Gilbert & George

Ten Commandments for Gilbert & George (1995)


Thou shalt fight conformism
Thou shalt be the messenger of freedoms
Thou shalt make use of sex
Thou shalt reinvent life
Thou shalt grab the soul
Thou shalt give thy love
Thou shalt create artificial art
Thou shalt have a sense of purpose
Thou shalt not know exactly what thou dost, but thou shalt do it
Thou shalt give something back

Xander Marro and Matt Brinkman

0106 (2006)
Selected by Lisa Oppenheim

To write "this film shows every object in the Dirt Palace, an art collective in Providence, Rhode Island," does not
even begin to describe Xander Marro and Matt Brinkman’s maniacal and anatomized document. This building is filled with stuff, found and made and pulled out of various dumpsters. To catalogue all the doll’s legs, mugs without handles, long ago ‘zines and letters, scraps of cloth, would be impossible. So instead they filmed each object for 1/24 of a second in this little film exploring a very domestic kind of psychedilia.

Martha Colburn

Wrong Time Capsule (2006)
Selected by Lisa Oppenheim

Recently, Martha Colburn has amped up the political content of her stylistically raw and frenetic animations. Wrong Time Capsule, a not-so-MTV-friendly video she produced for the Bay Area band Deerhof, is a subversive and playful indictment of the commidification of a not-so-underground culture, as if to say, rock’n roll produces commodities and rebellion is one of the most valuable.

Kenneth Anger

Kustom Kar Kommandos (1965)
Selected by Lisa Oppenheim

Pretty bikes, pretty boys and a girl group soundtrack to make you ache all over, this little film is usually thought of as a companion piece to Anger’s better-known Scorpio Rising. But the dark side here is more thoroughly sublimated, through the candy colored backdrops and shiny pomaded dos, and you get this aching feeling that all the buffing in the world will not make those bikes clean.

Owen Land

Remedial Reading Comprehension (1970)
Selected by Lisa Oppenheim

In this seminal piece of structuralist film, Owen Land (nee George Landow) demythologizes the privileged position of dreams, shadows and the auteur in cinema, both experimental and “mainstream.” Dreams are only interesting if the audience is interested, shadows are always connected to bodies, not just displacements of light and, as Land tells us, “This film is about you, not the maker.”

John Akomfrah (and Black Audio Film Collective)

Handsworth Songs (1986)
Selected by Lisa Oppenheim

More an experimental cinematic essay than a documentary, John Akomfrah and the Black Audio Collective’s Handsworth Songs (1986) is an erudite examination of race and class in grim Thatcherite Britain. Music becomes both a structuring framework of the film and a site of resistance. A 1988 quote from Michael O’Pray found in the program notes of a recent screening at Tate Britain seems to provide a particularly appropriate introduction to the film: 'The song, is a cultural form which can dig as deep as any analysis ... The poetry of song ... is a potent weapon…”
---Lisa Oppenheim

Claude Lelouch

C'était un rendez-vous (1976)

French filmmaker Claude Lelouch (best known for his 1966 film A Man and a Woman) made C'était un rendez-vous by fixing a gyro-stabilised camera mount--which he was using for another film---to the front bumper of a car. The resulting eight-minute 140-mph drive through Paris at 5:30 AM is a single take with no editing, the length of the film limited by the camera reel.

The course starts in a tunnel of the Paris Périphérique, then past landmarks such as the Arc de Triomphe, Opéra Garnier, Place de la Concorde, Champs-Elysées, and the winding streets of Montmartre. The reckless speed is exacerbated by ignored red lights, one-way streets and center lines. Lelouch was arrested after the film was shown publicly, on the charge that his Ferrari 275 GTB, reportedly driven by a F-1 driver, was illegally driven at excessive speed and with no official permit.