Making History in Avant-Garde Film

Introduction and Booksigning by Jeffrey Skoller

To mark the publication of newly appointed UC Berkeley film professor Jeffrey Skoller's Shadows, Specters, Shards: Making History in Avant-Garde Film, we present two films discussed in the book, Ernie Gehr's Eureka (U.S., 1974, 30 mins, Silent, B&W, From Canyon Cinema) and El Día Que Me Quieras (The Day You'll Love Me) by Leandro Katz (U.S./Argentina, 1998, 30 mins, Color, From the artist). Both use rephotography as a means of meditating on history. Gehr describes his film: “This is a refilming of a remarkable movie depicting Market Street, San Francisco, around the turn of the century. The original film consisted of one long continuous take recorded from the front of a moving trolley from approximately Seventh Street all the way to the Embarcadero. . . . I tend to see what I did, in part, as the work of an archaeologist, resurrecting an old film as well as the shadows and forces of another era.” Also working in an archaeological mode, Leandro Katz takes as his focus the infamous photo of Che Guevara after his capture and death in Bolivia in 1967. Drawing on an interview with the photographer, Freddy Alborta, Katz both deconstructs the photograph and places it in the context of Latin American history.

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