Lewis Klahr

Her Fragrant Emulsion (1987) 16mm, color, 10.5 min

Genre: Experimental

HER FRAGRANT EMULSION is an obsessional homage to the 60's B-film actress Mimsy Farmer. The film's visceral collage images act as a metaphor for sensuality and move in and out of sync with the soundtrack to evoke the distancing and intimacy cycles that are common in love relationships. --L. K.

Rental: $30.00
16mm Rental: $30.00

Lewis Klahr

Pharaoh's Belt, The (1993) 16mm, color, 55 min

Genre: Experimental

"In his most masterful film to date, Lewis Klahr provides a lesson in modern hieroglyphics, assembling collages of contemporary demons and divinities in the guise of advertising images culled from a consumer culture's larger-than-life presentation of its products and the ecstasies they offer. These hyperbolic presences with their radiant colors and alternate promises and pitfalls provide the landscape for a childhood quest that teeters between nightmare and promised land, as Klahr's characters negotiate a labor of extrication from the morass of Betty Crocker chocolate icing, formica kitchens and parental phantoms toward a mastery of the imagination and the attaining of true love." -- Tom Gunning

Rental: $120.00
16mm Rental: $120.00

Lewis Klahr

Altair (1994) 16mm, color, 6 min

Genre: Experimental

ALTAIR offers a cutout animation version of color noir. The images were culled from six late '40s issues of Cosmopolitan magazine and set to an almost four-minute section of Stravinsky's "Firebird" (looped twice) to create a sinister, perfumed world. As in my 1988 visit to this genre, In the Month of Crickets, the narrative is highly smudged leaving legible only the larger signposts of the female protagonist's story. The viewer is encouraged to speculate on the nature and details of the woman's battle with large, malevolent societal forces and her descent into an alcoholic swoon. However I feel it is important to add that what interested me in making this film was very little of what is described above but instead a fascination with the color blue and some intangible association it has for me with the late 1940s.

Rental: $30.00
16mm Rental: $30.00

Lewis Klahr

Downs Are Feminine (1994) 16mm, color, 9 min

Genre: Experimental

"Lewis Klahr's DOWNS ARE FEMININE unveils a kind of rainy day, indoor, peaceable kingdom of desultory and idyllic debauchery, masturbatory reveries and hermaphroditic transformations. Klahr's oneric collages graft '70s porn of pallid stubbly flesh flagrantly onto Good Housekeeping/Architectural Digest decor (varicolored crab-orchard stone foyers, modacrylic sunbursts, jalousie windows and orientalist metal scrollwork), interior states where characters despoil themselves in Quaalude interludes of dreamy couplings. In this out-of-touch realm, touching is intelligence gathering for a carnal knowledge that will never attain its platonic ideal. The whole atmosphere is pervaded with euphoria, a hopelessness without despair, a contentment beyond longing. If Klahr's Yesterday's Glue presented an after-hours club world of pining narcissists where the mandatory sex, drugs and rock and roll was glacial if not sinister, DOWNS ARE FEMININE presents a world that edges past despondency to become an amoral libertine glade that is at its core abeyant but benevolent." -- Mark McElhatten

Rental: $30.00
16mm Rental: $30.00

Lewis Klahr

Pony Glass (1998) 16mm, color, 20 min

Genre: Experimental

PONY GLASS is the story of comic book character Jimmy Olsen's secret life. In this 15-minute cutout animation Superman's pal embarks on his most adult adventure ever as he navigates the treacherous shoals of early '60s romance trying to resolve a sexual identity crisis of epic proportions. A three-act melodrama -- each act has its own song -- filmed in my signature collage style that "unmasks" our collective iconic inheritance as Americans while significantly expanding the notion of what a music video can do. "Klahr cruises the elysian backstreets of childhood comic books to make a set of 'musicals' ripened by blue-eyed melos and soul-searching psychodrama. Cub reporter Jimmy Olsen proves to be a pony of a different stripe and a man of steel as he ascends beyond good and evil in this bittersweet bildungsroman." -- Mark McElhatten, New York Film Festival "In a different vein is Lewis Klahr's PONY GLASS, a high point of Program 2, to be shown at 5 PM tomorrow. The central character of this cartoon collage whose visual focus is in the 1950s, is Jimmy Olsen the cub reporter from 'Superman', who is imagined in scenarios with musical accompaniment dealing with racial and sexual anxiety. The character is liberated from a repressed Milquetoast into a figure posed in various pornographic couplings. The synergy of intense pop music and cartoons makes for a disturbingly heady meditation on transgressive imagery and popular culture." -- Stephen Holden, The New York Times "Less fussy and far more transgressive than his previous work, Klahr's collage animation PONY GLASS makes comic-book hero Jimmy Olsen the locus of desperate anxieties about sexuality and race. The film is so charged with fear and desire that a simple iris down to black made the hair stand up on the back of my neck." -- Amy Taubin, The Village Voice

