If the feature film is the novel of cinema, then experimental film is undoubtedly its poetry. This weekend, Colorado Springs will be treated to a festival of some of the great vintage and contemporary cinematic poetry that the world has to offer.
On Saturday, March 29, The International Experimental Cinema Exposition (TIE), will present an all-evening marathon of international experimental films featuring two rare films by Andy Warhol that were recently reprinted and will be projected simultaneously.
For music fans and pop culture aficionados alike, the most heavily anticipated screening will undoubtedly be Warhol's dual projection piece The Velvet Underground and Nico. Warhol and The Velvet Underground arose from the post-abstract New York of the '60s to define the pop movement in both art and music. The film was made by Warhol specifically to project onto the band while they were performing, said Chris May, director of TIE.
This screening will be of particular interest to buffs who want to see the film as it was meant to be screened (minus the band).
"It's a film that's dual projected. They're actually going to the open screen at the Fine Arts Center to the entire width of the stage," said May of the film that was restored in a collaboration between the Whitney Museum, the Museum of Modern Art, the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts and the Andy Warhol Museum.
"It just screened at the Moscow International Film Festival and the crowd actually stood up and cheered. It hasn't been shown this way since the '60s."
Warhol's newly re-minted film Horse will also screen on Saturday. The idea behind the film, said May, was "to create a western, while exposing the homoeroticism of the western." The film also has a 33-minute long shot of a horse eating hay. "It is a bit difficult," May said, laughing. But, he noted, such deadpan shots are also one of Warhol's greatest contributions to film that has only recently been recognized.
"He made the camera itself the auteur, rather than the director." The film Empire is Warhol's most extreme example of this. Warhol simply set up a camera fixed on the Empire State Building and left it rolling for eight hours. Thankfully, this particular film won't be shown.
Another major component of the all-day festival will be the presentation of avant-garde films from Germany and Austria.
The lineup will include a film by Arnulf Rainer (called the world's greatest filmmaker by renowned experimental filmmaker Stan Brakhage) that strips the medium down to its most rudimentary elements: light and shadow. In fact, the film can be watched with eyes closed and ears plugged.
According to May, Austria has one of the most vital experimental film cultures in the world. Because of its long-struggling economy, Austrians were often forced to make do with found footage and short film projects more suited to the experimental style.
Robert von Dassanowsky, professor of languages and cultures and director of film studies at UCCS, will elaborate the history of the economics of Austrian cinema during brief talks between films.
To cap off the night's festivities, there will be a 45-minute Argentine intermission catered by Sencha.