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Impressions Gallery

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Bradford International Film Festival - Amos Vogel Part 2: Film as a Subversive Art

Friday 25 March 2011, 7.00pm to 9.00pm

The second programme of films celebrating the work of Amos Vogel takes inspiration from his 1974 alternative film history, Film as a Subversive Art and his second great contribution to film history.

Having established the importance of experimental film with his Cinema 16 club, Vogel embarked on a book to celebrate the subversion of existing values by film: “potentially the most powerful art of the century”. Vogel’s film-philosophy was published in book form in 1974 and has become a classic of film writing.

The point of Film as a Subversive Art was to celebrate the taboo in cinema and so, mindful of Vogel’s principles, this programme selected by Dr Mark Goodall (University of Bradford, Guest Programmer BIFF) attempts to locate contemporary examples of such work.

"It is increasingly hard to find films that assault – in a subversive way – the sensibilities of 21st century audiences desensitised as they are by highly stylised violence, a weak political awareness and plastic sex. Vogel ends Film as a Subversive Art with a proposal 'towards a new consciousness'. It is this need for perpetual subversion that this short programme aims to promote."
Dr Mark Goodall.

Programme - Amos Vogel Part 2: Film as a Subversive Art

Introduction by Dr Mark Goodall

Dir. Edouard Salier France 2005 10 mins DVD

This technically brilliant and disturbing film explores the fetishistic nature of capitalist relations and the lust and desire contained within both imperial power and its enemies. Sexualised images are projected onto the New York skyline before it is spectacularly destroyed. In Flesh the slick presentation (reminiscent of a music video) hides a bitter critique of capitalist objectification and thereby employs classic subversive tactics.

Il Strategio Del Ragno
Dir. Aryan Kaganof South Africa 2009 6 mins DVD

The Spider’s Stratagem was the title of Bernardo Bertolucci’s 1970 cinematic tone poem. This simple and poetic film by South Africa’s foremost experimental filmmaker is a meditation on the nature of contemporary lived experience. A spider nestles immobile and seemingly safe within its web. At the end of the film a man is seen pleading to be released from the trauma of the world. Kaganof’s film is itself a tone poem responding as it is to the haunting piano music of Michael Blake. Perhaps the spider is not safe after all...

The Bowl
Dir. Peter Ward GB 2008 80 mins DVD

The Bowl is a documentary film about Bradford but like none you have ever seen. The directors of the film have scoured this once great industrial landscape (now designated a ‘UNESCO City of Film’) in search of the garish oddities, unpleasant people and idiotic activities that make up 21st Century human life. While British documentary films recording the seedy underbelly of our capital city are now available on pristine DVD, The Bowl turns our attention towards the grim reality of the provinces. But unlike films about glamorous locations, where the new world thrusts and preens its modernity, The Bowl depicts the sadness inherent in the human condition. It’s not all gloom though. For example, earlier films were in awe of the destructive power of the automobile and of the crazed behaviour of drivers. In The Bowl the good citizens of this Yorkshire city are instead trying to save the world from too-fast driving and speed camera abuse. Is The Bowl - as ‘Pierce Brosnan’ wonders at the end- real? As Shakespeare once noted: “there are more things in heaven and earth and between sunset and dawn than are dreamt of in your philosophy”. Put another way: “there’s nowt so queer as folk”.

We will be joined by director Peter Ward for a post-screening Q+A

Booking Information

Tickets £5.00/£4.00 concessions. Booking advised as places are limited.
For advance tickets visit the Bradford International Film Festival website or tickets can be bought on the day of the screening from the Welcome Desk at Impressions Gallery. Drop in or call 01274 737843.

Other screenings showing as part of the tribute to Amos Vogel

Film as a Subversive Art: Amos Vogel and Cinema 16
At the National Media Museum, Thursday 17 March 2011, 4.00pm

This documentary by Paul Cronin looks back at Vogel's work and points to a fascinating ferment in film history, when the burgeoning underground began to take shape and spread outwards, forging new paths in film culture.
Click here to read more

Amos Vogel Part 1: Cinema 16
At Impressions Gallery, Friday 18 March 7.00pm to 9.00pm

The first of the programmes celebrating Vogel's work is a selection of the films discovered at Cinema 16, his seminal 1950s New York film society where he championed the new and the subervise in film. Including films by Kenneth Anger, Georges Franju and Maya Deren. With introduction from Tom Vincent (Festival Programmer BIFF).
Click here to read more.

Amos Vogel

Amos Vogel