Best of The Bridge Film Series Tonight!

November 16th, 2009 · 2 Comments · By

The Bridge Film Series tonight should be an extra-special one; in addition to being my last-ever event for The Bridge, it’s also a celebration of the organization’s fifth birthday, and as such it’s a sort of “Best of” program of a few of our favorite films from the Series’ history, as well as a few we’d always wanted to show but were never able.

The program has (I’m pretty sure) four or five films; the four of us each picked two, but then found that some of our choices were unavailable and some of our other choices overlapped. (please also note that it starts promptly at SEVEN PM). Anyhow, the program will definitely include:

“Nostalgia” by Hollis Frampton is the first film we ever showed at the Bridge Film Series, back in the Spring of 2006, before it even had a name (and months before I was even involved with / aware of the program … I was in the middle of moving back here from New York).  If memory serves, Jordan Taylor and Sarah Lawson put the event together, with help from Richard Herskowitz (then the Director of the Virginia Film Society). Unfortunately, it’s a rather text-heavy piece, and the sound on the projector wasn’t working (the first in a looong series of unanticipated technical difficulties at The Bridge), so the small crowd watched ten photographs burn on a hot-plate without the accompanying narration. This time we’ll get it right, promise.

“Passage a l’acte” by Martin Arnold is one of my all-time favorite films; we showed it at the “Hand-Made Films” screening back in February of 2007, and I’m thrilled to see it again (since I haven’t seen it since then, although I was glad when Dina Sorenson picked an earlier Arnold film as part of the AIA week this summer).  This one is an optical-printer film with appropriated footage; the whole thing is re-edited from a brief, 15-second clip of the Gregory Peck film adaptation of “To Kill a Mockingbird” — the resulting audiovisual assault is thrilling, brilliant, and amusing.

Robert Nelson’s “Oh, Dem Watermelons” is our “comedy” selection of the program, if you can call it that… it’s a ridiculous and absurd parody of the history of racial stereotypes on American entertainment, as the ever-controversial figure of the watermelon is incorporated into every aspect of a sublimely satirical opus. The soundtrack is by Steve Reich; we originally showed this as part of the “M:N:M:L” series in January of 2008, which was a far more lively and action-packed than we expected.

Kenneth Anger’s “Eau d’Artifice” is the one we’ve never shown before; we’re big Kenneth Anger fans, and he’s been the long-running unofficial patron saint of our Film Series (doubly so, since Bruce Conner’s films have been so difficult to program these past few years). So we felt like Kenneth Anger should be represented accordingly, and this is a pretty great one we haven’t shown yet. If you’re not familiar, he’s essentially one of the spiritual godfathers of filmmakers like John Waters, except his sensibility is much more austere; his films are more densely / brilliantly constructed, and much older. This one features a midget (possibly cross-dressing) parading around some French palatial gardens in full royal garb (complete with Antionette-style beehive hair); frankly I find this films’ faux-fanciness inexplicably hilarious, even before it devolves into a psychedelic abstraction as the camera gets closer and closer to the glorious jets of water decorating the garden; it’s a color-tinted film, and the optical illusion of the rapid alternation of black and green with white water droplets has made me hallucinate red circles on several occasions.

So come check out the films! They’re at 7:00pm (not 8!), and admission is a $5 donation to The Bridge. Nostalgic photos from the history of the series are available below.


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2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Sarah // Nov 16, 2009 at 2:39 pm

    cool. sux i have to work.

  • 2 Jacob // Nov 16, 2009 at 8:45 pm

    Also, a good indie-pop band from Boston at the Tea Bazaar: Hallelujah the Hills ( Starts at 9PM.