Rental: $80.00
16mm Rental: $80.00

Lewis Klahr

Failed Cardigan Maneuver, A (1999) 16mm, color, 15 min

Genre: Experimental

This 3 song, cutout melodrama measures a man through his lovelife -- his childhood sweetheart in the small town he grows up in, through World War Two, to his incorrigible bachelorhood in 1950's corporate Manhattan. "Here, children in a garden of outsize fruit dream of food and love, then grow up to have unhappy office affairs in the glamourous Manhattan of the late 1950's. Sinatra sings another sad saloon song but Klahr doesn't need him for the mysterious alchemy that makes these paper dolls so expressive, eloquent, and moving." -- J. Hoberman, The Village Voice

Rental: $45.00
16mm Rental: $45.00

Lewis Klahr

Govinda (1999) 16mm, color, 25 min

Genre: Experimental

A three act (a song an act) melodrama about the coming of age of the American counterculture in the 60's and 70's as a generation moves from innocence to experience; idealism to disillusion to attempted re-integration. Highlights include rephotographed super 8 home movie footage of an alternative high school and a full blown hippie wedding. The climactic film from my feature length series ENGRAM SEPALS (Melodramas 1994-2000) which traces a history of American intoxication from World War 2 to the 1970's.

Rental: $75.00
16mm Rental: $75.00

Lewis Klahr

Marietta's Lied (1999) 16mm, color, 4.5 min

Genre: Experimental

Marietta' Lied is an animation set to Korngold's exquisite song from his opera Die Tode Stadt. The piece uses cutouts of German cabaret performers from 1935 to render in mythic shorthand the tragic story of the emigration to Los Angeles of many German Jewish composers but in particular Korngold's life. The film was commissioned by soprano Constance Hauman for her narrative recital Exiles in Paradise which in its latest version, premiered this past November (1998) in New York City.

Rental: $30.00
16mm Rental: $30.00

Lewis Klahr

Aperture of Ghostings, The (2001) 16mm, color, 12.5 min

Genre: Experimental

Elsa Kirk 5 min. 1999 Catherine Street 3 min. 2001 Creased Robe Smile 4.5 min. 2001 In the mid 1990's I unearthed three photographic contact sheets of 3 different women in a thrift store in the East Village. Only one was named and dated -- Elsa Kirk, Feb 22 '63, but all looked like they were from the same photographer and time period. There were 12 images per sheet of these Models/Actresses and I found myself quite moved by the strong sense of aspiration in their poses; a poignant blend of fiction and reality. At first, I was unable to translate these images into collage animation. So instead, I began making xerox enlargements of the sheets which I turned into a series of flat collages. Eventually these became storyboards for the films and led to the hieroglyphic montage style of the completed trilogy -- an approach that I had intuited when first attracted to the potential of cutouts two decades ago, but had never been able to capture on film.

Rental: $40.00
16mm Rental: $40.00

Lewis Klahr

Engram Sepals (2001) 16mm, black and white, 6 min

Genre: Experimental

The dead body remembers. The Tibetan book of the dead meets film noir. An elliptical narrative of adultery and corporate espionage set to a score by Morton Feldman and shot in high contrast B&W. There's a glimpse of Eternity in those deep, luminous blacks. The title film from my feature length series ENGRAM SEPALS (Melodramas 1994-2000) which traces a history of American intoxication from World War 2 to the 1970's. "L. Ron Hubbard employed "engram" -- a biological coinage meaning the permanent change wrought by stimulus to protoplasm -- to characterize repressed traumas. In a different sense, Carl Jung used the word to describe imprinted "racial" memories. Collage filmmaker Lewis Klahr, who calls his latest cycle Engram Sepals, is an artist who traffics in both pyschic scars and cultural remembrance, conditions he suggests are organic by attaching engram to a botanical term for flower stem." -- J. Hoberman, The Village Voice

Rental: $30.00
16mm Rental: $30.00

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