Early Monthly Segments

#40 = 6/11/12 = Ute Aurand/Ulrike Pfeiffer + Marie Menken

The Gravediggers of Guadix, courtesy Anthology Film Archives

June’s screening is a special occasion as we have obtained a very rare print of Marie Menken’s  unfinished (and hence, virtually unknown) The Gravediggers of Guadix (1961). Marie Menken (1910-1970) holds a special place in the film pantheon as one of the earliest practitioners of personal filmmaking and her embodied camerawork was an influence on many filmmakers, from Stan Brakhage to Ute Aurand. In the same trip to Spain with Kenneth Anger in 1958 where she filmed the exquisite Arabesque for Kenneth Anger, Menken spent time with a group of monks devoted to burying the dead. The subject must have been a powerful theme for “a Lithuanian Roman Catholic fascinated by saints, monks and religious iconography” (as characterized by P. Adams Sitney) and the unedited Kodachrome camera rolls are gorgeous documents of her camera eye and the unique rituals of the monks that live in the sun-parched cave-village of Guadix.

Ute Aurand and Ulrike Pfeiffer take embodied vision to its joyous extreme in OH! die vier Jahreszeiten (OH! The Four Seasons, 1988), which features the two filmmakers frolicking through the four seasons in Berlin, Moscow, Paris and London. Inspired by a Jonas Mekas quote on the intuitive power of improvisation that opens the film, the two filmmakers trade the camera back and forth, filming each other at play. Aurand runs around in the Berlin snow in a white dress and boots and swings a young boy around and around in Red Square before Aurand and Pfeiffer both dance in a Paris fountain and then dress up as angels in the London twilight. The music of Orff, Prokofiev, Piaf and Deller alongside the youthful spontaneity of the two filmmakers creates an exuberant ode to the changing of the seasons, the exhilaration of travel and the act of creation.

OH! die vier Jahreszeiten (OH! The Four Seasons), Ute Aurand/Ulrike Pfeiffer, 1988, 16mm, Germany, 18 min.
The Gravediggers of Guadix, Marie Menken, 1961, 16mm, USA/Spain, 45 min. silent

@ Gladstone Hotel, Art Bar | 1214 Queen St West
Monday June 11, 2012 | 8:00 pm screening, $5 suggested donation

OH! die vier Jahreszeiten

Special thanks to Anthology Film Archives for the Marie Menken print and  the still.

Upcoming #41 = Monday July 16 = TBA