The Academy Film Archive's restoration of David Rimmer's Canadian avant-garde classic Variations on a Cellophane Wrapper anchors the first programme of Wavelengths 2013, which also features new works by Luther Price, Kenneth Anger, Andrew Lampert and Scott Stark.
Wavelengths 1: Variations On...
We are honoured to launch Wavelengths '13 with the world premiere of the Academy Film Archive's new restoration of Variations on a Cellophane Wrapper, David Rimmer's 1970 classic of the Canadian avant-garde. Opening with a fragment of a female factory worker as she unravels a sheet of cellophane that then morphs into a mesmerizing wave of spectral apparitions and alchemical and sonic permutations, Variations perfectly sets the tone for this program of cinematic deviations. With Pop Takes, Luther Price transforms a terrific thrift-store find into a reflexive Warholian catwalk upon which twirling women and jaunty men sashay with decadent, late-seventies zeal, the film's coarse optical sound and images in negative creating a strange dissonance with the poppy polka-dotted scene. Kenneth Anger's Airship series consists of three short films that exhume newsreel footage of mighty dirigibles hovering ominously in the sky, the filmmaker's characteristic fusion of magick, symbolism, mystery, and myth — as well as the opulent use of colour and, in the first film, anaglyph 3D — imbuing the already incredible footage with an eerie, supernatural quality.
In El Adios Largos, artist-archivist Andrew Lampert undertakes a speculative, restoration of Robert Altman's The Long Goodbye based on the premise that the film's negative has been lost and the sole surviving print is incorrect in every way: 16mm rather than 35mm, black and white instead of Technicolor, and dubbed into Spanish. (N.B. proper prints and a negative do exist, just not in Lampert's possession!) With dubious methods used to achieve authenticity, El Adios Largos is at once an uncanny aesthetic experience and a playful exploration of the philosophical conundrums involved for those working to preserve film history for generations to come.
Finally, Scott Stark leads us through
a dizzying array of consumerist goods in
his stereoscopic mannequin melodrama
The Realist. Composed of flickering still
images, this entrancing romp conjures
retail worlds both familiar and strange,
in which chiselled mannequins may
in fact be communing with each other
amid the overwhelming array of apparel.
Whether viewed as consumerist critique or
spellbinding, operatic fantasy, The Realist
employs a deft binary structure that skews
toward the metaphysical.