Life is an Opinion: Films by Mary Helena Clark and Karen Yasinsky
Friday September 12, 2014, 8:00 pm
Los Angeles Filmforum presents
Life is an Opinion: Films by Mary Helena Clark and Karen Yasinsky
At the Echo Park Film Center, 1200 N. Alvarado St., Los Angeles CA 90026
Mary Helena Clark and Karen Yasinsky in person!
"I want to make cinema that is both trance-like and transparent: that operates on dream logic until disrupted by a moment of self-reflexivity, like tripping on an extension cord." (Mary Helena Clark) An uneasy wind blows through these films. With aesthetic interests in magic, illusionism and deception, Mary Helena Clark creates films permeated with mysterious associations, ineffably assembled according to dream logics into fragmentary formations of distant or lost lives. After Writing is a silent song of abandon, a post-linguistic elegy to an apparently lost world. Orpheus (outtakes)citing Cocteau, referencing Keatonconjures an "interstitial space where the ghosts of cinema lurk beyond and within" (Andrea Picard). The Plant, "a spy film," wanders the streets of Chicago, seeking meaning but finding something more. Clark's newest film, The Dragon is the Frame is a powerful, fragmented and questing meditation on loss, in tribute to late artist Mark Aguhar.
Recent films by Karen Yasinsky evidence a similar interest in the fragment, using puppetry, animation, cinematic quotation and hints of narrative to trigger emotive positions of discomfort and empathy. Audition evokes a lonely haze of distance through the persistence of repetition. The assembled images comprising After Hours contrast violence with precarious grace and dance delicately between delirious heights and abject depths of experience. Mariea rotoscoped animation based on Bresson's Balthazaris a brief assaultive animation commemorating its character's fall from grace while Life Is an Opinion, Fire a Fact, oscillates from despair to serenity while contemplating suicide as depicted by Bresson and Tarkovsky. Finally, The Lonely Life of Debby Adams ("the movie I tried to dislike and rip apart but I just couldn't") is a meditation on panoptic voyeurism, performativity, privacy and objectification. (Steve Polta)
Tickets: $10 general, $6 students/seniors; free for Filmforum members. Available by credit card in advance from Brown Paper Tickets or at the door.
For more event information: www.lafilmforum.org, or 323-377-7238
Sound Over Water, by Mary Helena Clark (2009, 5 min., 16mm)
Blue sky and blue sea meet on emulsion.
The Lonely Life of Debby Adams, by Karen Yasinsky (2013, 12 min., digital video)
Images and sounds appear as suggestions and are revisited; clues dispersed. Debby waits in a room not really alone.
After Hours, by Karen Yasinsky (2013, 10.5 min., digital video)
After Hours originated with thoughts on senseless violence, cultural observation and hypnotism. My meditations on these involve anxiety and a sense of expectation (running from the personal and then elsewhere) which helped form the structure. Many of the images are repurposed, related but unhinged from their original context.
Orpheus (outtakes), by Mary Helena Clark (2013, 6 min., 16mm)
"Using footage from Cocteau's Orphée, Mary Helena Clark optically prints an interstitial space where the ghosts of cinema lurk beyond and within the frames." - Andrea Picard
The Sound of Running in My Voice, by Mary Helena Clark (2014, 8 min., digital video)
A study of the portrayal of emotion.
Marie, by Karen Yasinsky (2010, 6 min., digital video)
Marie is rotoscoped from a scene in Au Hasard Balthazar by Robert Bresson. I chose this scene for the melodrama of her dialogue and passivity of her face. Violence enters the work with the interruption of the image. Marie the character becomes a graphic fact. At the very end, the scene changes drastically. It's a quiet, brutal scene of great beauty and underlies the relationship between art and redemption - the ending point to which the original scene led. Music by Brahms, sound by Tom Boram and Dan Breen.
Life is an Opinion, Fire a Fact, by Karen Yasinsky (2012, 10 min., digital video)
Life is an Opinion, Fire a Fact is structured with narrative fragments, sequenced without transitions that would place them together in time or story. The point was to go from acts of despair towards some suggestion of serenity. What goes on when we watch horrific events and specifically the horror of suicide that we only watch on tv or film? The act just shows the result but not the ideas and feelings that lead to it. The first image shows a woman who just jumped to her death (from A Gentle Woman by Robert Bresson). The animated scene of self immolation is shot in reverse so narrative buildup of tension is denied. The character places himself atop a statue of Marcus Aurelius from whom the quote, Life is an Opinion, comes. We end in a place, through sound or image, that suggests diverse definitions of serenity (an opinion).
Audition, by Karen Yasinsky (2012, 4 min., digital video)
The starting point for Audition was the movement of the stripper across the stage in the red light. I rotoscoped the scene and each frame is hand drawn pixels. Once I realized that the sound attached to the source scene was the impetus for the remembered image, the rest of the video revealed itself. Hand-drawn animation and digital video. Music and sound, Bo Harwood from Killing of a Chinese Bookie.
The Dragon is the Frame, by Mary Helena Clark (2014, 14 min., 16mm)
An experimental detective film made in remembrance: keeping a diary, footnotes of film history, and the puzzle of depression.
What are you thinking?
I am thinking of how many times this poem
Will be repeated. How many summers
Will torture California
Until the damned maps burn
Until the mad cartographer
Falls to the ground and possesses
The sweet thick earth from which he has been hiding.
What are you thinking now?
- Jack Spicer, Psychoanalysis: An Elegy
This program is supported 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 Mike Kelley Foundation for the Arts. Additional support generously provided by American Cinematheque. We also depend on our members, ticket buyers, and individual donors.
Los Angeles Filmforum is the city's longest-running organization screening experimental and avant-garde film and video art, documentaries, and experimental animation. 2014 is our 39th year.
Echo Park Film Center
1200 N. Alvarado St.
Los Angeles, CA 90026
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