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.
At the 1994 Forum, Amos Fogel was one of the jurors for the Wolfgang Staudte Prize. The jury statement for the prizewinning film Ladoni (Artur Aristakisyan, USSR 1994) gave him another opportunity to express his sympathies for another film in words: “ТНЕ LAST KLEZMER by Yale Strom: a deceptively simple film; in actuality, a profound human statement that reveals the complexities of life in our wonderful, murderous century; not a film about Klezmer music (that haunting, beautiful music played at Jewish weddings and ceremonies), but a film about death and tears, about return and loss, a film more educational and truthful than Schindler’s List, a film which disrupts the stereotypes of Poles, Jews, Ukrainians, and last but not least, Germans.” (th)