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David Gatten: Four Films Toward Part V of Secret History of the Dividing Line, A True Account in Nine Parts
Spielberg Theater at the Egyptian
Los Angeles, CA
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David Gatten: Four Films Toward Part V of Secret History of the Dividing Line, A True Account in Nine Parts
Sunday October 28, 2012, 7:30 pm
Los Angeles Filmforum presents
David Gatten: Four Films Toward Part V of Secret History of the Dividing Line, A True Account in Nine Parts
David Gatten in person!

At the Spielberg Theatre at the Egyptian, 6712 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles CA 90028
Tickets: $10 general; $6 students/seniors; free for Filmforum members.  

Filmforum welcomes renowned experimental film artist David Gatten for a three-show mid-career retrospective, in collaboration with the Museum of Jurassic Technology, the Velaslavasay Panorama, and REDCAT.

Over the last 15 years, David Gatten has explored the intersection of the printed word and moving image with a depth and imagination unique to cinema. Making connections across fields of knowledge and meaning, Gatten's films generate tactile compositions and draw novel conclusions from 19th-century scientific treatises, "outdated" 20th-century instructional texts, and rare books from 17th- and 18th-century personal libraries. Gatten, a leading figure dedicated to mining 16mm film's continuing expressive possibilities in the digital era, was recently included in Cinema scope's "Best Fifty Filmmakers Under Fifty."  REDCAT

Part 1 of this touring retrospective screens at the Velaslavasay Panorama on October 27 and Part 3 at REDCAT on October 29.
Admission includes a lovely illustrated booklet with new essays by Tom Gunning and Genevieve Yue, and a filmography.

This constellation of four films on October 28th, , a program created expressly for this retrospective, provides a unique glimpse at the still-in-progress fifth film of the Secret History project (due to be completed in 2013). The works comprise studies for (or intact stand-alone sections of) the epic, years-in-the-making feature-length film (which, taking its title from a volume in William Byrd's library, will be called Gadbury's Doctrine of Nativities, Containing the whole Art of Directions and Annual Revolutions: Whereby any man (even of an Ordinary Capacity) may be enabled to discover the most Remarkable and Occult Accidents of his Life, as they shall occur to him in the whole Course there of, either for Good or Evil). This program provides the fulcrum of this retrospective, a taking stock (and culmination) of Gatten's current practice at a crucial moment before unveiling a new phase of his career.

Special Thanks to Chris Stuits, David Wilson, David Wilson, Sara Velas, Steve Anker, Bérénice Reynaud.

Screening, all in 16mm:
The Matter Propounded, Of Its Possibility or Impossibility, Treated in Four Parts
(2011, 13 minutes, b&w, silent, 16mm)

The Matter Propounded makes use of an early 19th-century "tablet of Jupiter" system for attempting to tell one's future. Divided into four sectionsInstructions, Questions, Answers, and Conclusionsthe film invites viewers to draw their own conclusions about the questions we ask of the world and the answers we find for ourselves.

How to Conduct a Love Affair
(2007, 8 minutes, color, silent, 16mm)
"This is an extremely lovely film The film begins with a text composed of plaintive instructions to a would-be lover; we soon discover, rather surprisingly, that the text is taken from an early conduct book. Throughout the film, Gatten alters the text through deletions and additions, eventually generating what appears to be direct statements in his own voice, patterned after and / or taking off from the conduct book's tone. What one finds here is a rather heartbreaking tension -- our innermost feelings are, in the end, not that different from those of other people and, as such, subject to schematic treatment. Of course, an actual love affair exceeds these strictures, but not entirely, perhaps the way a river laps against its banks. Against these conceptual matters, Gatten provides exquisite images, the dominant one being of a heavy, wrinkled piece of canvas, hanging like a curtain but appearing to be flat against the wall. Gatten lights and frames the material to highlight shadow and texture, and the result is rather like a Warhol film-portrait of a Richard Tuttle painting. In counterpoint to this image, we see dusty, antiquarian close-ups of window panes, encrusted bottlenecks, and eventually superimpositions, ghostings, and painterly, near-monochrome intrusions of color. Some of these brief passages call those of Nathaniel Dorsky to mind, but Gatten's approach is more synthetic and willing to transform the image for mood and effect. In the end, the overall impression of Love Affair is one of constant surprise, a framework in which there is not only continually renewed promise in that which we know well, but the likelihood of something utterly unexpected just in the offing. Not bad guidelines for courtship if you ask me."  Michael Secinski, Senses of Cinema

