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Selections from FILM CULTURE Magazine (1955-1996)

(Presented in partnership with Anthology Film Archives)

Rudolf Arnheim "Art Today and the Film" (1966)
Rudolf Arnheim "Who Is the Author of a Film?" (1958)
Francois and André Berge "An Interview with Blaise Cendrars on the Cinema" (1976)
Luis Buñuel "A Statement" (1960)
Guy L. Coté "Interview with Robert Breer" (1962/63)
Jerome Hill "Brakhage and Rilke" (1965)
Jerome Hill and Guy Davenport "Stan Brakhage and His Songs" (1966)
Ken Kelman "Film As Poetry" (1973)
Richard Leacock "For an Uncontrolled Cinema" (1961)
Charles Levine "Interview with Robert Breer" (1973)
Willard Maas "Poetry and the Film: A Symposium" (1963)
Taylor Mead "The Movies Are A Revolution" (1963)
Martha Merrill "Black Panthers in the New Wave" (1972)
Walter S. Michel "In Memoriam Of Dimitri Kirsanov, A Neglected Master" (1957)
Toby Mussman "Early Surrealist Expression in the Film" (1966)
Ron Rice "Dazendada Works" (1965)
Ron Rice "Foundation for the Invention and Creation of Absurd Movies" [PDF]
Mark Segal "Hollis Frampton/"Zorns Lemma" (1971)
Gregory Springer "New Improved George Landow Interview" (1976)
Donald Sutherland "A Note on Stan Brakhage" (1962)
Parker Tyler "Stan Brakhage" (1958)
Parker Tyler "Declamation on Film" (1961)
WFUV Radio Symposium "On the Nature and Function of the Experimental (Poetic) Film" (1957)

Founded in 1954 by Jonas and Adolfas Mekas, the New York-based magazine FILM CULTURE began by covering Hollywood cinema and evolved into the primary voice of independent and avant-garde cinema with a total of 79 issues spanning the years 1955-1996. With regular contributions from critics and filmmakers like P. Adams Sitney, Stan Brakhage, Andrew Sarris, Parker Tyler and Jerome Hill (some of whom would go on to found Anthology Film Archives, which opened in 1970), FILM CULTURE served as a forum for the New American Cinema, discussing the works of pioneering filmmakers like Maya Deren, Ron Rice and Paul Sharits, and providing important context for largely unseen films through its essays on film history, contemporary art and poetry.

Though the list of FILM CULTURE contributors is extremely diverse, most of its writers shared a belief in the poetic and painterly possibilities of the film medium, defining cinema in lyrical or abstract terms rather than the narrative form adopted from the theater and the novel. The critics and directors looked to innovations from artists across media, discussing abstract expressionism, Beat literature, Pop Art, Fluxus and other significant art movements over the magazine's four-decade span.

Many of FILM CULTURE's articles are now considered landmark pieces of film theory, from P. Adams Sitney's essay on "Structural Film" to Stan Brakhage's "Metaphors on Vision." The twenty-three articles collected here represent a small, but varied handful of the magazine's output. There are art-historical pieces, reportage pieces, interviews, symposiums, reflections and manifestos. A few discuss the historical European avant-garde, like Walter S. Michel's memoriam for Dimitri Kirsanov and Toby Mussman's overview of Surrealist cinema. A few work toward defining the New American Cinema, its precedents and its goals, among them a radio symposium "On the Nature and Function of the Experimental (Poetic) Film" and a conference which features Arthur Miller and Dylan Thomas beside Maya Deren and Parker Tyler. A few question the conventional uses of sound in film, like Mark Segal's discussion of Hollis Frampton and Ricky Leacock's call "For an Uncontrolled Cinema."

Taylor Mead, poet and star-actor of Ron Rice's films, provides the magazine's one universal credo: "The movies are a revolution."

Kareem Estefan
New York City
September, 2007

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