Hart of London, by Jack Chambers
Sunday March 6, 2011, 7:30pm
Los Angeles Filmforum presents
HART OF LONDON, by Jack Chambers
At the Echo Park Film Center
1200 N Alvarado St. (@ Sunset Blvd.) Los Angeles, CA. 90026 | (213) 484 8846
Note the change in location!
Tickets: General $10, Students/seniors $6; free for Filmforum members
Advance ticket purchase available through Brown Paper Tickets.
As an appropriate preamble to next week's fantastic collection of films exploring landscape & nature by Canadian filmmakers, Filmforum is delighted to present the rarely-screened experimental feature Hart of London by Canadian artist Jack Chambers.
Hart of London (1970, 16mm, color, sound, 79 min)
"A landmark in Canadian avant-garde film, Jack Chambers' magnum opus works and reworks the 1954 trapping and killing of a deer in downtown London, Ontario, until it comes to seem a grand metaphor for the destructive cost of civilization. The methodology recalls Brakhage, Bruce Conner, and Vertovthe film has a powerful brooding quality all its own." Jim Hoberman, Village Voice, http://www.villagevoice.com/2010-12-08/voice-choices/hart-of-london/
"Jack Chambers is one of Canada's most famous and greatest living painters. Why then have his films been as neglected as they have been? I feel that it is because his films do not arise as an adjunct to his painting (as is true in the case of most other painter film-makers) but that, rather, Jack Chambers has realized the almost opposed aesthetics of paint and film and has created a body of moving pictures so crucially unique as to fright paint buffery: thus his films have inherited a social position kin to that of the films of Joseph Cornell in this country. The fact is that four films of Jack Chambers have changed the whole history of film, despite their neglect, in a way that isn't possible within the field of painting. There are no 'masters' of film in any significant sense whatsoever. There are only 'makers' of film in the original, or at least medieval, sense of the word. Jack Chambers is a true 'maker' of films. He needs no stance, or standing, for he dances attendance upon the coming-into-being of something recognizably new: (and as all is new, always, one must question the veracity of all works, whatever medium, which beseem everything but that truth)." -- Stan Brakhage. Perception is a sensory communication that occurs at a primary level between organisms; through the skin to the core and back through the skin again into the exterior world. HART OF LONDON is that kind of film.
Fred Camper on Hart of London:
On Jack Chambers:
"Jack Chambers is a renowned realist artist, whose notion of perception as a synthetic experience was formally expressed in a distinctive collage style of filmmaking. Through this style, he influenced the development of the diary and landscape film. In 1969, his aesthetic manifesto, Perceptual Realism, affirmed his belief in art as an intuitive but mediated response to the unity underlying all things. It also confirmed his preference for the photograph as a memory-aid as it preserved the original image without distortion.
"Chambers, as a painter, was formally trained in traditional art making. From 1954 to 1959 he attended Madrid's Escuela Central de Bellas Artes de San Fernando where he excelled as a student, winning the state prize for painting and the Paular Scholarship for landscape painting. He chose to study in Europe because he felt constrained by London's conservative environment and the inadequacies of his local technical school, H.B. Beal. In his 1978 autobiography, he wrote, "I could only go so far with what I was doing coming to the same deadend again and again."
"Spanish culture exerted a major influence on Chambers, and many aspects of his work reflect this influence: the preoccupation with death and recollection, the surrealist challenge to the normality of surface reality, an appreciation for light's revelatory power and references to Catholic iconography. Other influences include mysticism, especially the writings of Saint Teresa of Avila; the occult and parapsychology, where notions of an underlying life force or energy binds all things together. All of these ideas contributed to Chambers' belief in the visionary nature of the artistic experience. For him, the moment of individual self-awareness when "our souls and the souls of things become present to one another" encompassed myriad associations, past and present, which took the form of temporal and spatial disruptions in his artwork.
"Chambers might have settled permanently in Spain, but he returned home in 1961 because of a family illness. His encounter with the landscapes of his youth and the memories it engendered had a powerful effect on him: "The memory of such places multiplied the longer I remained so near them, and the images wedded to their presence surfaced in me like the faces of long lost friends." He realized his representations of Spanish culture would never possess the same resonance, and so he returned to London.
"Collage artist Greg Curnoe, Chambers' closest friend, recalled that Chambers started using a 16mm camera in 1964 to explore the London landscape. In an interview with arts reporter Lenore Crawford in 1969, Chambers remarked on how film was a liberating influence: "After I shot hundreds of feet of film and then edited it to eliminate the non-essentials, I realized what I needed and what I could leave out of a painting. A painting doesn't need to tell a story of any kind. It can be appreciated for what's in it. There doesn't even have to be relation of objects." This statement describes his films equally well.
"Chambers' reputation as a film artist is based on the five works he completed between 1966 and 1970: Mosaic (19641966), Hybrid (1967), R34 (1967), Circle (19681969) and The Hart of London (19681970). A mixture of newsreel footage, home movies and photographs, these films reject the notion of linear time, characteristic of popular cinema, because Chambers thought the narrative illusions that resulted misrepresented the true character of human perception.
"Using various montage strategies semantic and formal his films invest the viewing experience with a sense of "presentness," so that individuals undergo the same process of self-awareness as Chambers (confrontation of the fragility of domestic happiness, the brutality of human nature, the challenges of artistic ambition, the inevitability of death). - Kathryn Elder, The Film Reference Library
This screening series is supported, in part, by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors through the Los Angeles County Arts Commission; the Department of Cultural Affairs, City of Los Angeles; and the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. Additional support generously provided by American Cinematheque.
Los Angeles Filmforum is the city's longest-running organization screening experimental and avant-garde film and video art, documentaries, and experimental animation. 2011 is our 36th year.
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Echo Park Film Center
1200 N Alvarado St. (@ Sunset Blvd.)
Los Angeles, CA 90026
|Minimum Age: 15|
|Kid Friendly: No|
|Dog Friendly: Yes!|
|Wheelchair Accessible: Yes!|