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Onion City Experimental Film and Video Festival: Program One

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This program of seven films and videos includes some of the very finest work of five giants of experimental filmmaking. Stan Brakhage had been planning a film inspired by Chinese ideograms for years; he made his unfinished Chinese Series in his dying months, scratching its marks on black 35-mm film. In its two haunting minutes, exploding lines flirt with the depiction of recognizable objects. The world premiere of Robert Breer's What Goes Up... makes clear that he is still going strong as he nears 80: using his characteristic mix of photographs and animated drawings, Breer combines nudes, airplanes, images of himself, and tranquil nature scenes to create a quivering, transient visual field. Also notable are John Smith's witty Worst Case Scenario, whose calculated editing makes ordinary events on a Vienna street seem strangely ominous, and Ken Jacobs's and Michael Snow's video "remakes" of their most famous respective films. Jacobs's A Tom Tom Chaser translates the perceptual inventiveness of his Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son to video, while Snow's WVLNT (Wavelength for Those Who Don't Have the Time) captures some of the anticipation and distended temporality of Wavelength while using superimpositions appropriate to video's unique sense of space. 74 min.

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