Tuesday, March 2, 2010 at 7:30pm
Jeff Keen + White Zombie

177 Livingston Street, Brooklyn - PLEASE NOTE NEW ADDRESS

Curated by Ben Rivers

Artist Ben Rivers presents a double-bill featuring films by Jeff Keen--hero of British underground cinema--and dreamy Bela Lugosi vehicle White Zombie, described by Keen as "possibly the most beautiful film ever."


Not long after we started Brighton Cinematheque in 1996, we came across long-term Brightonian Jeff Keen--and after that we used to do at least one show with him a year - explosive shows where he would set up as many projectors as possible, so by the end of the night we would be running an incredible number of super-8, 16mm, and whatever else projectors simultaneously, spilling way over the Cinemascope screen in a cacophonous dirge of white noise and image. I love Jeff Keen - he's a film wizard! - BR

Titles to be shown, among others:

Marvo Movie, 16mm, 1967, 5 mins
Movie wizard initiates shatter brain experiment Eeeow! - the fastest movie firm alive - at 24 or 16 f.p.s. even the mind trembles-splice up sequence 2-flix unlimited, an inside yr very head the images explode-last years models new houses and such terrific death scenes while the time and space operator attacks the brain via the optic nerve-will the operation succeed-will the white saint reach in time the staircase now alive with blood-only time will tell says the movie master-meanwhile deep inside the space museum. - Raymond Durgnat

Cineblatz, 16mm, 1967, 3 mins
Sculpted radio static washes over a rush of animated superheroes, advertisements and even the House of Lords. More than twenty discrete bright animations in less than three minutes. - BFI

Meatdaze, 16mm, 1968, 10 mins
With Meatdaze, Jeff Keen tried to create a full cinema programme all in one film. He divided it into six sections, of which three main parts can be discerned: rapid animations (the cartoons of the programme), naked people at play (the supporting feature) and finally a collage of action and superimposition (the main feature). The whole film is married to a sequence of library film music, evoking classic cinema themes which in turn lead us to attempt to transform the variety of fractured sequences into some kind of overarching narrative. - William Fowler

White Lite, 16mm, 1968, 3 mins
Meet Anti-Matter Man and the Bride of the Atom in this surreal and psychedelic B-movie homage. A half-naked woman undergoes a strange inner journey that leads us through a barrage of film noise to exotic images of stuffed bats. - BFI

White Dust, 16mm, 1970-72, 33 mins
Jeff Keen's White Dust is an extended celebration of those moments at which the fragments in a collage coalesce into narrative and disperse again. The film is formulated as a (very accomplished) homage to vintage movie serials, a form with very specific, very idiosyncratic narrative conventions: strict alternation of confrontations and linking sequences, regular cliff-hanging climaxes, unexplained 'gaps' and so on. These conventions are observed, but the filmmaker uses collage as his starting point rather than narrative as such. Elements of parody and satire do not camouflage the essentially surrealist subversion that results: a particularly despised form of 'lowbrow' cinema is elevated to the status of a formal model, and a great spiritual fidelity to this model produces what can only be described as a 'collage-narrative', whose flaws, elisions and mistakes are completely integral. - Tony Rayns


White Zombie, Victor Halperin, 16mm, 1932, 67 mins

White Zombie is only superficially concerned with voodooism. The concept at the heart of the movie belongs to the timeless tradition of sleeping princesses, evil necromancers, and benign wizards...The film's costumes and set are also properly stylized: the heroine in her shround-long wedding gown, Lugosi in his somberest formal wear, while his mountain-top castle seems to come all intact out of a Gustave Doré engraving. In conception and execution, the movie is the superior of Dracula, although it was made on a much smaller budget. While Tod Browning's film about the bloodsucking Count was theatrical, garrulous, and devoid of mood music, White Zombie is fluidly cinematic, filled with lengthy, wordless sequences, and supported by an effective musical score. One scene makes haunting use of a chorus humming the spiritual called "Listen to the Lambs." Bela Lugosi throws himself into the part of Legendre with real relish, gleefully etching the lines in venom...Better than anything else, the film generates its own ambiance, and this aspect has been enhanced by the passing of time. Whatever period feeling White Zombie possessed at the time of its release has been erased by the intervening third of a century, making the images more faded, the period more remote, and the picture itself more completely mysterious. - Carlos Clarens, An Illustrated History of the Horror Film

Tickets - $7, available at door.