Over the coming days, Cinema Project welcomes experimental filmmaker Saul Levine to town for a two-night presentation of his unique, mostly analog-based film work. Dubbed The Super-8 Dreams of Saul Levine, the program's title is rather apt, as the pieces I've been fortunate enough to view have the feel of subconscious narratives arrived at during slumber; Levine's editing style operates in an additive mode, exposing and/or building connections instead of being purposed primarily toward erecting rhythms. Levine points to his exposure to Maya Deren and Viking Eggling's work as a freeing moment, one that helped him stop "making editing decisions based on story and start making them based on shape, memory, and association."
No matter how he reached the underlying principles that inform those editing choices, he's created an impressive body of mysteriously associative work in his decades long dedication to experimental form. At this week's event, Levine and Cinema Project will be highlighting over twenty works (each night is an entirely different set of films) and that doesn't even begin to cover his full output. I've embedded three of Levine's works below, none of which are a part of The Super-8 Dreams of Saul Levine. Why not check those out for a small inkling of what to expect at Monday and Tuesday's retrospective.
And what might the organizers of Cinema Project have to say about their booking? Let's see:
Saul Levine has been making films for over 35 years, most of them in the small-guage formats of 8mm and Super8mm. His films record the extraordinary in the ordinary, making timeless images from daily events. His parents become your parents, a couple walking on the beach could be any couple, from any time. The intensive editing process provides a rhythm that gives even the silent films a sense of sound, while the sound films become masterpieces of noise and light. In Notes of an Early Fall, a melted record skips on the turntable providing the beat for a jumble of shots that in the end finds unity. Splice tape is a texture on the film landscape, lengthening and defining the time between shots, many of which are single frames.
The Notes series celebrates the breathtaking beauty of daily life: children playing in the snow, romance in the afternoon light, a joke told in Hebrew, smoke curling in front of an open window. Note to Colleen cuts so quickly between the faces of people having their portraits drawn on the street and the portrait being drawn that the two become indistinguishable. His Light Licks series is a more formal tampering with the film frame and the relationship between space and image, light and darkness. Over two nights, Cinema Project shows a broad sweep of Levine’s work, from the 1960s to current films, to highlight his important and ongoing contributions to the American avant-garde.
Cinema Project presents The Super-8 Dreams of Saul Levine on Monday, November 12th and Tuesday, November 13th at 7:30pm. More info on the program available here.
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