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A Glance at First Look: Overlooked Essentials in the Museum of the Moving Image's New International ShowcaseBy Anna Bak-Kvapil
As blessed as New York filmgoers are, each year a legion of excellent films that are feted at Cannes, Venice, Locarno, Toronto, and Berlin somehow never make it here. First Look, a new showcase at the Museum of the Moving Image, attempts to fill in the gaps that other festivals and series in town have neglected.
Between the gap that once separated the mundane and the minute from the important and the serious there now exists a type of aesthetic experience that forms the link between them; art, under these circumstances, and within the purview of these films, becomes a peculiar form of psychotherapy.
George Kuchar (19422011) was one of the most creative, original, and influential filmmakers of our time, straddling two generations of North American iconoclasts, from Stan Brakhage, Ken Jacobs, Rudy Burckhardt, Kenneth Anger, and Michael Snow to Warren Sonbert, Ernie Gehr, Abigail Child, and Henry Hills.
Jordan Belson died in September at the age of 85. In his later years, Belson was an intensely private, almost hermetic, figure. The 30 films he made as an independent, artisanal filmmaker are suffused with mystery, navigating inner and outer spaces via slowly mounting flames of deliquescent light, shimmering starfields, and rainstorms of color.
The Born For cycle has been described by film scholar P. Adams Sitney as one of the most important and original sequences in the American avant-garde.
Pop Arts not remembered for landscapes, but Roy Lichtenstein made a number of them. Most famous are his sunrises, which use the bold and grotesquely simplified shapes of comic book abstraction to render nature a collection of easily legible glyphs.