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March at CLOSE-UP: Shirley Clarke, Andrzej Wajda, Joseph Bernard and more

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March at CLOSE-UP: Shirley Clarke, Andrzej Wajda, Joseph Bernard and more
by Tom Davies - Thursday, 2 March 2017, 1:10 PM

This month we're thrilled to present a retrospective on American underground filmmaker Shirley Clarke - who positioned herself as a formative organising force in the fertile, intimate, interdisciplinary revolution that was the New American Cinema scene in Fifties and Sixties New York. A peer of indie icons Maya Deren, Stan Brakhage, and Jonas Mekas, Clarke’s provocative works dismantle the celluloid facade with off-camera interjections from the director and other voyeuristic techniques. Many thanks to Milestone films for their tireless work on these new restorations and their generous support in making these seven programmes of shorts and features possible. 

Elsewhere this month, Sheffield Fringe return with Concrete Futures, a programme and discussion which brings together films that deal with fiction and imagination, inviting encounters with speculative futures, which are nonetheless grafted onto the present, 'documentary' moment that haunts them. Unconscious Archives presents an evening of physiologically affective 16mm films and performance from Berlin's OJOBOCA, whose cinematic and sublimely dissolving film frames evoke dark dystopian undercurrents that permeate our collective subconscious. Karel Doing returns with a programme of intense experimental films that explore perceptive boundaries between order and chaos; Greg de Cuir screens works from last year's Alternative Film/Video festival in Belgrade; and Jessica Sarah Rinland presents a programme of her 16mm works, including her recent film The Blind Labourer.

Towards the end of the month we're proud to present four masterpieces by the great Polish director, Andrzej Wajda, as part of the 15th Kinoteka Polish Film Festival. Finally, we round things off with the first UK retrospective on the films of Joseph Bernard - clearly infused with his teacher, Stan Brakhage’s influence but composed with a harder, more rhythmic edge, often pivoting around lightening fast juxtaposition and an inundation of images.

As always, advance booking is strongly recommended for all of these screenings.


3 - 18 March 2017

Close-Up on Shirley Clarke

Responding to the choreography, movement and rhythm inherent in the medium, Shirley Clarke’s relationship to film began as an extension of her dance. Making her first film, A Dance in the Sun, unaware of Maya Deren’s film work with dance and spatio-temporal cutting, she transported a dancer on stage back and forth through time and space, landing him back to unceremonious reality as the credits roll. The essential elements of this first effort would reverberate throughout her work and approach to life. As she reflected in a later interview, “Everything I’ve done is based on the duality of fantasy and reality.” Taken in by the expressive beauty of motion and the transcendent powers of art, she also accepted and investigated film’s manipulative and exploitive aspects. Clarke harnessed the power of cinema to create a parallel dimension, while grounding the journey by hiding her cinematic tactics in plain sight. All the films in this programme are presented from Milestone Films' exceptional new digital restorations. 


8 March 2017

Concrete Futures

"Since nature is uncomfortable, violent, we resort to architecture. We build monuments, houses, whole cities… And suddenly, it seems legitimate to rape the earth, to extract what we need from it. To construct a place and make it a home. A fortress where we cultivate our affections." – Concrete Affection. Through the use of images as documents and as drivers of the imagination, Serbian, Angolan and Spanish cityscapes are connected here in a type of speculative haunting. This haunting is expressed in images of construction and evacuation, of tearing down and rebuilding. By tearing down or leaving behind, old sites are revealed. But by rebuilding, one does not construct anew. Instead we are returned to the terrains that were already there. In that sense, no conquering – symbolic or concrete – of lands or, for that matter, of our imaginations and affections, will ever be truly a form of building but instead remains haunted by its own violence. 


9 March 2017

OJOBOCA: Anja Dornieden & Juan David González Monroy

Close-Up and Unconscious Archives are delighted to present a selection of recent 16mm films by Berlin based artist-fillmmakers Anja Dornieden and Juan David González Monroy - including their dual-projector “Traumatoscope” performance New Museum of Mankind. As OJOBOCA, Dornieden and Monroy practice an audiovisual system of Horrorism - a simulated method of inner and outer transformation by audiovisual means. Their work encompasses experimental artist films, multi projection and live sound performances, installations and artist film workshops. Driven by new narrative cuts ups their filmic journeys take them from Germany to Indonesia, and reference Victorian photographic media and the slide show through screen-seance. Physiologically affective, OJOBOCA’s oeuvre of flickering cinematic and sublimely dissolving film frames evokes dark dystopian undercurrents that permeate our collective subconscious. 


