12/19/17 // Myth, Folklore, and Proverb

Tuesday, December 19th, 2017
Artists’ Television Access
992 Valencia Street, San Francisco
$7.00 – $10.00 sliding scale
Facebook Event

Myth, Folklore, Proverb

Curated by Mark Wilson

A Biography of Lilith by Lynne Sachs (1997, 35 min, color)

In a lively mix of off-beat narrative, collage and memoir, A Biography of Lilith updates the creation myth by telling the story of the first woman and for some, the first feminist. Lilith’s betrayal by Adam in Eden and subsequent vow of revenge is recast as a modern tale with present-day Lilith (Cherie Wallace) musing on a life that has included giving up a baby for adoption and work as a bar dancer. Interweaving mystical texts from Jewish folklore with interviews, music and poetry, Sachs reclaims this cabalistic parable to frame her own role as a mother. With music by Pamela Z and Charming Hostess (Jewlia Eisenberg and Carla Kielstadt).

Horse/Kappa/House by Abraham Ravett (1995, 33 min, color/b&w)

Iwate Prefecture in northeastern Japan is the setting for The Legends of Tono (Tōno Monogatari), a unique collection of regional folk tales, gathered in the early 20th Century by Kunio Yanagita. The tales manifest and explain invisible forces and malevolent events which shape the psycho-cultural dimensions of Japanese indigenous beliefs and folk faith.

Inspired by The Legends of Tono, Horse/Kappa/House records the surrounding landscape in a number of small villages throughout Iwante Prefecture in order to create a cinematic space which echoes by implication and association, the external and unseen world in the environment. The film embodies the idea so eloquently stated by noted historian, Mr. Umehara Takeshi, that “all living things—animals and plants, as well as mountains, rivers, and other natural phenomena have spirits and that these spirits are constantly moving back and forth between Heaven and this world, forming the basis of the Japanese ethos.”

The form of the film was shaped in the editing and post-production process, as Ravett sought to embody the ephemeral into material form. He utilized a combination of time lapse cinematography, animation, optical printing and intertitles to provide a context for a broader understanding of the legends. The audio track—a conbination of indigenous sounds, field recordings of religious ceremonies, plus Komori Uta (lullabies) chanted by Aba Yae, a renowned singer and local farmer, adds a haunting, emotionally charged layer of meaning to the visual tapestry. For example, Dendera Field, seen today as a lovely pastoral landscape, was historically the site where children abandoned elderly parents who were seen as no longer productive. Framed by the sounds of birds chirping, the long, timelapse view of Dendrea Field is presented as a space of loss, memory, and collective history.

Cooperation of Parts by Daniel Eisenberg (1987, 42 min, color)

“Cooperation Of Parts is not a literal documentary or narrative but a complex poetic text that constructs a dialogue with history through written and spoken statements and an inquiring camera. The film looks at the past through historical monuments and juxtaposes these shots with scenes of daily life in the cities of Eastern Europe. It fuses the personal diary tradition with the formal concerns of conceptual cinema to vividly present the towns in Poland that Eisenberg visited, towns that offer mute testimony of the concentration camps where his family was destroyed. This is a moving and compelling self-portrait created through the vision of the present and the memory of the culture, places, and people of the past.” – John Hanhardt, Whitney Biennial Catalogue, 1989

Canyon Cinema is thankful for the long term support of the George Lucas Family Foundation. Dedicated project funding for Canyon Cinema 50 has been generously provided by the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, National Endowment for the Arts, Owsley Brown III Foundation, Phyllis C. Wattis Foundation and The Fleishhacker Foundation.