James Fotopoulos

Zero (1997) 16mm, color, 142 min

Genre: Experimental

James Fotopoulos' deeply disturbing experimental film paints a grim portrait of the psychological collapse of a young man drifting further and further into total isolation. In his solitude, primal fantasies of sex and violence transform into frightening visions and insanity, while a cyst growing on his arm suggests a physical manifestation of his mental breakdown. A shocking debut feature. "Grisly, abrasive and one of the few truly underground features we've seen in a good while, ZERO plays like a Brakhage/Morrisey directorial collaboration on a screenplay by Pasolini. A profoundly disturbing study in abjection and squalor, ZERO offers its own version of redemption. It's not to be missed" -- Robert Beck Memorial Cinema

Rental: $200.00
16mm Rental: $200.00

James Fotopoulos

Growth (1999) 16mm, color & b/w, 6 min

Genre: Experimental

"Though your films, especially shorts like Growth and A Room, do sometimes have the visceral appearance of a Patrick Bokanowski or Stan Brakhage film, the features are much more firmly grounded in a "real world" aesthetic. "TFJ

Rental: $25.00
16mm Rental: $25.00

James Fotopoulos

A Room (1999) 16mm, color & b/w, 18 min

Genre: Experimental

"Though your films, especially shorts like Growth and A Room, do sometimes have the visceral appearance of a Patrick Bokanowski or Stan Brakhage film, the features are much more firmly grounded in a "real world" aesthetic. "TFJ

Rental: $40.00
16mm Rental: $40.00

James Fotopoulos

Two Cats (1999) 16mm, color, 1 min

Genre: Experimental

A couple of very brief silent shorts-Two Cats (1999) and Breathe (2000)-are each less than a minute long. These continue Fotopoulos' interests in the exterior depiction of interior states, each fluttering moment seeming to capture the essence of a fleeting, perhaps oneiric memory. Other shorts play like cubist horror films, juggling images of meaty skulls, murdered corpses, and grotesque alien anatomies.

Rental: $20.00
16mm Rental: $20.00

James Fotopoulos

Migrating Forms (1999) 16mm, color & b/w, 80 min

Genre: Experimental

"Migrating Forms is as complete a vision as any film has the right to be, and generates more intrigue and mystery than most ever do."-Walker Art Center "A kind of stripped-down Eraserhead, shot in low-contrast black and white in the style of cheap '40s porn loops, the film is set inside a single room that looks like the basic set you'd find in an acting class-a table with a chair at either end and a bed. The room is occupied by a stolid-looking guy and his cat and is visited repeatedly by a pudgy woman who strips off her clothes, gets on the bed, and has sex with the man. Sometimes the sex scenes are so softly focused and underexposed you can't tell what's going on. At other times, you see more than you would want. The woman has a large hideous growth on her back (rather like the phallic growth in Marilyn Chambers's armpit in Cronenberg's RABID). Soon the man discovers a similar growth on his shoulder. Midway through the film, an exterminator knocks at the door. After that, dead insects and rodents put in an appearance. Inevitably, the corpse of the cat turns up as well. MIGRATING FORMS has a formal purity and obsessive power that's all too rare these days."- Amy Taubin, Village Voice

Rental: $200.00
16mm Rental: $200.00

James Fotopoulos

Breathe (2000) 16mm, black and white, .5 min

Genre: Experimental

Fotopoulos also continues to make shorter works, ranging in length from 34 seconds (Breathe) to 18 minutes (the haunting A Room), which are often more identifiably avant-garde than his features

Rental: $20.00
16mm Rental: $20.00

James Fotopoulos

Drowning (2000) 16mm, color, 3 min

Genre: Experimental

"I used video in some of the early shorts like Drowning and Escape, and Christabel." "An attempt to discover psychic energy in controlled sexuality." - JF

Rental: $20.00
16mm Rental: $20.00

James Fotopoulos

The Sun (2000) 16mm, black and white, 3 min

Genre: Experimental

Rental: $20.00
16mm Rental: $20.00

James Fotopoulos

The Vanished (2000) 16mm, black and white, 5 min

Genre: Experimental

Rental: $20.00
16mm Rental: $20.00

James Fotopoulos

Back Against The Wall (2000) 16mm, black and white, 94 min

Genre: Experimental

"BACK AGAINST THE WALL is the strongest Fotopoulos I've seen. Initially predicated on the filmmaker's trademark repetitive routines, it concerns a grim slab of middle-aged beef jerky (Martin Shannon) holed up in a characterless apartment furnished mainly with cardboard boxes. Lying in bed, sourly awaiting the return of his young girlfriend (Debbie Mulcahy) from work, Shannon seems like a john in his own place. Fotopoulos likes his low-rent Hopper compositions harshly lit and underscored by a persistent drone. Back Against the Wall's anonymous atmosphere, pointless conversations, and recurring set-ups hold the promise of sex (or at least violence). But the movie is all about unreleased tension. Shannon's other activities include playing chess and listening to the complaints of his no-neck friend (Ernie E. Frantz). When Mulcahy, who apparently works in a strip club, models a series of little nighties for Shannon, he scarcely looks up from his book to acknowledge her. While the viewer patiently waits to discover if the movie is Shannon's long crack-up or just a prolonged slow-burn, Fotopoulos fastidiously maps a little corner of hell-brutal depression is mocked by the wind-up clown sitting on Shannon's night table. Once Mulcahy leaves Shannon for a marginally livelier, more appropriate sleazemeister, the film's tone shifts first to the blandly inane and then the cumulatively insane. Mulcahy's new boyfriend is a would-be pornographer in hock to the mob-he gets beat up but won't tell her why. This fatal association leads to an extravagantly long scene on what could be the set of a porn film (half a dozen women making up, snorting coke, and sitting around in costume). The eventual payoff is far more grotesque. Mulcahy meets her depressing fate-or is it a happy ending?-in a No Exit motel room with Frantz." -- J. Hoberman, Village Voice

