COLUMNS

  • Le Départ, Made in U.S.A., Bariera, Mickey One, Puss & Kram, Darling

    If any symbolical figure appeared at the film festival in New York, it was the emergence of the Flat Man, a central character structured like a vapor, a two dimensional hat salesman, telephone operator, or decrepit dirt farmer who doesn’t appear to come from any relevant Past, and after aimless reels of time, there is no feeling that any Future is in sight.

    The only one who could be remembered with any clarity, with any sense of physical impact coming from the screen, was a sportscar fanatic, a late adolescent (Jean-Pierre Léaud) who gives shampoos and delivers wigs throughout Le Départ. With

    Read more
  • Camp, Andy Warhol

    Andy Warhol began as a film-maker by making extremely long films in which nothing, or almost nothing, happened. “Sleep” and “Empire” managed to astonish people by their overweening length and their insistent silence. Warhol reduced the cinema to its simplest possible manifestation—a single image that moved. This was also its first manifestation historically: Muybridge’s trotting horse, Dickson’s sneezing man, Lumiere’s decelerating train. But where these primitive films lasted only a few minutes Warhol’s first film “Sleep” lasted eight hours in its original version. By this radical elongation

    Read more
  • Two Films and an Interlude by Kenneth Anger

    Kenneth Anger, who has been making experimental films for almost two decades, made his first one, “Fireworks,” in 1947. It is probably the closest he will ever come to fashioning a picture out of his own personal beliefs. “Fireworks” has the declarative sound of a will affirming itself. As with all his work, the sensibility it reveals is prankish, mannered, and drawn to the outré. But like the best of Anger’s films—this one and the one for which he is now most famous (and mildly notorious), “Scorpio Rising,” the nearest thing to a popular favorite the underground has yet produced—the picture is

    Read more
  • Dog Star Man: Part I

    DOG STAR MAN—THE FIRST 16 MILLIMETER EPIC: In Dog Star Man (part one) Stan Brakhage learns from his two earlier films Prelude and Anticipation of the Night.* The other debt in evidence is that the beautiful shots of the beard­ed hero’s face and some scenes of mountain, cliff, and forest or solitary green fir bough sweeping in the wind are reminiscent of moments of Eisen­stein’s Ivan. In Ivan the striking scenes, printed on memory, are the broodings of Ivan’s face from the sum­mit of a crag while he looks down upon a medieval city or holds soliloquy with his soul as the camera comes in for a

    Read more