White Light Cinema Presents

Seasons with Stan - An Evening with Phil Solomon
Filmmaker Phil Solomon in Person!

Saturday, October 11, 2008 - 8:00pm

At The Nightingale (1084 N. Milwaukee Ave.)

Co-Presented by The Nightingale

White Light Cinema and The Nightingale are extremely excited to host Boulder, Colorado-based filmmaker Phil Solomon, who will be presenting a very special program about his collaborations and friendship with Stan Brakhage. In addition to films Solomon and Brakhage made together and a few solo-Brakhage films, Solomon will also be sharing some tantalizing rarities.

Since the late 1970's, Solomon has been crafting visually stunning works, first in 16mm and now in digital video. His early films were mesmerizing tactile landscapes of crackled emulsion, which complimented the complicated nostalgic tone of his imagery. A sense of longing and inevitable decay gave his work a distinct and unique voice in avant-garde cinema. More recently, Solomon has been mining the rich and evocative images found in the Grand Theft Auto video game series, by-passing the violence of the originals to create mournful eulogies for an end time. Solomon teaches at the University of Colorado-Boulder, where he worked alongside the master experimental filmmaker Stan Brakhage. The two developed a deep friendship and influenced each other's work; they also collaborated on several films.

Solomon's program tonight is presented in the spirit of Brakhage's legendary salon screenings, where a small group would gather in an intimate space to share in a love for film and in honor of the city where Brakhage spent a large part of his life teaching - at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

The program will include (with other unannounced items):

(1998, 16 mins., 16mm) by Phil Solomon and Stan Brakhage
Brakhage's extraordinary hand carvings into the film emulsion illuminated and textured by Solomon's lighting, inspired by the woodcuts of Hiroshige. A subset of Brakhage's larger umbrella work entitled "...".

Concrescence (1996, 3 mins., 16mm) by Phil Solomon and Stan Brakhage
A hand-painted and step-printed abstract work.

Rocket Boy vs Brakhage (1973-1988, 30 mins., 16mm on digital video) by Phil Solomon
Solomon's infamous and rarely screened found footage film.
"Then an interesting thing in America also happened to me because I was very much suppressed by the hovering over me of the great old geniuses...I mean when you grow up in Vienna and you touch the piano and they say, 'WHAT!!? There has been Haydn, Beethoven, Mozart, Schubert and so on - and so let's see what you can do!' And then you fall down and, this is for example because I didn't become a musician, also...You are just crushed by this past. And this is a general European situation in any field, that the past crushes you, and then you start to hate it. And I mean I hated Beethoven passionately, Mozart and all these...and then to in order to free myself, you see, I made long lists...and then I had some people which I've always loved, such as Bach. But in order to make myself even, make it possible to live for myself and to sing and so I made once a whole chart where I gave Bach all the bad names which, uh: BACH, YOU SWINE! BACH, YOU LIAR! And I wrote up all this complex information of Bach - although I knew it was not true, I mean I didn't think that Bach was a liar - but just to see him humiliated a little bit would make him less destructive for me, see?" - Peter Kubelka, Harpur College, SUNY Binghamton, 1974

Chartres Series (1994, 9 mins., 16mm) by Stan Brakhage
"A year and a half ago the filmmaker Nick Dorsky, hearing I was going to France, insisted I must see the Chartres Cathedral. I, who had studied picture books of its great stained-glass windows, sculpture and architecture for years, having also read Henry Adams' great book three times, willingly complied and had an experience of several hours (in the discreet company of French filmmaker Jean-Michele Bouhours) which surely transformed my aesthetics more than any other single experience. Then Marilyn's sister died; and I, who could not attend the funeral, sat down alone and began painting on film one day, this death in mind ... Chartres in mind. Eight months later the painting was completed on four little films which comprise a suite in homage to Chartres and dedicated to Wendy Jull." (SB)

Stellar (1993, 3 mins., 16mm) by Stan Brakhage
"This is a hand-painted film which has been photographically step-printed to achieve various effects of brief fades and fluidity-of-motion, and makes partial use of painted frames in repetition (for "close-up" of textures). The tone of the film is primarily dark blue, and the paint is composed (and rephotographed microscopically) to suggest galactic forms in a space of stars." (SB)

Plus rare footage of Brakhage at work:
Painting downtown (mini dv)
Editing Elementary Phrases with clips (mini dv)

And even rarer footage and audio of Brakhage:
Audio of Stan singing as boy soprano (disc)
Audio of Brakhage at Binghamton, circa 1973 (mini dv)
Video clip compilation from the Sunday salons (mini dv)
Home video excerpts (mini dv)

Admission: $7.00-10.00 sliding scale



The screening was modified slightly. Here is the actual list of works presented (rough order):

Audio of Brakhage at Binghamton, circa 1973 (from mini dv)

Rocket Boy vs. Brakhage (Super-8mm/16mm on mini dv)

footage of Brakhage painting film in a sports bar (video)

approx. six minute excerpt from Elementary Phrases (16mm)

footage of Brakhage and Solomon editing Elementary Phrases (video)

Concressence (16mm)

Seasons... (16mm)

Chartres Series (16mm)

footage of Brakhage editing Panels for the Walls of Heaven and talking to Solomon (video)

Audio of Brakhage as a boy soprano singing "When You Wish Upon a Star) (CD)

Stellar (16mm)


Solomon will also be presenting two different programs of his own work at:

The Conversations at the Edge series at the Gene Siskel Film Center (Thursday, October 9) - see here.

The Film Studies Center at the University of Chicago (Friday, October 10) - see here.