Mexperimental Film Series

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Mexperimental Film Series

 

First Comprehensive Survey of Experimental Filmmaking in Mexico on View from June 23 through July 28


A roller-skating nun spray paints prophecies of the death of rock-and-roll on the walls of Mexico City high-rises "the angular leaves of the Maguey plant dance to the rhythm of Shostakovich's 11th Symphony" a feminist prankster wreaks havoc in a monastic order by adding LSD to the friars' drinking supply: These are some of the images that abound in avant-garde Mexican cinema, which will be presented in The Mexperimental Cinema at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum from June 23 through July 28, 1999. The exhibition is the first comprehensive survey of experimental filmmaking in Mexico, featuring 46 film and video titles, made between 1934 and the present.


The Mexperimental Cinema brings together several generations of artists. It begins in the 1930s in the aftermath of the Mexican Revolution, when the movie camera became a tool for the nationalistic projects of artists and intellectuals. The series investigates the relationship between Mexican experimental cinema and the international avant-garde, in particular the influence of such celebrated filmmakers as Sergei Eisenstein and Luis Buñuel, and examines affinities with European Surrealism, abstract animation, and more recent film practices from Latin America. The series also explores Mexican experimental cinema's relationship to painting, performance, still photography, theater, caricature, ethnography, and other disciplines. The program presents a side of Mexican cinema which is often ignored in surveys of the cinematic output of the nation.


The Mexperimental Cinema was guest-curated by film scholars Jesse Lerner, a filmmaker and lecturer at Pitzer College, a member of the Claremont Colleges, and Rita Gonzàlez, a videomaker and film scholar based in Los Angeles. The program was organized at the Guggenheim by Maria-Christina Villaseñor, Assistant Curator of Film and Media Arts, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum.


By presenting this survey of Mexican experimental cinema, the Guggenheim hopes to expand scholarship on both avant-garde film and national cinemas," noted Ms. Villaseñor. The Mexperimental Cinema attests to the global vitality of experimental cinema a wealth of innovation that deserves to be preserved, circulated, and critically examined within the wider discourse of international cultural production."


The Mexperimental Cinema is funded by Fideicomiso para la cultura Mexico-EE.UU. (Rockefeller Foundation, Bancomer Foundation, Fondo Nacional para la Cultura y las Artes), with additional support provided by the Mexican Cultural Institute of New York, the Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Mexican Institute of International Cooperation. The Guggenheim's film and video programs are made possible with support from the New York State Council on the Arts, a state agency.


The Mexperimental Cinema is presented in ten thematic programs, including: Surveying the Terrain;" Mexicanidad;" ¡Que Viva el Modernismo!;" Agavacea;" Ensayos del Cuerpo (Corporeal Essays);" Travel Tips from Underground;" The City;" Radical Politics and the Counterculture;" Day Tripping;" and Elusive Paradise." The work featured in the series is diverse, ranging from a clip from Adolfo Best Maugard's Humanidad," a 1934 propaganda film, to images of Beat travelers searching for ecstatic communion, to views of itinerant radicals in solidarity with the emergent post-Revolutionary social order. The series moves from the countercultural works of the 1960s to the newest generation of noncommercial, formal experiments and also features works by U.S. experimental filmmakers for whom Mexico was a site of exploration and a source of mythic imagery. Contemporary videomakers and artists Ximena Cuevas, Silvia Gruner, and Miguel Calderòn are also included in the series.


The Mexperimental Cinema grew out of a traveling series of the same name that premiered in 1998 at the Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego, and for which a 167-page catalogue was produced. The catalogue, The Mexperimental Cinema, which features an essay by Rita Gonzàlez and Jesse Lerner and includes historical essays by Diego Rivera, Juan Rulfo, and Adolfas Mekas, will be available in conjunction with the exhibition, as will a free ten-page program. On June 30 at 6 pm, Rita Gonzàlez and Jesse Lerner will lead a panel discussion with selected experimental film and videomakers, including Ximena Cuevas and Juan Josè Gurrola, and moderated by Mexican film critic Naief Yehya.The Mexperimental Cinema is being presented in conjunction with Surrealism: Two Private Eyes, The Nesuhu Ertegun and Daniel Filipacchi Collections, a major exhibition on Surrealism on view at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum through September 12, 1999. All works are 16mm film, color, and sound, unless otherwise noted. All Super-8mm films are screened on video. All works in Spanish are screened with English subtitles unless otherwise noted.


