Radical Light, gnarly film & video program



Castro Street today
  • Castro Street today
Earlier this month, Northwestern’s Block Cinema hosted a program, currently touring the country under the “Radical Light” banner. The title comes from a 2010 book about the history of experimental filmmaking in the San Francisco Bay Area, a region that’s been home at various points to George Kuchar, Bruce Conner, James Broughton, Leslie Thornton, Craig Baldwin, and many more. Even the moving-picture pioneer Edward Muybridge lived in the Bay Area for a spell (in the 1870s and 80s), to give you a sense of how far back this lineage goes.

On Thursday, it’s the Gene Siskel Film Center’s turn to screen some of the films and videos in this series. Steve Anker, one of the editors of Radical Light, will introduce Thursday’s screening and sign copies of the book afterwards. He’s sure to have some great stories, seeing as he and the other editors spent ten years working on this project. It includes Robert Nelson’s 1965 Oh Dem Watermelons and Bruce Baille’s 1966 Castro Street, two playful classics that would make ideal introductions to experimental cinema for viewers who are new to the form. I’m not familiar with most of the other works, which were produced mainly between the 1950s and the 1980s—given the care that went into this project, however, you can expect to see a few rare gems.

If you can’t make this event, don’t worry. Chicago Filmmakers will host a third Radical Light program on February 24, and you can watch Oh Dem Watermelons here:

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