24-25 March 2009
Old Mining Building
Room G19 (ground floor)
University of Leeds
Free admission (detailed screening hours on the conference general programme)
The wall (Alan Parker, 1982) 95′
The story of The wall is told simply with the music of Pink Floyd, images and natural effects. There is no conventional dialogue to progress the narrative. Our story is about Pink, a Rock and Roll performer, who sits locked in a hotel room, somewhere in Los Angeles. Too many shows, too much dope, too much applause: a burned out case. On the TV, an all too familiar war film flickers on the screen.
We shuffle time and place, reality and nightmare as we venture into Pink’s painful memories, each one a “brick” in the wall he has gradually built around his feelings. Slowly he withdraws from the real world and slips further into his nightmare as he imagines himself as an unfeeling demagogue, for whom all that is left is the demonstration of power over his unthinking audience, the culmination of the odious excesses of his own world and the world around him.
His internal self trial follows , as the witness of his past life, the very people who have contributed to the building of the wall, come forward and testify against him.
Viet Flakes (Carolee Schnemann, 1965) 8′
Viet Flakes was composed from an obsessive collection of Vietnam atrocity images, compiled over five years, from foreign magazines and newspapers. Schneemann uses the 8mm camera to “travel” within the photographs, producing a volatile animation. Broken rhythms and visual fractures are heightened by a sound collage by James Tenney, which features Vietnamese religious chants and secular songs, fragments of Bach, and ’60s pop hits. “One of the most effective indictments of the Vietnam War ever made”.
23 Psalm Branch (Stan Brakhage, 1966-78) 85′
One of experimental great Stan Brakhage¹s best known but least seen films, 23rd Psalm Branch is a feature-length entry in his Songs series. It is both a beautiful, lyrical work and perhaps his most political film.
Brakhage combines his own images of Colorado, found footage of war, and some of his earliest handpainting on film to create a work that is rich with meaning and a key artistic milestone for him. Shot in 8mm and later blown up to 16mm, Song 23 is an extended meditation on war in society, made in response to the war in Vietnam. It is a haunting work, still relevant in it theme and one of Brakhage¹s masterworks. Author P. Adams Sitney wrote that “it is an apocalypse of imagination”.
Plan Rosebud 1 (Maria Ruido, 2008) 113′
Script and Direction: Maria Ruido
Producer: CGAC (Galicien Centre of Contemporary Art)
Plan Rosebud 1 Crime Scene is focused on the recent social debate around the so-called Historic memory act in Spain, and the current relation between the sites of memory and the politics of memory, and the cultural industries, studied in detail, in our case, trough the war tourism and commemorative tourism (that forms the main part of the four scenarios that this first film contains).
This study, as well as he second part of Plan Rosebud 1, is structured into four chapters and three intermissions, and it is not only limited to the Spanish state, and specially to Galicia (the place were I, and the general Franco, were born), but it is presented as a comparative study with the United Kingdom and in general, with the European memory policies after the Second World War. The reason to choose the British state as more significant comparative variable was related to the fact that it is a well established European democracy with a completely different past from the one we have inherited from the Franco dictatorship and, nonetheless, as we discovered throughout the process, with much more similar dynamics than expected in terms of the links between cultural industries and memory, (an unstoppable and supra-estate phenomenon due to the economic globalisation) and also with politics of memory equally selective in relation to episodes that may contradict or question the compact and linear heroic narratives that are transmitted by the state or the media (I am referring, for example, to the low impact of the research about the German and Italian prisoner camps in the United Kingdom until very recently).