The Films of Kurt Kren

Kurt Kren in Person!

“Called by some ‘the father of European avant-garde film,' Austrian filmmaker Kurt Kren has been making films since the 1950s. Kren's films have greatly influenced many other European film artists. Filmmakers Malcolm Le Grice, Werner Nekes, and Birgit and Wilhelm Hein are quick to acknowledge Kren's importance in shaping the course of the contemporary European film movement.
“Kren has managed to make his films on the most limited of all filmmakers' budgets. His 38 films are all short, ranging from 10 minutes down to 6 seconds, and since Kren edits the majority of his films in the camera, the final film and the original stock are equal lengths: there is no waste. Kren plans many of his films in such detail that he outlines designs for each individual frame before shooting. In this way Kren creates visual rhythms much as a musical composer creates aural ones.
“In some of Kren's most recent films he has put one or more rolls of film repeatedly through his camera, each time systematically exposing different combined portions of the film. The final developed films are ones with changing layers of exposures. Asyl stands out as especially striking in this way. For this film Kren made 21 masks, each one with five rectangular windows, to cover his camera's lens. With his camera fixed in the same position, focused on a country landscape, each day for 21 consecutive spring days Kren shot the same three rolls of film, each day using a different lens mask. Following a designed plan, each day different parts of the film were shot with the day's mask while the shutter was entirely closed for other footage. In the completed film portions of the landscape glow and glitter as the 21 days are fused together.
“Tonight's program, while including a sampling of Kren's early films, will focus primarily on his last six years' work. Included are films that were temporarily confiscated by a priggish German DA and thus unavailable during Kren's show at PFA in April of '78.”

Tonight's films will include Co-op Cinema Amsterdam (1973, 4 mins); Asyl (1975, 9 mins); Keine Donau (1976, 9 mins); Rischart (1978, 3 mins); Tree Again (1978, 4 mins); Sentimental Punk (1979, 4 mins); and others.

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