Now Available: 20 Films + 3 Digital Videos by Amy Halpern

Posted August 25th, 2023 in Announcements, New Acquisitions, New Digital Files, New Films, News / Events

Canyon Cinema is thrilled to announce the acquisition of 23 films and videos by longtime artist member Amy Halpern, all of which are new to Canyon’s collection. Highlights of this major deposit, spanning 50 years of Halpern’s career, include the early suite Opus I (Three Preparations / A Glance / Peach Landscape) (1972-73); 1978’s Cigarette Burn (and its predecessor, Study for Cigarette Burn); Halpern’s 1992 feature Falling Lessons, described by Ornette Coleman as “a healing film”; Jane, Looking (2020), a portrait of Jane Wodening (Brakhage); recent digital video works, including a pair made in collaboration with Halpern’s partner David Lebrun; and more than a dozen new 16mm shorts made over the past few years.

Enormous thanks to David Lebrun and Mark Toscano and the Academy Film Archive for their many efforts to make this happen. Following this new acquisition, Canyon now distributes 37 films and videos by Amy Halpern, representing nearly all of her remarkable moving image work.

Opus I (Three Preparations / A Glance / Peach Landscape) (1972-73, 11 minutes, color, silent, 16mm, 18fps)

– Drops
– Statice / Frameline
– The Cannonball Section

“Considerations of the frame. The grain as it holds colored light. Glass as it holds colored light. Loud silent music (especially ‘The Cannonball Section,’ the last movement).” (AH)

“2 seconds of image. Essential: the looking.” (AH)

“A rapture of film grain and light, an expanse of flesh, and the fruit of the universe. Literally, a rhapsody on a slice of canned peach in a bowl.” (AH)

Study for Cigarette Burn (1976, 2 minutes, b&w, silent, 16mm)
Cigarette Burn (1978, 7 minutes, b&w, sound, 16mm)

“Sitting home smoking cigarettes during the occupation. Very nasty and sophomoric. And beautiful.” (AH)

Pythoness (1979, 2 minutes, b&w, silent, 16mm)

With Siri Dharma Gagliano. “Pythia or the Pythoness was the priestess of Delphi. “Introspection must be clear for the tongue to speak the truth.” (AH)

Falling Lessons (1992, 64 minutes, color, sound, 16mm)

“Amy Halpern’s 64 minute Falling Lessons is a stunningly sensual, life-affirming experience from a major experimental film artist that is open to myriad meanings. The film is a rhythmic montage of almost 200 faces, human and animals, that Halpern pans vertically, creating a cascade of visages suggesting that while individuals express a range of emotions they remain ultimately enigmas.

“The glimpses of life going on around all these faces have an unsettling, even apocalyptic quality, and the film forces you to consider living beings and their value collectively rather than selectively. Halpern’s rich, inspired mix of sounds, words and music complements her images perfectly.” – Kevin Thomas, Los Angeles Times

Maya Double-Bottomed Bowl (2014, 2 minutes, color, sound, digital video)

By Amy Halpern and David Lebrun. “Special-effects equipment from about 600 A.D. The sound is made by the movement of the object, no added on.” (AH)

Vezelay Curtain (2019, 5 minutes, color, sound, digital video)

“The wind has it’s own way of praying” (Randolph Pitts)

Slow Fireworks (2019, 2 minutes, color, silent, 16mm)

“Papyrus, light, wind.” (AH)

My Mink (Unowned Luxuries #2) (2019, 4 minutes, color, silent, 16mm)

With Shaun Madigan and Lewis Weinberg

#27 (2019, 3 minutes, color, silent, 16mm)

With Caroline McCrystal Marcantoni

Unowned Luxuries #3 (2020, 2 minutes, color, silent, 16mm)

With Marpa Franzoni. “The Unowned Luxuries films are about possession through the eyes. Based on the childhood perception (attributed to me as a five-year-old by my father) that ‘to see is to touch with the eyes,’ these films propose a less toxic mode of ownership. Actual ownership is over-rated, as a desired and as a goal.” (AH)

Newt Leaders (2020, 4.5 minutes, color, silent, 16mm)

“Presents the physically necessary film ‘leaders’ at the front and back end of movies as aesthetic in themselves. The beautiful detritus of the medium.” (AH)

Jane, Looking (2020, 2 minutes, color, silent, 16mm)

Portrait of Jane Wodening (Brakhage). “A person who was the subject of the camera for many years looks back at us with an interrogating stare.” (AH)

Birds in the Window (2020-21, 9 minutes, color, sound, digital video)

By Amy Halpern and David Lebrun. “Trying to get in, trying to get out. Encounters from the plague year.” (AH)

Ma Sewing (2021, 1.5 minutes, color, silent, 16mm)

“My mother, now 94. Shot more than 30 years ago.” (AH)

Fire Belly (2021, 3 minutes, color, silent, 16mm)

“Alchemists thought that salamanders could be reborn from fire – like the Phoenix, or the Christ. But salamanders do not survive fire, nor extreme dryness. And they do not resurrect after burning. Consequently they are at present in great danger on the planet.” (AH)

VERGE for my sisters (2022, 5.5 minutes, color, silent, 16mm)

“A horizon like a blade. Consistent across landscapes in California – ocean to desert and back to ocean.” (AH)

My Dear Evaporant, (2022, 5.5 minutes, color, silent, 16mm)

“Message for a friend. What can I say about a private letter?” (AH)

Hula (2022, 6 minutes, color, sound, 16mm)

With Henry Franklin on bass. “Abstract music notation and something very obvious.” (AH)

Ginko Yellow (2022, 5 minutes, color, silent, 16mm)

With Indigo Cohan. “Yellow, the color.” (AH)

Emit a Beam, See a Light (2022, 3.5 minutes, color, sound, 16mm)

With Richard Portman & Teresa Roupe. “Statement and demonstration.” (AH)

Chabrot (2022, 3.5 minutes, b&w, sound, 16mm)

With Sheila Pinkel, Paolo Davanzo, Geneva Simmons, and Andrew Halpern. A private toast. Inspired by a random encounter with this Wikipedia entry, while looking up “Chabrol, Claude” for a full listing of his films:

“Fair chabrot or faire chabrĂ²l is an ancient Occitanian custom whereby at the end of a soup or broth, one adds red wine to the bowl to dilute the remnants and brings it to the lips to drink in big gulps.” – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

4 Fingers, 5 Toes (2022, 11 minutes, color, sound, 16mm)

“Endangered animals on an endangered medium. A heartbeat 4/4. Slow cinema, with sex scene.” (AH)