The program is presented in the Peter B. Lewis Theater at The Sackler Center for Arts Education in the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. Tickets are free with museum admission and are available on a first-come, first-served basis. All programs and screening times are subject to change.


The Film and Video Exhibition Program at the Guggenheim Museum was inaugurated in 1998. It offers audiences and artists an opportunity to see and share historical and contemporary work of film and video art, and to understand the contributions of these art forms to the culture of our time. The program presents a broad range of material from the world's cinema, video, television, and other media arts. The goal of the program is to examine and represent, in innovative ways, the central role of media arts in defining global culture.


June 14, 1999


FOR PRESS INFORMATION: Betsy Ennis
Senior Publicist
Telephone: (212) 423-3840
Telefax: (212) 423-3787
E-mail: bennis@guggenheim.org


THE MEXPERIMENTAL CINEMA
June 23 Through July 28
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, 1071 Fifth Avenue (at 89th Street)
(All films will be shown in the Peter B. Lewis Theater)


All works are 16mm film, color and sound, unless otherwise noted. All works in Spanish are screened with English subtitles unless otherwise noted.


Wednesday, June 23, 6 pm and Saturday, June 26, 7 pm
SURVEYING THE TERRAIN
Fragment from Humanidad (1934), Adolfo Best Maugard, 35mm film, black-and-white, 1 min.
The Itch Scratch Itch Cycle (1977), Manuel de Landa, 8 min.
Sin titulo (Quiero ser un actor) [Untitled (I Want to be an Actor) 1970s], Fernando
Sampietro, Super-8mm film transferred to video, 3 min.
Desnudo desciende (1986), Silvia Gruner, Super-8mm film transferred to video, 3 min.
Desnudo con alcatraces (1986), Silvia Gruner, Super-8mm film, 3 min.
Pecado original/Reproducciòn (Original Sin/Reproduction, 1986), Silvia Gruner, Super-8mm film transferred to video, 5 min.
El fin (1970), Sergio Garcìa, Super-8 mm film, 8 min.
Retrato de la generaciòn de la crisis (Portrait of the Crisis Generation, 1998), Roberto Lòpez, video, 8 min.
Medias mentiras (Half-Lies, 1994), Ximena Cuevas, video, 34 min.


Friday, June 25, 7 pm, and Saturday, June 26, 3 pm
MEXICANIDAD
Corazòn sangrante (Bleeding Heart, 1995), Ximena Cuevas, video, 3 min.
La fòrmula secreta/ Coca Cola en la Sangre (The Secret Formula/Coca Cola in the Blood, 1965), Rubèn Gòmez, 35mm film, (no subtitles, minimal dialogue) 45 min.
Simòn del desierto (Simon of the Desert, 1964), Luis Buñuel, 43 min.


Wednesday, June 30, 6 pm
Guest-curators Rita Gonzàlez and Jesse Lerner lead a discussion with Mexperimental film and video makers Ximena Cuevas and Juan Josè Gurrola, moderated by Mexican film critic Naief Yehya.


Friday, July 2, 6 pm, and Saturday, July 3, 3 pm
¡QUE VIVA EL MODERNISMO!
El despojo (The Dispossession, 1958-60), Antonio Reynoso, 35mm film transferred to video, 12 min.
The Wave (Redes, 1936), Fred Zinnemann with Emilio Gòmez Muriel, 60 min.


Saturday, July 3, 7 pm, and Wednesday, July 7, 6 pm
AGAVACAEA
Magueyes (1962), Rubèn Gòmez, 35mm film, 9 min.
Thunder Over Mexico (1933), Sergei Eisenstein, black-and-white, 60 min.


