Saul Levine: Notes of the World
Los Angeles Filmforum presents
Saul Levine: Notes of the World
At the Spielberg Theatre at the Egyptian, 6712 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles CA 90028
Saul Levine in person!
For those of you fortunate to attend the screenings of Saul Levine last August, you’ll know how delightful are both the films and the person. For those of you who didn’t, here is another chance! Saul Levine returns to Los Angeles with three different shows, all different from last August, with the joint participation of Filmforum, REDCAT, and the Echo Park Film Center.
In 1965, Saul Levine misjudged a leap from a sailboat to a buoy, falling into the Long Island Sound with his 8mm camera rolling in his hands. He’s been busy making films ever since, mostly in the small gauge format of Super-8. Saul’s output is constant, and his work is illuminated by an improvisatory energy, the rhythm of his life as a teacher and working artist. Practically synonymous with personal small-gauge filmmaking, Saul Levine has created more than 100 largely improvisational films in a half-century of remarkable, uninterrupted activity. His painstakingly crafted, exquisitely kinetic work deals with people and episodes from his life, but derives universal poetic meaning from its urgency, tactile presence, and range of themes, from the most personal to the political. In his key series—Notes, Portrayals, and Light Licks—Levine uses combinations of black-and-white and color, multiple images, accidents of exposure, and hand-carved collaging to expand upon his already rich, expressive cinematography. The Boston-based legend, a mentor to scores of avant-garde filmmakers throughout his teaching tenure at MassArt, brings a wide selection of film work. (Notes by Matthew Doyle & Steve Anker)
“Saul Levine is the foremost dissenting filmmaker in America. With about 35 years of consistent production behind him, and no signs of fatigue, he can show us the shape of a life passionately and uncompromisingly devoted to filmmaking. His works are high-energy messages of friendship, records of sexual love and political activism, radiated by humor, prophetic anger, loneliness and even though rarely, representing repose. His incessant, chaotic outpouring of political energy seems less geared to a naïve notion of bettering the world than to a perpetual pressure to keep it from getting worse.” — P. Adams Sitney.
Tickets: $10 general; $6 students/seniors; free for Filmforum members.
Available in advance from Brown Paper Tickets at http://bpt.med/2536221 or at the door.
Interview with Saul Levine and Katy Martin:
There will be two additional and different screenings with Saul Levine while he is in Los Angeles.
Saturday April 16, 8:00 pm, at the Echo Park Film Center:
Monday April 18, 8:30 pm at REDCAT:
Special thanks to Steve Anker and Rick Bahto.
All films by Saul Levine; silent; originally filmed on s8 or regular 8mm and blown up to 16mm by Mr. Levine.
The Big Stick
(1967-73, b/w 10m)
"[The film] intercut[s] two Charlie Chaplin shorts centering on policemen with newsreel footage of police crowd control and street fighting. Levine questioned the social implications of media, not only by making temporal, aesthetic and contextual comparisons of his sources, but by presenting this discomforting ragout in a film gauge whose cost, availability and mobility make simply working it an intrinsically political gesture. Levine also understood how to use very fast cutting in old-style 8mm, a difficult task in that the splice is in the middle of the frame. A cut is therefore void of illusion, and in fact threatens to obliterate a weak image [...] Levine's adroit use of graphic action from the newsreels and close-ups from the shorts changed the rapid cuts from awkward stumbles to almost profound superimpositions." - James Irwin, Artweek
New Left Note
(1968-1982, 27 min.)
"Levine's rapid fire cutting has never found a more appropriate subject than in NEW LEFT NOTE, his film on the anti-war, anti-racist, and women's liberation movements of the early 1970s in America. NEW LEFT NOTE represents a synthesis of ideas that Levine sought to inject into a much-divided movement. The 'Free Bobby Seale' demonstrations in New Haven (Levine's home town) in 1970 is put into context through the editing .... At the time of shooting, Levine was the editor of New Left Notes, the national newspaper of SDS (Students for a Democratic Society). He was unilaterally committed to the movements he filmed but beleaguered by the leadership of the organization for his non-sectarian views. ... [NEW LEFT NOTE] is a study of radical politics in radical film form." -- Marjorie Keller
"The life he records is a jumble of demonstrations, fused with the kaleidoscopic fury of memory; its brief reprises include a catnap in the back of a car and a glimpse of a zoo. His incessant, chaotic outpouring of political energy seems less geared to a naive notion of bettering the world than to a perpetual pressure to keep it from getting worse." -- P. Adams Sitney, The Village Voice
(1999-2000, 10 min.) Los Angeles premiere!
WHOLE NOTE is mainly a portrait of my father Julius Levine in the last days of his life. My aunts Francis and Belle Cohen also appear. "Nothing is as whole as a broken heart" (a Hasidic saying).
Light Lick: By the Waters of Babylon: I Want to Paint It Black
(2011, 12 min.)
Los Angeles premiere!
LIGHT LICKS are a series of films, which are made frame by frame often by flooding the camera with enough light to spill beyond the gate into the frame left unexposed. LIGHT LICKS are ecstatic flicker films inspired by jazz and mystic visionary practice.
BY THE WATERS OF BABYLON is a sub series within the LIGHT LICKS, inspired by Psalm 137, a meditation on the experience of forced exile. I WANT TO PAINT IT BLACK I spent the week of Thanksgiving 2010 in Prague; I had never been to Europe before and as a Jew born in the 2nd World War, I had a strong association of central Europe with the Holocaust. I found Prague to be an extremely charming and beautiful city, an architectural palimpsest as it hadn’t been bombed. In this LIGHT LICK I responded to the city in the present tense but kept being drawn into its past. The grave of Rabbi Judah Lowe the alleged maker of the Golem alleged descendent of King David and certainly one of the great Jewish scholars and mystics of his time, the absence of a contemporary Jewish community and the wonderful statues bridges and buildings led me to make this dark Gothic reflection of 21st century Prague. – Saul Levine
Light Lick: By the Waters of Babylon: This May Be the Last Time
(2011, 7 min.) Los Angeles premiere!
"This film was shot right before Dwayne's stopped processing Kodachrome and the last time I shot Kodachrome for a LIGHT LICK. It was right after Thanksgiving weekend and the light is very much late November right before the Winter Solstice. Existence equals thin ice." – Saul Levine
Light Lick: By the Waters of Babylon: Night Time Is the Right Time
(2014, 3 min.) Los Angeles premiere!
PARDES is ancient Persian for walled garden. In Hebrew and Aramaic - paradise, heaven, the garden of Eden, the peak or terminus of ecstatic visionary, trance flight NIGHT TIME IS THE RIGHT TIME moon play light garden be loved – Saul Levine