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The Bold Italic: “Foreign Cinema”

Posted February 11th, 2011 in News / Events

Foreign Cinema: Whither San Francisco’s Experimental Film Legacy?

By Kimberly Chun

I’m waiting for a glimpse of it, folded into a rickety seat at Artists’ Television Access (ATA), the city’s pint-size underground film and video venue on a particularly hopping block of Valencia Street – ready for SF Cinematheque’s “Women of the West: ’70s Bay Area Experimentalists” shorts program. The only catch: The screen is dark and the theater is pitch black. The 1972 film I’ve been psyched to see – Folly, by the late Oakland filmmaker Freude Bartlett – has snapped, the victim of age and wear, just as its smudgy female protagonist swept across the screen.

I expect no cheers, jeers, or wisecracks tonight: The audience of film students and cinema-philes is respectfully silent and patiently waits in the darkness until the fleet-fingered projectionist has repaired the film and we’re back on board. Soon, I’m sinking deliciously into the deep and gorgeous waters of Moon’s Pool, watching a nude woman and man swim and swirl through silvery blue waters in Gunvor Nelson’s ode to fluid sexuality and tidal intuition.

I took a stab at making my own experimental film during grad school when I hastily deconstructed a bloated, explosive Elvis Presley. The reel is decaying in a box somewhere, but it’s time once again to rediscover my passion for celluloid. I’m dipping a tippy toe in and relocating a few frames, a few makers and shakers of the still-unspooling local experimental film scene and its DIY gold.

Read the rest of the article on the Bold Italic website here…