Christmas On Earth comes early.
ART(CORE): THE AVANT GARDE AND THE CINEMATIC BODY (various directors) Rating: NNNN
Explicit sex is the topic, New York experimental film from the 1960s onward the vehicle.
Guest-curating for Pleasure Dome Film and Video is M.M. Serra, filmmaker, educator and director of New York's Film-Makers' Cooperative. She's put together a highly watchable package of some of the best and will be on hand to discuss them.
Serra's own Double Your Pleasure (2002) kicks off the program with a brief comic tribute to Andy Warhol's Kiss, involving two women, a kiss and whole lot of donuts.
Barbara Rubin's Christmas On Earth (1963) looks closely at cocks and cunts - its original title - using multiple exposures, changing focus, a rhythmically moving camera and coarse-textured cloth to create a feeling of sex rather than literally showing the act. At the same time, a second image shows a woman blacked out except for breasts, belly and facial highlights.
When Christmas On Earth premiered at Andy Warhol's Factory, the Velvet Underground played live and the second image moved around the space courtesy of a hand-held projector. This time, composer Darren Copeland will provide live music, while CineCycle's Martin Heath wields the B projector, creating a rare opportunity to see the film as it was intended.
Carolee Schneemann's Fuses (1967) employs many of the same visual strategies as Christmas On Earth to bring emotion to a couple making love in a bedroom.
George Kuchar's Hold Me While I'm Naked (1966) cranks up the melodramatic music and wide-angle distortion for a fast, funny look at the frustrations of a low-rent filmmaker whose "art" is both symptom and cause of his erotic disconnection in the real world.
Of the five very short films that round out the program, Peggy Ahwesh's Color Of Love (1994) stands out for its dreamy, mysterious quality, achieved by matching some badly degraded found footage to the music's rhythms. A fragment of a 70s porno flick looks like something by Jean Rollin: two women, a dead guy and a knife.
Taken together, this lively two hours of cinema presents a strong erotic alternative to the usual Hollywood pap.
Screens Saturday (August 2) in the courtyard at 401 Richmond West.