Category: News

Thom Andersen at Skylight Books

Slow Writing: Thom Andersen on Cinema Los Angeles book launch at Skylight Books on 12 October 2017, at 7:30pm. Thom will be present to read from, sign, and discuss the new book with writer and poet Tosh Berman.

Slow Writing is a collection of articles by Thom Andersen that reflect on the avant-garde, Hollywood feature films, and contemporary cinema. His critiques of artists and filmmakers as diverse as Yasujirō Ozu, Nicholas Ray, Andy Warhol, and Christian Marclay locate their work within the broader spheres of popular culture, politics, history, architecture, and the urban landscape. The city of Los Angeles and its relationship to film is a recurrent theme. These writings, which span a period of five decades, demonstrate Andersen’s social consciousness, humour and his genuine appreciation of cinema in its many forms. Thom Andersen’s films include the celebrated documentary essays Eadweard Muybridge, Zoopraxographer (1975), Red Hollywood (1996), Los Angeles Plays Itself (2003), and The Thoughts That Once We Had (2015). Of the thirty-four texts included in the book, six are hitherto unpublished; others have been revised or appear in different versions to those previously available.

Thom Andersen has lived in Los Angeles for most of his life. His knowledge of and enthusiasm for the city has deeply informed his work, not least his widely praised study of its representation in movies, Los Angeles Plays Itself (2003), which was voted one of the 50 Best Documentaries of All Time in a Sight & Sound critics’ poll. Andersen made his first short films and entered into the city’s film scene as a student of USC and UCLA in the 1960s. His hour-long documentary Eadweard Muybridge, Zoopraxographer (1974) was realised under an AFI scholarship and has lately been restored by the UCLA Film and Television Archive. His research into the victims of the Hollywood Blacklist, done in collaboration with film theorist Noël Burch, produced the video essay Red Hollywood (1996) and book Les Communistes de Hollywood: Autre chose que des martyrs (1994). Andersen’s recent films include Reconversão (2012) on the work of Portuguese architect Eduardo Souto de Moura, and The Thoughts That Once We Had (2015), a personal history of cinema loosely inspired by Gilles Deleuze. A published writer since 1966, Andersen has contributed to journals such as Film Comment, Artforum, Sight and Sound and Cinema Scope. He has taught at the California Institute of the Arts since 1987, and was previously on faculty at SUNY Buffalo and Ohio State University. Also a respected film curator, he has acted as programmer for Los Angeles Filmforum and curated thematic retrospectives for the Viennale. Slow Writing: Thom Andersen on Cinema is the first collection of his essays. 

Tosh Berman is a writer and poet. His two books are Sparks-Tastic (Rare Bird) and a book of poems, The Plum in Mr. Blum’s Pudding (Penny-Ante Editions). He is also the publisher and editor of his press, TamTam Books, which published the works of Boris Vian, Serge Gainsbourg, Guy Debord, Jacques Mesrine, Ron Mael & Russell Mael (Sparks) Gilles Verlant, and Lun*na Menoh. 

With thanks to David Gonzalez and Skylight Books.

Thom Andersen Retrospective in Vienna

We are very pleased to announce that “Slow Writing: Thom Andersen on Cinema” will be launched at the Austrian Film Museum, Vienna, in late September. Thom will be present to introduce a complete retrospective plus additional carte blanche programmes related to the new book. Full schedule below.

Friday 22 September 2017, at 7pm
Thom Andersen, Los Angeles Plays Itself, 2003, 169 min

Saturday 23 September 2017, at 7pm
Vikram Jayanti, The Agony and the Ecstacy of Phil Spector, 2009, 103 min

Saturday 23 September 2017, at 9pm
Thom Andersen, The Thoughts That Once We Had, 2015, 108 min

Sunday 24 September 2017, at 7pm
Joseph H. Lewis, The Big Combo, 1955, 87 min

Sunday 24 September 2017, at 9pm
Thom Andersen & Noël Burch, Red Hollywood, 1996, 118 min

Monday 25 September 2017, at 7pm
Andrew Meyer, An Early Clue to the New Direction, 1966, 28 min
Andrew Meyer, The Match Girl, 1966, 25 min
Warren Sonbert, Hall of Mirrors, 1966, 7 min
David Brooks, Winter, 1964-66, 16 min
Robert Cowan, Rockflow, 1968, 9 min

Monday 25 September 2017, at 9pm
Thom Andersen, Melting, 
1965, 6 min
Thom Andersen, Olivia’s Place, 1966/74, 6 min
Thom Andersen & Malcolm Brodwick, ––– –––––––, 
1967, 11 min
Thom Andersen, Eadweard Muybridge, Zoopraxographer, 1974, 59 min

Wednesday 27 September 2017, at 7pm
Ernie Gehr, Autumn, 2017, 30 min
Paul Sharits, Tails, 1976, 5 min
Morgan Fisher, Productions Stills, 1970, 11 min
Morgan Fisher, Picture and Sound Rushes, 1973, 11 min
Morgan Fisher, Cue Rolls, 1974, 6 min
Morgan Fisher, Projection Instructions, 1976, 4 min
James Benning, 9-1-75, 1975, 22 min