So Sure of Nowhere Buying Times to Come
(2010, 9 minutes, color, silent, 16mm)
"Time was the subject of David Gatten's terrific new film, commissioned by Mark McElhatten for a shop window themed program of experimental shorts in honor of filmmaker Mark LaPore. So Sure of Nowhere Buying Times to Come begins with a quote from Thomas Browne's Hydriotaphia, Urn Burial, or a Discourse of the Sepulchral Urns lately found in Norfolk that notes, essentially, how whatever objects we are aware of, there have existed infinitely more in the past, and that whatever we see in the light there exists much more in the darkness.  From this quote what follows is a visual record and appreciation of "The Red Shop," a small store in Colorado that appears to sell antiquesold stamps, knives, watches, and similar objects.  We see a limited set of goods held in praise for their past-ness, and in their individualness, and their positioning as unique and historical significants, we can see the limitation which Browne speaks of.  Suddenly not just all antiques but indeed all items in a shop window, all items of commerce, all items shown as having meaning and value open up behind them an unbearably large and dark void of all things these objects are not, that they fail to speak to, and that we'll never know."   Daniel Kasman, Mubi.com, February 10, 2010

Film for Invisible Ink, Case No. 323: Once Upon a Time in the West
(2010, 20 minutes, b&w, sound, 16mm)
"Gatten made this film for his wedding to the video artist Erin Espelie. Black words unfold against a white background, the whole thing seeming like a guidebook. The letters on top appear in telegraphic code ("HAFIJ 62 JSLSI") while the words on bottom categorize them ("instances of the road"). The top letters eventually become full, coherent words, too ("They had arrived"), while the bottom words stay iterative ("instances that open doors"). "I take thee from this day forward" becomes a summoning instance; "to have and to hold" an instance of alliance; "in sickness and in health" an instance of refuge; and, finally, "all my love I do thee give" an instance of covenant, then a shining instance, then a magical instance. The film's last images are Gatten's dedication to Espelieto her from him, "with love and promises for all our instances."

The film itself was a magical instance. The best avant-garde works that I saw this year, film or video, took ordinary, basic images and infused them with wonder. Gatten got more from less than anyone else did. We have discovered a great filmmaker. AARON CUTLER, Slant Magazine, October 13, 2010

[Total running time: 50 minutes + + introduction and discussion]

Texts of Light: A Mid-Career Retrospective of Fourteen Films by David Gatten, in Three Programs(all 16mm)

Saturday October 27  Program I - Secret History of the Dividing Line, A True Account in Nine Parts: Parts I-IV
The Museum of Jurassic Technology presents David Gatten at the Velaslavasay Panorama
1122 West 24th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90007, (213) 746-2166 panoramaonview.org  
Secret History of the Dividing Line (2002) 20 mins., black and white, silent
The Great Art of Knowing (2004) 37 mins., black and white, silent
Moxon's Mechanick Exercises, or The Doctrine of Handy-Words Applied to the Art of Printing (1999) 26 mins. [18 fps], black and white, silent
The Enjoyment of Reading (Lost and Found) (2001) 18 mins. [18 fps], color, silent

Sunday October 28, 7:30 pm  Program 2 - Four Films Toward Part V of Secret History of the Dividing Line, A True Account in Nine Parts
David Gatten at Los Angeles Filmforum at the Spielberg Theatre at the Egyptian, 6712 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles CA 90028

Monday, October 29, 8:30 pm  Program 3 - Silent Mountains, Singing Oceans, and Slivers of Time
David Gatten at REDCAT
Film for Invisible Ink, case no. 71: BASE-PLUS-FOG (2006) 10 mins., black and white, sound
What the Water Said, Nos. 1-3 (1998) 16 mins., color, sound
Journal and Remarks (2009) 15 mins., color, silent
Shrimp Boat Log (2006/recut & printed 2010) 6 mins., color, silent
What the Water Said, Nos. 4-6 (2007) 17 mins., color, sound
Film for Invisible Ink, case no. 142: Abbreviation for Dead Winter [diminished by 1,794] (2008) 13 mins., black and white, sound
Filmforum's 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; the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts; and the Metabolic Studio.  Additional support generously provided by American Cinematheque.  We also depend on our members, ticket buyers, and individual donors.

Coming Soon to Los Angeles Filmforum:
Nov 4  Rose Lowder, from France
Nov 11  Festival of (In)appropriation
Nov 16 & 18  John Smith, from the UK

Los Angeles Filmforum is the city's longest-running organization screening experimental and avant-garde film and video art, documentaries, and experimental animation.  2012 is our 37th year
Memberships available, $70 single, $105 dual, or $50 single student
Contact us at lafilmforum@yahoo.com.  www.lafilmforum.org
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Spielberg Theater at the Egyptian (View)
6712 Hollywood Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90028
United States


Arts > Literary
Film > Premiers

Kid Friendly: No
Dog Friendly: Yes!
Non-Smoking: Yes!
Wheelchair Accessible: Yes!


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