Friday, July 9, 7 pm, and Saturday, July 10, 3 pm
ENSAYOS DEL CUERPO (CORPOREAL ESSAYS)
De cuerpo presente from Enredando sombras (Capturing Shadows, 1998), Marcela
Fernandez Violante, 35mm film, 10 min.
Ensayo de un crimen (The Criminal Life of Archibaldo de la Cruz, 1955), Luis Buñuel, 35mm film, 92 min.


Saturday, July 10, 7 pm, and Wednesday, July 14, 6 pm
TRAVEL TIPS FROM UNDERGROUND
Senseless (1962), Ron Rice, black-and-white, 28 min.
Looking for Mushrooms (1961-67/1995), Bruce Conner, 14 min.
Triptych in Four Parts (1958), Larry Jordan, 12 min.
Zìcalo (1972), Richard Myers, 15 min.
Below the Fruited Plain (1966), Lenny Lipton, black-and-white, 9 min.
Sin titulo (Monumento) [Untitled (Monument), 1970s], Fernando Sampietro, Super-8mm film transferred to video, 3 min.
Stan and Jane Brakhage (1979-80), Willie Varela, Super-8mm film transferred to video, silent, 3 min.


Friday, July 16, 7 pm, and Saturday, July 17, 3 pm
THE CITY
Un nahual veracru' (1994), Miguel Calderòn, Super-8mm film transferred to video, 12 min.
Mi Coràzòn (My Heart, 1986), Pola Weiss, video, 17 min.
El vuelo (The Flight, 1989), Silvia Gruner, Super-8mm film transferred to video, 19 min.
Sabado de mierda (Shitty Saturday, 1985-87), Gregorio Rocha with Sarah Minter, 25 min.
Vicente Rojo (1964), Juan Josè Gurrola, 27 min.


Saturday, July 17, 7 pm and Wednesday, July 21, 6 pm
RADICAL POLITICS AND THE COUNTERCULTURE
Comunicados #1 (La agresiòn), 2 (La repuesta), and 4 (1968), Consejo Nacional de Huelga, (no subtitles, minimal dialogue) 20 min.
¿Ah, verdà? (1973), Sergio Garcìa, Super-8mm film transferred to video, 21 min.
Avèndaro (1971), Alfredo Gurrola, Super-8mm film transferred to video, 17 min.
Segunda primera matriz (Second First Matrix, 1973), Alfredo Gurrola, Super-8mm film, transferred to video, 13 min.
Border Swings/ Vaivenes fronterizas (1993), Berta Jottar, video, 8 min.
Victimas del pecado neo-liberal (1995), Ximena Cuevas and Jesusa Rodrìguez, video, 15 min.


Friday, July 23, 7 pm, and Saturday, July 24, 3 pm
DAY TRIPPING
Robarte el arte (Steal Art, 1972), Juan Josè Gurrola, Arnaldo Cohen, and Gelsen Gas, black-and-white, 16mm film transferred to video, 35 min.
Cine Insurgentes (1971), Ed Jones, 3 min.
Anti-Clìmax (1969), Gelsen Gas, black-and-white, (no subtitles, minimal dialogue) 80 min.


Saturday, July 24, 7 pm, and Wednesday, July 28, 6 pm
ELUSIVE PARADISE
Anselmo (1967), Chick Strand, 4 min.
Artificial Paradise (1986), Chick Strand, 13 min.
Valentin de las Sierras (1967), Bruce Baillie, 10 min.
Mexican Jail Footage (1980), Gordon Ball, 18 min.
El dedal de rosas (Thimble of Roses, 1998), Mariana Botey, 13 min.
Juntos en la vida, unidos en la muerte (Together in Life, United in Death, 1985), Willie Varela, Super-8mm film transferred to video, silent, 10 min.
Laberinth Silueta, Silueta Series, Mexico, Summer 1974 (Labyrinth Blood Imprint) (1974), Ana Mendieta, Super-8mm film transferred to video, 2 min.