This program presents an eclectic selection of American avant-garde film from the 1920s to the 1960s, yet focuses on its mainstreams. Robert Florey and Slavko Vorkapich’s The Life and Death of 9413-A Hollywood Extra, is one of the first avant-garde films created in the USA, inspired by German Expressionist cinema, with a minimal budget of one hundred dollars. The film was shot by legendary photographer Gregg Toland who, thirteen years later shot Citizen Kane by Orson Welles, also represented in this program by a short experimental film he directed in 1934, which was his first film.
Pull My Daisy by photographer and filmmaker Robert Frank (in collaboration with Alfred Leslie) is one of the most quintessential films of the Beat generation, a tour de force of improvisation which flourished in the late 1950s. The film features poets Allen Ginsberg and Peter Orlovsky, as well as writer, poet and interdisciplinary artist Jack Kerouac in the voiceover.
The program further presents poet James Broughton’s hippie film The Bed, describing the chronicles of a bed standing in the center of a field, as various nude couples suddenly emerge from between its sheets, and Mass by Bruce Baillie-one of the most important voices of experimental film on the American west coast and among the founders of the San Francisco-based filmmakers cooperative Canyon Cinema specializing since the 1960s in the production of avant-garde films.
Curated and Presented by Chen Sheinberg
Robert Florey & Slavko Vorkapich, The Life and Death of 9413-A Hollywood Extra, 1928, 11 min
Orson Welles, The Hearts of Age, 1934, 8 min
Robert Frank & Alfred Leslie, Pull My Daisy, 1959, 29 min
Bruce Baillie, Mass for the Dakota Sioux, 1964, 20 min
James Broughton, The Bed, 1968, 20 min
Total: 88 min