Films by Saul Levine
Saul Levine in person!
Saturday, May 2, 8 pm, $7-10
The Nightingale Cinema, 1084 N Milwaukee, Chicago, IL
“Saul Levine is the foremost dissenting filmmaker in America. With about 35 years of consistent production behind him, and no signs of fatigue, he can show us the shape of a life passionately and uncompromisingly devoted to filmmaking. His works are high-energy messages of friendship, records of sexual love and political activism, radiated by humor, prophetic anger, loneliness and even though rarely, representing repose.” — P. Adams Sitney (**)
“A friend of mine who worked for Yale’s AV department showed me three films that changed my life. Maya Deren’s AT LAND, CHOREOGRAPHY FOR THE CAMERA, and Viking Eggling’s SYMPHONIE DIAGONAL. From Deren’s films I saw that cinemas ability to represent figures in time and space poetically could be a paradigm of consciousness; Eggling showed me that nonfigurative shapes could evolve and change musically. I saw that I could use film to understand the world around me directly. I could also use editing to make relationships between what I was seeing in front of the camera and what was going on in my mind. I stopped making editing decisions based on story and started making them based on shape, memory and association.” -Saul Levine (*)
The program title KALEIDOSCOPIC VISIONS was inspired by P. Adams Sitney’s description of Saul’s unique style of shooting and cutting as “…fused with the kaleidoscopic fury of memory…”. The program selects films by Saul Levine from 1973 to 2011. The films represent roughly three of Saul’s major formal approaches to the small gauge formats of Regular 8mm (presented as a digital transfers and a 16mm blow up) and Super 8mm (presented in Super 8mm and 16mm blow ups).
The first part of the program, ON THE SPOT (1973) and NEARSIGHT (1977-78), showcase Saul’s early rigorous in-camera work that directly responds to his subjects. Saul uses single frame shooting, repetitious movement, and variations in exposure to create “nonfigurative shapes that evolve and change musically” (*). These two films differentiate themselves from structuralist films of that era by their personal and intuitive sense. In Saul’s films we feel through his camerawork an emotionally raw response to the world that allows the viewer to “hitch a ride” into the author’s “state of mind” or “level of consciousness” (***).
The middle of the program, BOPPING THE GREAT WALL OF CHINA BLUE and A FEW TUNES GOING OUT: GROOVE TO GROOVE, represent two films from Saul’s innovative body of Super 8mm Sound work that uses splicing to layer sounds over images from varied places or moments. Saul’s frame by frame cutting technique challenges the apparatus of the projector to represent records of “real time”. It exploits the difference in time and space of twenty six frames between the projected image and the projector’s sound head. By doing this he creates experiences of coinciding events within a single moment- multiple thoughts, memories, personal, political, local or global. Both from the series A FEW TUNES GOING OUT, the second film GROOVE TO GROOVE, shows Saul editing with this single frame and two frame method.
A comedic break, AS IS IS, is a personal and insightful portrait of the struggles of owning a pet chameleon.
The last portion of the program shows Saul’s recent experimentations of recording light with the Super 8mm camera in his working series titled: LIGHT LICKS:BY THE WATERS OF BABYLON. JAMMING reflects on a 2004 demonstration at the National Republican Convention in New York while I WANT TO PAINT IT BLACK is “inspired by the absence of a contemporary Jewish community” (**) in Prague. Both films show the rich visual records Saul captures by spilling light into the frame beyond the camera’s aperture (see the still below)
Filed under: 16mm, artist in attendance, documentary, experimental, film, painting, Super 8mm, Uncategorized, video