January 2022, arsenal cinema

arsenal 3: On Amos Vogel // Works to Correspond with Dario Argento and David Lynch

Marica and Amos Vogel in FILM AS A SUBVERSIVE ART: AMOS VOGEL AND CINEMA 16, 2003

To complement our tribute to New York film curator Amos Vogel, two films are showing on arsenal 3 that connect to Vogel’s biography, one directly, one indirectly. In addition,we are showing two features and six shorter works that correspond with the oeuvres of directors Dario Argento and David Lynch to expand on our main program in December.

To complement our tribute to New York film curator Amos Vogel, two films are showing on arsenal 3 that connect to Vogel’s biography, one directly, one indirectly. Paul Cronin’s FILM AS A SUBVERSIVE ART: AMOS VOGEL AND CINEMA 16 (United Kingdom 2003) and ТНЕ LAST KLEZMER: LEOPOLD KOZLOWSKI – HIS LIFE AND HIS MUSIC (USA 1993) by Yale Strom. As an Austrian immigrant who came to the US in 1938 to flee National Socialism and as a contemporary witness to American post-war cinema, Vogel repeatedly appeared on camera. Yet Cronin’s film is the only portrait dedicated to him. The title refers to two of the most important moments in his life work: the 1974 book “Film as a Subversive Art” and the film society Cinema 16 that Vogel founded in 1947 with his wife Marcia and which became the cradle of the American experimental film movement. Cronin visits the Vogels in their apartment on Washington Square Park, where their shared history is archived. Historical locations are also just a stone’s throw away: together with former staff member Jack Goelma, they visit the film club’s legendary main screening venue, the 1600-seat auditorium of Needle Trades High School, where a monumental wall painting depicts the history of the American workers’ movement.

WORKS TO CORRESPOND WITH DARIO ARGENTO AND DAVID LYNCH
To expand on our main program in December, we are showing two features and six shorter works that correspond with the oeuvres of directors Dario Argento and David Lynch on our streaming platform arsenal 3. The oeuvres of both stand in the tradition of experimental and surrealist cinema. Some of the stylistic techniques used prominently in their work (such as fetishizing close-ups blown up to an unreal degree or visual distortions) can already be found in the cinema of the 20s and 40s. Hans Richter’s FILMSTUDIE (Germany 1926) contrasts surfaces, lines, and abstract forms with similar objects from real-life, such as an eye-ball or a head. In VORMITTAGSSPUK (Germany 1928), everyday objects rebel against people and daily routine. Maya Deren’s masterpiece MESHES OF THE AFTERNOON (USA 1943) creates its uncanny atmosphere via a subjective camera that strides though space, an essential stylistic device for the horror film by the 70s at the very latest. Detail shots of a knife anticipate one typical visual motif of the giallo genre. In FACE I AND II (West Germany 1969), Ludwig Schönherr makes a visual identity dissolve via opposing individual frames of the face of Beatrice "Trixie" Cordua. WHICH IS WITCH (Marie Losier, France 2020) shows three witch sisters in a colorful and surreal fairy tale. DARK ADAPTATION (Canada 2016) by Chris Gehman creates unique visual impressions via experiments with color and optical techniques. The feature NIGHT PASSAGE (Trinh T. Minh-ha, USA 2004) is the story of three friends who set off on a spiritual journey into the realm between life and death and arrive in sensorial landscapes of dream. Finally, we are showing—as the only work of this selection that doesn’t form part of arsenal distribution’s range—Mariano Baino’s visual impressive feature DARK WATERS (United Kingdom, Ukraine, Italy 1993), which is pervaded by experimental images and enjoys cult status today as one of the last great Italian horror films before this defining era in Italian film history came to an end.