Saturday, June 21, 2014 at 7pm
A Conversation with Jean-Pierre Gorin
155 Freeman Street, Brooklyn
“How on earth did this Sorbonne-educated son of Jewish Trotskyites, onetime student of Althusser, Lacan, and Foucault, pre-1968 Marxist firebrand and partner in crime of Jean-Luc Godard wind up in Greater San Diego making these peculiarly all-American movies?” - Kent Jones
Light Industry hosts a conversation with Jean-Pierre Gorin, one of cinema’s most erudite and incisive figures. Gorin began his career in filmmaking by advising Jean-Luc Godard on La Chinoise (1967) and Le Gai savoir (1968), but soon rose to international prominence after forming the Dziga Vertov Group with Godard in ‘68. Foregoing singular authorship, the collective produced a series of formally radical and politically uncompromising works, stretching from Un Film comme les autres (1968) to Letter to Jane (1972), that rethought Brechtian technique on cinematic terms and considered the situation in Europe and the US during the revolutions of the late 60s and their aftermath.
After the dissolution of the Dziga Vertov Group in 1973, Gorin relocated to San Diego, and has since largely worked solo. Among his best-known projects is a trilogy shot in Southern California: Poto and Cabengo (1980), a film made “around” the topic of a pair of twin children who share a private language; Routine Pleasures (1986), which braids the devotional habits of model train enthusiasts together with Gorin’s musings on critic, painter, and longtime friend Manny Farber; and My Crasy Life (1992), a criss-cross of fiction and documentary made in the homes and hangouts of young Samoan-American gangbangers. These three works cemented Gorin’s reputation as a central practitioner of the essay film. Indeed, “The Way of the Termite,” a series the filmmaker organized for the Austrian Film Museum in conjunction with his retrospective at the 2007 Viennale, was a peerlessly expansive consideration of that elusive genre. In his notes for the program, Gorin suggests a tentative definition of the essay film as ”the meandering of an intelligence that tries to multiply the entries and the exits into the material it has elected (or has been elected by). It is surplus, drifts, ruptures, ellipses, and double-backs. It is, in a word, thought, but because it is film it is thought that turns to emotion and back to thought.”
Tonight’s event will offer a rare opportunity for Gorin to discuss his own films at length as well as a chance to talk about subjects adjacent to them, such as his long and influential teaching career at UCSD (where his lectures are legendary), and two fascinating yet unrealized projects—his lost first feature, L’Ailleurs immédiat, melted down for its silver by a desperate producer, and his work with Philip K. Dick on a screen adaptation of Ubik. Other possible topics include but are not limited to: music theory, George Bataille, Apocalypse Now, and Bugs Bunny.
Please note: seating is limited. First-come, first-served. Box office opens at 6:30pm.