Songs of Innocence and Experience—Visionary Cinema in the 1960s & 70s

Two programs presented in conjunction with the Block Museum’s exhibition William Blake and the Age of Aquarius look at the connections between Blake's work and American experimental film of the late 1960s and early 1970s.

Songs of Innocence and Experience: Experimental Visions—1960s Rock & Roll

Friday, October 6, 2017 7:00 PM FREE

--- ------- (aka The Rock n Roll Movie) (Thom Andersen & Malcom Brodwick, 1967, USA, 16mm, 12 min.)

Turn! Turn! Turn! (Jud Yalkut, 1966, USA, 16mm, 10 min.)

Coming Down (Pat O’Neill, 1968, USA, 16mm, 4 min.) Print Courtesy of Academy Film Archives

Invocation of My Demon Brother (Kenneth Anger, 1969, USA, 16mm, 11 min.)

TRT: 53 min.

This program, presented in conjunction with the Block Museum’s exhibition William Blake and the Age of Aquarius, explores the influence that the energy and musicality of Blake’s poetry had on a range of countercultural and rock musicians in the 1960s, and on several of the experimental filmmakers who utilized their music. Thom Andersen and Malcolm Brodwick’s cryptically-titled --- ------- (aka The Rock n Roll Movie) is an explosive, almost primal, music film, aided in large part by its dynamic editing. Jud Yalkut’s Turn! Turn! Turn! is a work of visual and sonic sensory overload, as he films light and electronic sculptures. Coming Down, made by optical printer wizard Pat O’Neill, is another proto-music video featuring the experimental music group The United States of America. Experimental film master Kenneth Anger’s Invocation of My Demon Brother is his most scathing pop-culture compendium, featuring satanic burial rites for a cat, footage of the Vietnam War, and a deliberately discordant Moog soundtrack by Mick Jagger.

Songs of Innocence and Experience: Lawrence Jordan

Friday, October 13, 2017 7:00 PM FREE

Our Lady of the Sphere (1969, USA, 35mm 9 min.)

The Rime of the Ancient Mariner (1977, USA, 16mm, 42 min.)

TRT: 51 min.

Also presented in conjunction with the William Blake and the Age of Aquarius exhibition, this program of two seminal works by the great experimental filmmaker Lawrence Jordan showcases his masterful collage animation style. Jordan’s films mirror the mysteriousness and hallucinatory qualities of Blake’s poetry. The Rime of the Ancient Mariner is one of his more straightforward films. Based on the poem by Blake’s fellow Romantic Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Jordan’s film visualizes the story, with narration by Orson Welles, without losing the poem’s sense of strangeness and wonder. Jordan’s best-known film, Our Lady of the Sphere, follows the travels through space, and perhaps time, of a strange orb-headed being, who might be an explorer or might yield some unknown power over the places visited.