Thursday, November 1 at 7pm

This program of iconic and rare films is an eclectic mix aspiring to represent Surrealism’s various cinematic manifestations, especially as they have surfaced in the American avant-garde.

Len Lye (1929 UK), 10 minutes, 35MM

This remarkable animation imagines the beginnings of life on earth. It is a unique film example of “modernist primitivism” – in contrast to the Cubist painters (who were influenced by African art), Lye drew upon traditions of indigenous art from his own region of the world (New Zealand, Australia and Samoa). Lye was also influenced by doodling, which he described as a practice that “cultivates a vacuous seaweed-pod state of kelp as a skull which is attached to a pencil betwixt the arm and the fingers held doodling in turn ‘twixt you and the paper in a rather bemused, empty, harmonious state of an attitude, eyes periphering said paper.”


Rose Hobart
Joseph Cornell (1936 U.S.) approx. 20 minutes, 16MM – RESTORATION PRINT!

First screened at the Julien Levy Gallery in New York in December 1936, Rose Hobart was reportedly received as unintelligible and inept, with the significant exception of Salvador Dalí. As legend has it, Dalí – in town for the Museum of Modern Art’s surrealist show—grew so enraged by the film that he kicked over the 16mm projector, which Cornell himself was operating; Dalí, the most envious of artists, had some idea of what Cornell had achieved.

We Had the Experience but Missed the Meaning
Laida Lertxundi (2014 Spain/U.S.), 8 minutes, 16MM
Between Los Angeles and San Diego, California, a moment in a story by Bioy Casares finds a man who prefers driving to making love to Veronica. Crossing desert and sea, screen and page, we pass over that which cannot be said, only shown.

Buñuel Bumpers 
A Surrealist-inspired exhibition experiment!

The Deadman
Peggy Ahwesh (1989 U.S.), 40 minutes, 16MM
The Deadman charts the adventures of a nearly naked heroine who leaves the corpse of her dead lover in a country house, goes to a bar and sets in motion a scabrous free-form orgy before returning to her house to die. The film manages to approximate the transgressive poetic prose of Bataille (a mixture of elegance, raunchy defilement and barbaric splendor) while celebrating female sexual desire without the usual patriarchal-porn trimmings.” – Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader


Our Lady of the Sphere
Lawrence Jordan (1969 U.S.), 10 minutes, 35MM

The mystical Lady with the orbital head moves through the carnival of life in a Surreal Adventure. A classic. Show it to anyone who likes movies.

This program is presented on the opening night of SURREALISMS, the inaugural conference of the the newly-formed International Society for the Study of Surrealism (ISSS), November 1-4.