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Gregory J. Markopoulos: Early Films of the 40s & 50s
Spielberg Theatre at the Egyptian
Los Angeles, CA
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Gregory J. Markopoulos: Early Films of the 40s & 50s
Sunday April 12, 2015, 7:30 pm
Los Angeles Filmforum presents
Gregory J. Markopoulos: Early Films of the 40s & 50s
At the Spielberg Theatre at the Egyptian, 6712 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles CA 90028

Co-presented with the Getty Center and REDCAT
Introduced by Mark Webber, editor of Film as Film: The Collected Writings of Gregory J. Markopoulos

Gregory J. Markopoulos was one of the most original filmmakers to emerge in post-war American cinema. His films, which often translated literary or mythological sources to a contemporary context, are celebrated for their extraordinary creativity, the sensuous use of color and innovations in cinematic form. A contemporary of Maya Deren, Kenneth Anger and Jonas Mekas, Markopoulos was amongst those at the forefront of a generation that liberated cinema by developing new modes of expression. Having made his first 16mm film (Psyche) in 1947, he went on to produce several key works of the avant-garde such as Twice a Man (1963) and The Illiac Passion (1964-67).

At the end of the 1960s, Markopoulos moved to Europe to pursue a very individual path, withdrawing his films from distribution and making them almost impossible to see. Firmly believing that a filmmaker should be responsible for all aspects of his work, he conceived the Temenos, a monographic archive for the presentation, preservation and study of his films. Late in life he chose to re-edit his entire oeuvre into a monumental 80-hour long film (Eniaios, 1947-90) to be shown only at a remote location near his ancestral home in Greece. This speculative project is being realised posthumously at an open-air screening event that has taken place in the Peloponnese every four years since 2004, and is currently being planned for June 2016. http://www.the-temenos.org/

Markopoulos' films encompass mythic themes, portraiture and studies of landscape and architecture. By employing complex editing techniques and spontaneous in-camera superimposition, he sought to unlock the mystery and energy contained within the single frame. This rare opportunity to experience the work of a true pioneer of independent filmmaking celebrates the publication of "Film as Film: The Collected Writings of Gregory J. Markopoulos" (The Visible Press, 2004), which gathers together almost 100 texts written by the filmmaker between 1950 and 1992. www.thevisiblepress.com

This is the last of four screenings of works by Gregory Markopolous.  Additional shows, also introduced by Mark Webber, are April 6 at REDCAT and April 7 at the Getty.  

For more event information: www.lafilmforum.org, or 323-377-7238

Tickets: $10 general, $6 students/seniors; free for Filmforum members.  Available by credit card in advance from Brown Paper Tickets at  or at the door.

Special Thanks to Steve Anker and Mark Webber; Rani Singh, Alison Kozberg, and the Getty Research Institute; REDCAT; Tosh Berman; Robert Beavers and The Temenos

Gregory J. Markopoulos: Early Films of the 40s & 50s

Having made 8mm films as a child, Markopoulos sought to advance his knowledge of filmmaking by enrolling at the USC Film School, where he attended lectures by Joseph von Sternberg and observed productions of Fritz Lang, Alfred Hitchcock and Alexander Korda. His first 16mm film, Psyche, was made in Los Angeles at this time, a period in which Markopoulos became acquainted with Curtis Harrington, Kenneth Anger and Raymond Rohauer. Abandoning his studies after only three semesters, he returned to his hometown of Toledo, Ohio, and completed some half dozen films. These early works often explore themes of sexual awakening and the anxiety of coming to terms with homosexuality in an age of repression. In the mid-1950s, the filmmaker embarked on the ill-fated feature Serenity in Greece before reemerging with Twice a Man (1963), the work that secured Markopoulos' position as one of independent cinema's leading figures.

Gregory J. Markopoulos, 1947, USA, 16mm, color, sound, 24 min
Psyche, which takes as its source an unfinished novella of the same name by Pierre Lou├┐s, is a remarkably ambitious and sensual work for a 19-year old to have made in the late 1940s  addressing themes of eros and lesbianism, and containing sequences of montage that presage the techniques of rapid editing that advance in later works. Psyche can stand alone, but was also shown together with Lysis and Charmides (both made in Toledo the following year, inspired by Platonic dialogues) in the trilogy Du sang de la volupte et de la mort (1947-48).

"The first thing which I did was to delete the novelette of its lush rhetoric and retain only its symbolic color. In Psyche, color plays an important role, similar to the role which color plays in the paintings of Toulouse Lautrec. Color reflects the true character of the individual before us, whether it be on the screen, in a painting, or in the street. Color is Eros." (Gregory J. Markopoulos, Psyche's Search for the Herb of Invulnerability, 1955)

Gregory J. Markopoulos, 1950, USA, 16mm, b/w, sound, 13 min
Having abandoned his studies at USC, Markopoulos returned to Ohio and completed some half dozen films before embarking on the ill-fated feature film Serenity in Greece. Christmas-USA-1949 (aka Christmas USA) weaves together documentary and fiction to convey a moment of awakening, and was shot at the 'Cavalcade of Amusements' travelling fairground, and in the Markopoulos family home and local surrounds." Its closing credits declare "the end of a period."

Gregory J. Markopoulos, 1953, USA, 16mm, color, silent, 11 min

"The dreamlike Eldora describes love's fragmenting effects on the consciousness of an adolescent girl." (Kristin M. Jones). Eldora was shot on 8mm stock given to the filmmaker by the LA-based exhibitor and collector Raymond Rohauer, and is dedicated to Robert C. Freeman, his collaborator on Swain. In his writings, Markopoulos refers to the film's "cautious and excruciatingly slow movement" and describes its heroine "proceeding as if with lunar strides across the wet, soft, earthly shore matter of the Maumee River."

Gregory J. Markopoulos & Robert C. Freeman, 1950, USA, 16mm, color, sound, 20 min.
"An exquisite early psychodramatic trance film reminiscent of Maya Deren's films, Swain is loosely inspired by Nathaniel Hawthorne's Fanshawe and is rich in metaphor. Starring Markopoulos, Swain is an evocation in gentle images and visual symbols of a subconscious rejection of the stereotyped masculine role that both society and women insist upon. This rejection takes the form of escape  a flight in fantasy from what is visually perceived as crude, repelling sexuality into the purity of creative activity, of nature, and of the individual personality left inviolate." (Donald Weinstein, Swain: Flowers and Flight, 1963)

-- Mark Webber
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.  2015 is our 40th year.

Memberships available, $70 single, $115 dual, or $50 single student
Contact us at lafilmforum@yahoo.com.
Find us online at http://lafilmforum.org.
Become a fan on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @LosAngFilmforum!


Spielberg Theatre at the Egyptian (View)
6712 Hollywood Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90028
United States


Film > Festivals
Film > Movies

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Dog Friendly: Yes!
Non-Smoking: Yes!
Wheelchair Accessible: Yes!


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