Part of our ongoing Film Portal series, Chris Houkal brings us one of Chantal Akerman’s earliest short films, La Chambre, in which she meditates on a room, some furniture, a few apples, and a bedridden woman.
Description: Heavy Metal Parking Lot is a concert film without the concert. On May 31, 1986, aspiring documentarians John Heyn and Jeff Krulik showed up to the Capitol Centre in Landover, Maryland on the day of a Judas Priest show, hoping that the crowd of tailgaters would prove to be an interesting enough subject. Heyn […]
Description: In light of director Steve McQueen’s recent surge in popularity with the release of increasingly mainstream films like Hunger and Shame, it’s worth considering McQueen’s humble yet promising beginnings as something of a documentarian with an avant-garde sensibility. Western Deep, shot in 2002, is documentary in form, but experimental in terms of its aesthetic […]
Description: Kenneth Anger captures the ambiguity that lies at the heart of cinema. We sit before a screen as zealots kneeling before an altar. The image is presented as something worthy of consideration, contemplation, even idolatry. Cinema has, in other words, supplanted religion by inciting renewed interest in the occult. It’s no coincidence that James […]
Description: “To be is to be perceived,” wrote the 18th-century Irish philosopher George Berkeley. Some years later, modernist playwright/poet/novelist Samuel Beckett adapted this idea into a six-page script for a film entitled, of all things, Film. Perceiver and perceived are represented by two “characters,” the object (O) and the eye (E). Buster Keaton stars as […]
Description: In 1977, at the age of 33, George Landow changed his name to Owen Land and put filmmaking aside for the following three decades. Prior to this hiatus, Landow had amassed a body of short experimental films that consistently challenged notions of avant-garde cinema. His earliest works not only anticipated and bled into the […]
Description: A short experimental film comprising footage of, well, ceremonies, rituals, and processions in an island country. The visual track is often looped, slowed down, or sped up, giving the film a hypnotic quality that distances it from ethnography. That feeling is heightened by the audio, which, at times, sounds more like out of sync […]