’t have the same look as 2001. But Tarkovsky was not interested in spaceships or realistic zero gravity. He was looking for the soul. Solaris is a deeply emotional film that points the way toward a science fiction that does not rely on science or technology for its visuals. If you have seen the recent version of Solaris by Steven Soderbergh, you really should consider watching this one. Tarkovsky was not afraid to dismantle the normal narrative drive and pacing of the majority of Hollywood films. He allowed time to play itself out in his films. No scene was ever cut to spare an audience’s attention span. Soderbergh, for all his efforts to look independent, is completely at the mercy of the prevailing winds of Hollywood and makes every film to suit the intellectual capacities of a thirteen year old audience. This is usually apparent in the editing, not the writing. Hollywood filmmakers edit films as if they are flashcards for the slow learners. You can’t call yourself an independent filmmaker if you are really just a prostitute. Tarkovsky was, in spite of the constant oversight by the authoritarian Soviet government, a true unbending independent.
The film is an adaptation of the novel by the great Polish science fiction writer, Stanislaw Lem.
Here’s a 1971 art documentary featuring five black artists. Compare this to a bloodless piece of work like the NOVA documentary I posted yesterday where artists are posed on a red pillow in front of a blue wall to spout off about their ‘brands’ and the business of art while a DSLR camera puts them either to the right or the left of frame because that’s what good composition looks like in 2011.
The artists featured are:
Barbara Chase-Riboud, a sculptor living in Paris
Charles White, a painter in Los Angeles
Betty Blayton, a painter-collage artist and director of the Moma Art School In Harlem
Richard Hunt, a sculptor in Chicago
Romare Bearden, a New York painter who uses collages and cut-outs
Enjoy these five artists who actually sound like artists.