Dec. 12th – Farewell Film Club: Experimental Documentaries

December 12th, 2013
@ Farewell Books (map)
$5 Suggested Donation

Farewell Film Club and Experimental Response Cinema presents an evening of 16mmexperimental documentaries! With work by Bruce Baillie, LeAnn Bartok, Les Blank, Stan Brakhage, Lynne Sachs, and Josh Solondz!


Farewell Books, founded in February 2013 and run by Travis Kent & Mikaylah Bowman, is a progressive new and used bookshop and art gallery in the city of Austin, Texas. Farewell Film Club is programmed by Hunter Shaw.


Castro Street by Bruce Baillie
10 min / 16mm / sound / 1966
Coming of consciousness. -BB

Which Way Is East: Notebooks by Vietnam by Lynne Sachs
33 min / 16mm / sound / 1994
by Lynne Sachs in collaboration with Dana Sachs
“A frog that sits at the bottom of a well thinks that the whole sky is only as big as the lid of a pot.”
When two American sisters travel north from Ho Chi Minh City to Hanoi, conversations with Vietnamese strangers and friends reveal to them the flip side of a shared history. Lynne and Dana Sachs’ travel diary of their trip to Vietnam is a collection of tourism, city life, culture clash, and historic inquiry that’s put together with the warmth of a quilt. Which Way Is East starts as a road trip and flowers into a political discourse. It combines Vietnamese parables, history and memories of the people the sisters met, as well as their own childhood memories of the war on TV. To Americans for whom “Vietnam” ended in 1975, Which Way Is East is a reminder that Vietnam is a country, not a war. The film has a combination of qualities: compassion, acute observational skills, an understanding of history’s scope, and a critical ability to discern what’s missing from the textbooks and TV news. (excerpted from article in The Independent by Susan Gerhard)
“Captures the Vietnam experience with comprehension and compassion, squeezing a vast and incredible country into an intriguing film.”
– Portland Tonic Magazine
“The sound track is layered with the cacophony of bustling city streets, the chirps of cicadas and gentle rustles of trees in the countryside, and the visuals, devoid of travelogue clichés, are a collage of pictorial snippets taken from unusual vantage points… What comes through is such a strong sense of the place you can almost smell it.”
– The Chicago Reader

Skyworks, The Red Mile by LeAnn Bartok
9.5 min / 16mm / sound / 1973
Editor, Director: Dody Cross; Photography: Air to Air, Ron Boff; Free fall, Bud Bell; Ground, Dody Cross; Skydivers: Bob Brown, Ed Luby, Bud Bell, Chirp Navrotski; Sound: Carol Spitzer, Jeff White and Ron Boff.
Documentary of conceptual artist Le Ann Bartok Wilchusky’s Skyworks, The Red Mile, dropped from 7,500 ft. altitude with skydivers, kinetically danced over the Pennsylvania countryside. This “Dropped Object” unrolled in free fall creating a line one mile long which altered the sky space dramatically. Shorter red pieces, held by the skydivers in free fall, spiral in and out as the skydiver as performer is held in G force. A visual symphony of falling lines.
“In 1973, LeAnn Bartok arranged for the filming of one of her Skyworks projects — environmental art works that were transitory in contrast to the “landworks” of Robert Smithson. Bartok also did most of her projects in the west, but they were thousands of feet up in the air. Teams of skydivers would exit special planes, unfurling thousands of feet of industrial strength crepe paper or plastic ribbons that would sinuously twist across the clouds. The divers would not only deploy the strips of material, but also film it from the air, while other camerapersons photographed the descending skeins from the ground. There was a John Cage – like unpredictability to these performances. They were violently dynamic from the perspective of the skydivers / aerial cameramen, but gently graceful as seen from the ground. The 1973 film Skyworks: Red Mile was edited by Dody Cross. It is a competent documentary that shows several of the descents, and “overhears” Bartok musing about her intentions — to bring art into immediate contact with life, and her initial conflicted feelings about wanting to make permanent objects, but then choosing her transitory aerial form. The Red Mile is an introduction to Bartok’s visionary enterprise.”

Keratin Reserve by Josh Solondz
3 min / 16mm / silent / 2009
Six hundred and seventy three fingernails adhered to found footage using topcoat, reprinted in accordance to the time of nail’s growth and removal.

Window Water Baby Moving by Stan Brakhage
12 min / 16mm / silent / 1959
“… Brakhage’s treatment of the birth of his daughter. Here he unleashes the full power of his technique, so apt to become abstractly unintelligible when left to his own devices, on a specific subject. The result is a picture so forthright, so full of primitive wonder and love, so far beyond civilization in its acceptance that it becomes an experience like few in the history of the movies.” – Arthur Winsten, The New York Post
Exhibition: Brussels Int’l Film Festival, 1964

Cigarette Blues by Les Blank
6 min / 16mm / sound / 1985
A microcosmic Les Blank film in which Oakland bluesman Sonny Rhodes simultaneously addresses three of the filmmaker’s long-standing obsessions: death, cigarette smoking and the nature of the blues.