Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Oddball Films: Strange Sinema 44

Oddball Films lived up to its name even more than usual when I attended the program this past Saturday night. Among the inexplicable offerings were home movies shot in India & Nepal, a titillating novelty film depicting a lesbian seduction, a 1970s agitprop docudrama from San Francisco about undocumented workers, & a Dali-inspired Porky Pig cartoon. The big revelation for me, though, was Dimitri Kirsanoff's silent Menilmontant (1926). It opens without warning with a shocking double ax murder, the preface to a Gothic tale of 2 sisters orphaned by the crime. The film has no intertitles, & Kirsanoff employs sophisticated cinematic techniques such as rapid-fire montage, double-exposure & jump cuts, but always in service of the story. The film has a strong psychological mood & an atmosphere of dread. I think I gasped out loud during an emotionally devastating scene in which one of the sisters is offered a scrap of bread by a stranger on a park bench. I really need to find out more about this movie, & I'm puzzled as to why I'd never heard of it before. There were several silent movies on the program, so Oddball Films director Stephen Parr played various electronic soundtracks to accompany them, though the often eerie music did not fit any of the films well. Mr. Parr also apologized for not being able to project Menilmontant at the correct speed.

§ "Strange Sinema 44” Oddities From the Archives

Travel films shot in Northern India & Nepal (1950s?)
Hypothese Beta (1969)
Fidelity of Report (1946)
Baron Munchausen’s Dream (Georges Méliès, 1911)
Amour Pour Un Femme (1950)
Los Desarraigados (1974)
Menilmontant (Dimitri Kirsanoff, 1926)
Dough For The Do-do (Friz Freleng, 1949)
Red Ball Express (Steve Segal, 1975)

Oddball Films
Saturday, September 10, 2011 at 8:00PM

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