Philadelphia à la Pataphysique: Cinema Pataphysique
Short Cinema: Pataphysique & The Ubu-esque
Introduced by Katie Price
Ubu Tells the Truth
dir. William Kentridge South Africa, 1996-7, 35mm animated film, transferred to DVD. 8 mins. color
William Kentridge's short animated films are typically made from a series of large-scale charcoal and pastel drawings which the artist repeatedly alters and interchanges as his narrative progresses.Ubu Tells the Truth marks an important change in technique, as Kentridge has combined images from documentary films and photographs together with moving puppets as well as his animated drawings. This film was made from a basis of thirty drawings. Sleeper is a related etching he made in the same year. Much of the footage was originally created to accompany action on stage in the multi-media theatre work Ubu and the Truth Commission (1997), in which Kentridge collaborated with the Handspring Puppet Company in Johannesburg. It was subsequently edited to accentuate the drama implicit in the series of images. The result is a greater degree of abstraction than in his earlier films and a more heightened violence. Special thanks to the Marian Goodman Gallery, New York for the use of the film.
dir. Geoff Dunbar, UK, 1978, video, 17 mins. color
“I think it was the late sixties, and I saw this wonderful production of Ubu on at the Royal Court, and Max Wall was playing his Royal Highness. And it was just astounding, I mean, that was my initiation with Alfred Jarry, I mean, he was quite an extraordinary man. I thought at that time, if I ever got the chance to do it, Ubu would just be the most natural animated picture. I related it to Jarry in terms of animation initially because it was originally a marionette play that he put on at school as a boy, and then he placed it a little bit later in the theatre. And I think it's part of anyone that works in the theatre, it's part of their curriculum, you know, you come across Ubu, you come across the importance of Ubu in breaking the traditions.” Geoff Dunbar
Ce Qui Roule - That Which Rolls - Early Forms of Rollin' Rock
dir. Rainer Ganahl, 2008, video, 36 mins. color, sound
This film is a factious auto/bike/biography of Alfred Jarry who was a quintessential modern hero anticipating the 20th century though he destroyed himself already in 1907 at age 32 through the insane consumption of absinth, alcohol and self-induced, self-deceiving madness. Jarry created KING UBU a grotesque, pathetic dictator that foreshadowed the megalomania, failure and destruction of those disastrous men that terrorized Nazi-Europe, Fascist Spain and Stalinist Russia. Gender troubled and unsure about anything, Jarry embraced the future in a futurist manner, fantasizing about new machines and daring technologies of the self that put into questions the limits of mankind.
Ce qui roule - That which rolls - Early forms of Rollin' Rock tries to take up some of the schizo-poetic strains Alfred Jarry lay out and lived through. It is an accumulation of anecdotes, historic events, poetic projections and invented prolongations sketching the silhouettes of the historical as well as the imagined poet. I don't try to differ between Jarry's writing and his own life; I also don't limit myself to what might be historically reasonable or feasible but expand the scope of cinematic production to the point of anachronistic paradigms that obey only the structure of the film itself.' Rainer Ganahl November 2008
Ubu et la grande Gidouille
dir. Jan Lenica, France, 1987, video, 75mins. color, French w/ English subtitles
Ubu et la Grande Gidouille is a 1987 French animated film directed by Polish animator Jan Lenica. It is based on Alfred Jarry's play Ubu Roi. Michel Poujade (voice of Père Ubu) and Janine Grillon (voice of Mère Ubu) were the main actors.
dir. uncredited, 2001, video, 3 mins. color, sound
Music by Bart Vandewege for the play by Alfred Jarry. A tribute to Conlon Nancarrow (1912-1997), defender of Spain...
Katie L. Price is a doctoral candidate in English at the University of Pennsylvania and works in the field of American literature, with an emphasis on experimental traditions and their relationship to international modernisms. She is currently completing her dissertation, “‘The Tangential Point’: Pataphysical Practice in Postwar Poetry,” portions of which are published or forthcoming in Contemporary Literature, Canadian Literature, and the collection On Conceptual Writing. Katie is also completing two poetry manuscripts—BRCA and Sik. Portions of the works are published or forthcoming in the Journal of Medical Humanities and Fence.