Wednesday 27 September 2017, at 9pm
Michael Moore, Capitalism: A Love Story, 2009, 127 min

Thursday 28 September 2017, at 7pm
Thom Andersen, Get Out of the Car, 2010, 34 min
Thom Andersen, The Tony Longo Trilogy, 2014, 14 min
Thom Andersen, Juke: Passages from
 the Films of Spencer Williams, 2015, 29 min
Thom Andersen & Andrew Kim, California Sun, 
2015, 4 min
Thom Andersen, A Train Arrives at the Station, 2016, 16 min

Thursday 28 September 2017, at 9pm
Pedro Costa, 6 Bagatelles, 2001, 18 min
Claire Denis, 35 Rums, 2008, 100 min

Wednesday  4 October 2017, at 7pm
Thom Andersen, Reconversão, 
2013, 68 min
* Please note that Thom Andersen will not attend this final programme

All screenings will take place at the Austrian Film Museum, Augustinerstraße 1, Vienna 1010, Austria.

Two Recent Publications

The Visible Press recommends two recent publications that should be of interest to readers of our Gregory Markopoulos book “Film as Film” :-

Robert Beavers
Edited by Rebekah Rutkoff
Published by the Austrian Film Museum, 2017
ISBN: 9783901644696

This first monograph on the films of Robert Beavers is another beautifully designed book in the FilmmuseumSynemaPublikationen series from the Austrian Film Museum, Vienna. It comprises eleven newly commissioned essays by authorities such as P. Adams Sitney, Haden Guest, Susan Oxtoby and Kristin M. Jones, reprints of historical articles by Jonas Mekas, René Micha and Tom Chomont, and the filmmaker’s own rarely seen writings. A wealth of film stills are included alongside a bibliography and annotated filmography. Gregory Markopoulos’ first text on Robert Beavers, “10th of July, 1967”, which opens the chapter on Beavers in Film as Film, is also featured.

After Uniqueness: A History of Film and Video Art in Circulation
By Erika Balsom
Published by Columbia University Press, 2017
ISBN: 9780231176934

Erika Balsom’s new book After Uniqueness: A History of Film and Video Art in Circulation explores the problematics of reproducibility in film and moving image art by analysing various models of distribution and collecting. Of particular interest is a chapter on Gregory Markopoulos and his unique approach to distribution and exhibition. The author’s research of documents in the Temenos Archive has uncovered new details on the motives and aspirations that drove the filmmaker to follow a singular path.

John Waters’ Bedside Reading

In a New York Times interview to promote his new book “Make Trouble“, filmmaker John Waters has confessed that he keeps his copy of Gregory Markopoulos’ “Film as Film” by his bedside.

What books are currently on your night stand?

American Rust,” by Philipp Meyer, because his last historical novel, “The Son,” was such an amazingly well-written, violently beautiful page-turner that I have to read what came before. “Film as Film: The Collected Writings of Gregory J. Markopoulos” (obscure, yes, but I remember his underground films fondly from the Jonas Mekas/Film Comment days). And the ultimate bedside book — “The Making of Americans,” by Gertrude Stein. I enormously respect its impenetrability. Maybe this is the best novel ever written, because you can’t read it. Not even two pages. I know, I’ve tried for the last 10 years.

As published in The New York Times Saturday Book Review, 23 April 2017.

*** Please note that “Film as Film: The Collected Writings of Gregory J. Markopoulos” is almost out of print. Order a copy now whilst the book is still available new at the original publication price. ***

Artforum Review

The new (April 2017) issue of Artforum features a great article on Peter Gidal’s “Flare Out: Aesthetics 1966–2016” and “Shoot Shoot Shoot“, the LUX publication on the first decade of the London Film-Makers’ Co-operative.

Noam M. Elcott‘s review of these two related books ends with the following summary:

“In tone and substance, many of the essays in Flare Out testify to Gidal’s ‘ultra-left’ politics, polemics that were widely criticized and eventually abandoned by most LFMC adherents for their seemingly intractable dogmatism. And yet many of his arguments seem all too timely today. What was once dismissed as a puritanical asceticism at odds with rudimentary aesthetic pleasure seems sensible now, even compulsory, given our ascendant patriarchal politics. [… ] Infamously, Gidal advocated for a moratorium on representations of women on-screen. Perhaps we consider ourselves too enlightened to brook, or the feminist project too far advanced to warrant, such blunt statements – even in the months dominated by the venom of Trump, the vitriol of Bernie Bros, and the broadcast and social media that enabled both. But Gidal’s unfashionably radical feminism deserved more than a second look in the current climate of fashionably virulent patriarchy.”

(Noam M Elcott, “Structural Integrity”, Artforum, March 2017.)