• film

Remembering George Kuchar

Corruption of the Damned / Eclipse of the Sun Virgin / Knocturne

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Friday 1/23
7:00 pm
$9 General Public
$7 Students & Seniors
FREE IHP Members

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The great American underground filmmaker George Kuchar died in 2011—shortly before a retrospective of his work opened at PS1 in Queens. It was fitting that the exhibition was mounted so close to Kuchar's childhood home in the Bronx,  the first "sound studio" for the low-budget super 8 films he made with his brother Mike in the 1950s. With his enormous oeuvre—comprised of hundreds of films and videos over five decades—Kuchar practically gave birth to a genre. His campy, Z-grade independent filmmaking celebrates Hollywood tropes just as much as it obliterates them. Given the recent publication of The George Kuchar Reader, edited by Andrew Lampert and published by Primary Information (and available for purchase at this screening), the time seems ripe to revisit the twisted world of this one-of-a-kind filmmaker.

Corruption of the Damned

dir. George Kuchar, US, 1965, 16mm, b/w, 55 min.
Introduced by Andrew Lampert

“Kuchar’s films are overtly insane. Anyone who lived in such a world would be mad inside an hour. Perhaps the Marx Brothers might survive, but I doubt it. Godzilla, King of the Monsters, might have a better chance. But the utter insanity, the insanity of perverted cliché, is the genuine unwholesome appeal of Kuchar’s outlook. Corruption might seethe with violence and sex, the two most attractive things you can put on the screen, but beneath them a twisted outlook pervades. Something is very much wrong with the Kuchar world.”- Leonard Lipton, Berkeley Barb

Followed by:
Eclipse of the Sun Virgin
dir. George Kuchar, US, 1967, 16mm, color, 15 min.

“I dedicate this film poem to the behemoths of yesteryear that perished in Siberia along with the horned pachyderms of the pre-glacial epoch. This chilling montage of crimson repression must be seen. Painstakingly filmed and edited, it will be painful to watch, too.”- G.K.

Knocturne
dir. George Kuchar, US, 1968, 16mm, color, 10 min.
“The rising moon is the main theme in this short movie of three people and an animal going about their nocturnal rituals. This movie is evidently part three of my trilogy that started with Hold Me While I’m Naked and Eclipse of the Sun Virgin. It evidently is, since part three never really came out. This seems to look like it could be part three.”- G.K.
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Andrew Lampert is Curator of Collections at Anthology Film Archives in New York City, where he has restored and preserved hundreds of films by esteemed artists including the Kuchar Brothers, Tony Conrad, Marie Menken, Bruce Conner, Maya Deren, Paul Sharits among many others. He co-programs Anthology's two theaters which annually present more than 900 programs of contemporary and classic works independent, international and experimental cinema. He is also an artist who specializes in creating expanded cinema pieces, short films and videos and installations that playfully address the contemporary condition of spectatorship in our rampant media environment. His work is widely exhibited at festivals, museums and cinemas throughout North America and abroad, including the Whitney Museum, the British Film Institute, the Vienalle, The Toronto Film Festival and other venues. A Visiting Fellow at the Eugene Lang College at The New School, he recently edited the book The George Kuchar Reader (Primary Information, 2014).  A limited number of copies of the book will be available for purchase at this screening.