Crossroads: Avant-Garde Films from Pittsburgh

Tonight's program is presented in conjunction with the publication of Crossroads: Avant-Garde Film in Pittsburgh in the 1970s by Robert Haller, who was our guest last November. The program is drawn from a series Haller curated at Anthology Film Archives in New York. In a review of that presentation, Village Voice critic Ed Halter noted that “Pittsburgh's own (filmmakers) provide the true revelations” of an “expertly programmed series.” Haller writes, “The films range from the pure formalism of Victor Grauer's flicker movie Archangel (1966, 10 mins, Silent), to Sheila Chamovitz's fearless confrontations with American Nazis in her 1979 Skokie: Rights or Wrong (28 mins). Stephanie Beroes's archaeological The American Mutoscope Company (1975, 12 mins) returns to the origins of the movies. Roger Jacoby's Futurist Song (7 mins, Silent), completed in 1969 but preserved in Pittsburgh in 1972, is made from overlapping, off-center pieces of celluloid film. In Beroes's Valley Fever (1979, 25 mins, B&W, From Canyon Cinema) discordant male and female voices accompany striking, sensuous images. James Thomas Vale's Evel Knievel/The Leader of the Pack (1974, 6 mins) not only includes George Hamilton as Knievel, but lays a new soundtrack on the Hollywood film. Leo Vale's 9-10 (1972, made with Robert Haller, 5 mins, Silent, B&W) transforms a model into a terrain of mathematical planes and convex surfaces.”

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