10 March 2017

Signal Noise

Karel Doing presents a perception challenging programme of films that explore the borders of the "readable image" fluctuating between havoc and absence. Patterns emerge out of disorder, and meaning is found in vacuum. The cinema screen provides a universe on its own, letting the viewer travel through space and time while visiting the outer borders of cognition. Artist filmmakers Nan Wang, Jacques Perconte, Stewart Collinson & Andrea Szigetvári, Gareth Polmeer, and Karel Doing present recent works which explore this concept through deep process based experimentation with photochemistry, digital synthesis, visual glitch, or sonic distortion. 


13 March 2017

Alternative Film/Video

Greg de Cuir Jr. presents a programme of films selected for the competition segment of Alternative Film/Video 2016 in Belgrade (Serbia). Starting in 1982, this international festival for new film and video expression and one of the oldest manifestations of its kind in Europe, was founded as an antidote to commercial film and video-making and to support unconventional practices while celebrating moving image cultures. Alternative Film/Video is organised by and hosted at AFC Belgrade, which was established in 1958 as a kino club and where many iconic filmmakers worked throughout the following decades, including Tomislav Gotovac, Živojin Pavlović, Radoslav Vladić, Miodrag Milošević, and others. Artists placed on this list are awarded a residency at AFC Belgrade which includes production support for a new film or video. The 2016 jury included video artist and theoretician Marina Gržinić, film artist Eve Heller, and film artist Peter Tscherkassky. 


24 - 26 March 2017

Masterpieces of Polish Cinema: Andrzej Wajda

Part of the 15th Kinoteka Polish Film Festival we're proud to present four masterpieces by Andrzej Wajda, the giant of post-war Polish cinema and unarguably the most influential and celebrated Polish filmmaker ever, who passed away last October. Innocent Sorcerers brilliantly captures the post-Stalin thaw that had begun to sweep through the Eastern bloc countries by the late 1950s while mediating on the pleasures and terror that freedom can bring. Man of Marble, is a powerful meditation on art and politics as well as a scathing dissection of a discredited labor hero and the state that makes and breaks him. Man of Iron follows on from Man of Marble and the story of Mateusz Birkut’s heroism, is the story of his son, Maciej Birkut, and The Promised Land is a wry, incisive, shocking and elegantly realised Dickensian tale of greed, human cruelty, exploitation and betrayal. 


26 March 2017

Jessica Sarah Rinland: The Blind Labourer

Jessica Sarah Rinland presents a programme of her recent works, followed by a Q&A with Gareth Evans. The Blind Labourer examines the similarities and contrasts within the whaling and lumber industry. It edits together archive footage of labourers in the forests, at sea and in factories, felling trees, cutting whales and developing their multiple products for society and scientific studies. The film rejects the idea that beings can be ranked according to their relative value, and explores each micro and macro forms' effect on one other. Text appears as subtitles throughout the film, written in the first person by an ambiguous whaler who comes to meet a blind lumberjack, fascinated by whales. The title refers to the blind man, but also to the concept that the labourers participating in these industries may, for various reasons, have had little perspective on what their actions were doing to our shared planet. 


30 March 2017

Prismatic Music: The Films of Joseph Bernard

Close-Up and Brand New Blinkers are thrilled to present the first UK retrospective on the films of Joseph Bernard, including a new sound collaboration that Joseph has embarked on with composer Simon Gore, who has scored a soundtrack to Joseph’s White Film. Bernard made over one hundred silent, Super-8 home movies in America from the mid-1970s to the mid-1980s, but since then his work has rarely been screened. With a highly musical approach to editing, these are surely the most maximalist home movies ever made; a dizzying combination of abstract imagery, still photography, stop-motion animation, collage and scenes of daily life, creating intricate, syncopated nuggets of breathless energy, verve and colour, awe-inspiring in their kaleidoscopic hyperactivity.