Wednesday, February 08, 2012

PFA Screens Works by
Pioneer Gay Director Markopoulos

(From "Twice a Man", with Olympia Dukakis in a supporting role.)

My appreciation of gay underground cinema that is also widely renowned as classic avant-garde American movie-making will be rekindled when the Pacific Film Archive offers a three-evening retrospective of works created by pioneering artist Gregory Markopoulos. There are two evenings of his films this week and one next Thursday.

His name is among the directors whose work I promise to catch, if they're ever shown on a big screen in a theater and I now have that chance. It didn't help the cineaste's dilemma of wanting to view his films only to be denied that pleasure, when he kept the works from exhibition.

Here's an excerpt from the PFA's calendar notes for the series:

The films of Gregory J. Markopoulos, a leading figure of the American avant-garde and the world of art cinema, have been almost impossible to see during the past forty years. Markopoulos (1928–92) had very specific views on how his films should be exhibited and, in 1967 when he moved from the United States to Europe, made the decision to withdraw his films from distribution . . . For the next twenty-some years, he and his lifelong companion Robert Beavers devoted their energies to the Temenos, an archive, library, and outdoor theater in Lyssaraia, Greece.

Beavers will introduce both screenings this week. Brush up on your gay American cinematic creators who worked (way) outside the confines of the Hollywood system and put stunning original images up on the silver screen. Head over to Berkeley for these treats. Here are some details on the dates, times and titles:

Thursday, February 9
7:00 p.m. Markopoulos: The Early Films
Includes Psyche, A Christmas Carol, Lysis, Charmides, Christmas USA, and The Dead Ones. Plus the Bay Area Premiere of Beavers's short The Suppliant. (116 mins)

Saturday, February 11
6:30 p.m. Eros and Myth
Markopoulos’s ability to improvise with his surroundings and to develop techniques of rapid cutting and subjective treatments of narrative time remain among the greatest contributions he made to cinema. This program includes Swain, Flowers of Asphalt, Eldora, and Twice a Man, inspired by the myth of Hippolytus and Phaedra. (87 mins)

Thursday, February 16
7:00 p.m. The Illiac Passion
Studded with New York art stars (Andy Warhol, Taylor Mead, Jack Smith), The Illiac Passion is the most elaborate of Markopoulos’s completed films and has been compared to Kenneth Anger’s Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome. Ming Green is one of the filmmaker’s most sensuous films about place. (99 mins)


Larry-bob said...

Sounds like a great series. Particularly would like to see The Illiac Passion.

DavidEhrenstein said...

These programs are not to be missed under any circumstances. Gregory is a great filmmaker and was a unique individual.

A few years back I interviewed Olympa Dukakis about one of her films and mentioned Twice A Man. She postively glowed with pleasant memories of the experience.