Monday, September 27, 2010

Film Registry Show

Sunday, September 26, 7:30 pm

Los Angeles Filmforum presents
The Film Registry Show Returns!
Selections from recent picks by the Library of Congress
At the Spielberg Theater at the Egyptian
6712 Hollywood Blvd. (at Las Palmas)

Every year the Library of Congress selects 25 films to be added to its film registry. Some are well-known; some obscure. Last season Filmforum held the first show of short films selected for the Library of Congress Film Registry. Due to technical difficulties, the sound 16mm films weren't able to be screened, so we've brought them back, along with several other films selected for the Registry, including a couple of home movie classics and several marvelous experimental films.
Filmmaker Janie Geiser, a Filmforum member and maker of THE RED BOOK, will be at the show for questions!

Admission for Filmforum screenings: $10 general, $6 students/seniors, free for Filmforum members
Advance ticket purchase available through Brown Paper Tickets at

"Under the terms of the National Film Preservation Act, each year the Librarian of Congress names 25 films to the registry that are "culturally, historically or aesthetically" significant to be preserved for all time. These films are not selected as the "best" American films of all time, but rather as works of enduring importance to American culture.
"Established by Congress in 1989, the National Film Registry spotlights the importance of protecting America's matchless film heritage and cinematic creativity," said [Librarian of Congress James] Billington. "By preserving the nation's films, we safeguard a significant element of our cultural patrimony and history."
"Annual selections to the registry are finalized by the Librarian after his review of hundreds of titles nominated by the public and extensive discussions with members of the National Film Preservation Board, as well as the Library's motion-picture staff. The Librarian urges the public to make nominations for next year's registry at the Film Board's website ("

Descriptions from the Library of Congress announcement except where indicated.

The Sex Life of the Polyp (Thomas Chalmers, Robert Benchley, 1928, 11 min., selected in 2007)
A short film written and performed by Robert Benchley, based on a routine he first did in 1922. The short, which was adapted from an essay by Benchley, documents a dim-witted doctor attempting to discuss the sex life of a polyp to a women's club. This was the second of Benchley's 46 comedy short films. The film was made in the then-new Fox Movietone sound-on-film process.

Quasi at the Quackadero (Sally Cruikshank, 1975, 10 min., color, selected in 2009)
"Quasi at the Quackadero" has earned the term "unique." Once described as a "mixture of 1930s Van Beuren cartoons and 1960s R. Crumb comics with a dash of Sam Flax," and a descendent of the "Depression-era funny animal cartoon," Sally Cruikshank's wildly imaginative tale of odd creatures visiting a psychedelic amusement park careens creatively from strange to truly wacky scenes. It became a favorite of the Midnight Movie circuit in the 1970s. Cruikshank later created animation sequences for "Sesame Street," the 1986 film "Ruthless People" and the "Cartoon Land" sequence in the 1983 film "Twilight Zone: The Movie."
Sally Cruikshank's website:

Disneyland Dream (Robbins Barstow, 1956, 34 min., selected in 2008)
The Barstow family films a memorable home movie of their trip to Disneyland. Robbins and Meg Barstow, along with their children Mary, David and Daniel were among 25 families who won a free trip to the newly opened Disneyland in Anaheim, Calif., as part of a "Scotch Brand Cellophane Tape" contest sponsored by 3M. Through vivid color and droll narration ("The landscape was very different from back home in Connecticut"), we see a fantastic historical snapshot of Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Catalina Island, Knott's Berry Farm, Universal Studios and Disneyland in mid-1956. Home movies have assumed a rapidly increasing importance in American cultural studies as they provide a priceless and authentic record of time and place.

The Lead Shoes (Sydney Peterson, 1949, 18 minutes, 16mm, b&w, selected in 2009)
"THE LEAD SHOES issued almost totally without flaw ...." - Parker Tyler
"The Lead Shoes" is a dreamlike trance showing the unconscious acts of a disturbed mind through a distorted lens and other abstract visual techniques (such as reverse and stop motion). "Narrative succumbs to the comic devices of inconsequence and illogic," said writer and independent filmmaker Sidney Peterson of his film. Peterson is considered the father of San Francisco avant-garde cinema.

Glimpse of the Garden (Marie Menken, 1957, 5 min., color, sound, selected in 2007)
Soundtrack: birdsong "A lyric, tender, intensely subjective exploration of a flower garden, with extreme magnification, flashing color harmonies." -- Cinema 16 "She deserves the order of the square halo, first class, with harps in diamonds." -- Dwight Ripley (Film-makers Coop)

The Red Book (Janie Geiser, 1994, 11 minutes, 16mm, color, selected in 2009)
Sound design by Beo Morales, engineered at Harmonic Ranch.
Renowned experimental filmmaker and theater/installation artist Janie Geiser's work is known for its ambiguity, explorations of memory and emotional states and exceptional design. She describes "The Red Book" as "an elliptical, pictographic animated film that uses flat, painted figures and collage elements in both two and three dimensional settings to explore the realms of memory, language and identity from the point of view of a woman amnesiac."
Print from Janie Geiser The Red Book was shown as part of the 1996 New Directors / New Films Festival at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. The New York Times critic Caryn James wrote: "The Red Book (is) Janie Geiser's beautifully mysterious, animated short. Images appear as in a graceful collage: glimpses of words are written in white vanishing ink; a woman is drawn in outline, as if she were a paper doll made of red construction paper. Everything is red, white, black, or gray in this smashing little film, which has graphic flair and a surrealist edge."
Fred Camper on Janie Geiser and The Red Book:

Scratch and Crow (Helen Hill, 1995, 10 min., 16mm, color, selected in 2009)
Helen Hill's student film was made at the California Institute of the Arts. Consistent with the short films she made from age 11 until her death at 36, this animated short work is filled with vivid color and a light sense of humor. It is also a poetic and spiritual homage to animals and the human soul.
The Helen Hill Collection at Harvard Film Archive:

Think of Me First as a Person (George Ingmire & Dwight Core, Sr., 1960-75, 8 min., selected in 2006)
"Think of Me First as a Person" is an astonishing discovery from the Center for Home Movies and its annual Home Movie Day, where once a year people in cities across the nation bring their home movies to screen. This loving portrait by a father of his son with Down syndrome represents the creativity and craftsmanship of the American amateur filmmaker.

For the screenings at the Egyptian Theater:
Parking is now easiest at the Hollywood & Highland complex. Bring your ticket for validation. Parking is $2 for 4 hours with validation. Enter that complex on Highland or Hollywood. The theater is 1.5 blocks east.

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