Rental: $200.00
16mm Rental: $200.00

James Fotopoulos

The Circle 1 (2001) 16mm, black and white, 7 min

Genre: Experimental

Rental: $25.00
16mm Rental: $25.00

James Fotopoulos

Insect (2001) 16mm, black and white, 11 min

Genre: Experimental

from Insect to Families, that there appears to have been a great deal of work put into the audio tracks to create such layered, multifaceted aural experiences.

Rental: $30.00
16mm Rental: $30.00

James Fotopoulos

Consumed (2001) 16mm, color & b/w, 21 min

Genre: Experimental

A five part series - Films can be rented individually: Part 1 (5min, b/w, price: 20.00); Part 2 (3min, color, price: 20.00); Part 3 (1min, color, price: 20.00); Part 4 (7min, color, price: 25.00); Part 5 (5min, b/w, price: 20.00

Rental: $50.00
16mm Rental: $50.00

James Fotopoulos

The Circle 2` (2001) 16mm, color, 8 min

Genre: Experimental

Rental: $20.00
16mm Rental: $20.00

James Fotopoulos

Christabel: The Conclusion Pt. 1 (2001) 16mm, color, 7 min

Genre: Experimental

"Pindar's fine remark respecting the different effects of Music, on different characters, holds equally true of Genius - as many as are not delighted by it are disturbed, perplexed, irritated. The beholder either recognizes it as a projected form of his own Being, that moves before him with a Glory round its head, or recoils from it as a Spectre." -- S. T. Coleridge, Aids to Reflection (1825) "The idea was that the soul of Coleridge should not be enslaved to the poem of Coleridge, even though that is what he worked on. The vision is far greater than that. With this technology, in a sort of anthropological way, you can fracture the poem, and by fracturing it you can begin taking the themes and extracting them...So I began by taking my emotional intuitions, tying that in to all the factual aspects of the poem, and then began this sort of surgery...Using these new technologies, I can go in and extract the essence of this and put it up again. And it was again difficult because the more you get into Coleridge the more complex it becomes. One way most adaptations fail is they focus on one aspect of something. But it's impossible to focus on one aspect of anything. You have to head in, and take on all the aspects. If you fail, you fail. Coleridge is a man of genius, so it just became more and more complex. I began unraveling more and more, and getting deeper and deeper, to the point where I could almost die working on it." -- J.F.

Rental: $25.00
16mm Rental: $25.00

James Fotopoulos

Flight (2002) 16mm, black and white, 3 min

Genre: Experimental

A look at non-human beings.

Rental: $20.00
16mm Rental: $20.00

James Fotopoulos

The Scythe (2002) 16mm, black and white, 2 min

Genre: Experimental

A blades-eye view of fields.

Rental: $20.00
16mm Rental: $20.00

James Fotopoulos

Families (2002) 16mm, black and white, 97 min

Genre: Experimental

"Families bears the stylistic traits of his earlier feature-length films but expands the number of characters and locations. Opening with a portentous shot of nearly motionless sheep, the black-and-white film develops in disaffected dialogue scenes interspersed with shots of dreary Midwestern exteriors. The main strain of the narrative focuses on a young man and woman and their prolonged, halting conversations, many of which revolve around death. Yet none of the violence recounted in these exchanges takes place on screen, where life is characterized by the absence of physical contact, robotic soliloquy, and a general sense of forlorn ennui. Recurring throughout the film are repeated shots of the sheep from the opening, dogs or fish in an aquarium, paradigmatically linking annals to the characters and their awkward interactions. Fotopoulos suggests that the titular familial ties refer to larger structures of kinship, and constructs a bleak parallel in the common markers of human and animal existence."--Henriette Huldisch, Whitney Museum of American Art

Rental: $200.00
16mm Rental: $200.00

James Fotopoulos

The Hemispheres (2003) 16mm, color, 5 min

Genre: Experimental

Rental: $20.00
16mm Rental: $20.00

James Fotopoulos

Hidden Objects (2003) 16mm, black and white, 39 min

Genre: Experimental

A series with 12 films, all of them around 3-4 minutes. Films can also be rented individually.

Rental: $80.00 or, individual films: 20.00
16mm Rental: $80.00

James Fotopoulos

The Nest (2003) 16mm, color, 78 min

Genre: Experimental

"Somewhere in the Midwest, a young couple's starter apartment discharges the anomie stored in its cool, white walls and sparse, angular furnishings. The eponymous nest and the true star of this suburban gothic, its light fixtures ooze bilious greens and overripe ambers onto surgically extracted blocks of cheap architecture that each emit their own pitches and grinds of white noise. A nonstop 3am panic attack of drywall-crawling despair, this is the field on which James Fotopoulos assembles his latest assault on the senses. To pin down and enumerate what happens in The Nest is to do violence to it. Better to list effects, colors, and key phrases, cut up and drawn from a hat, than offer any kind of chronology. More textural than textual, it distills dramatic tensions to a 78-minute environment of pure narrative: out of time, unencumbered by plot or rounded characters and demanding to be taken as a story that happens chiefly to the audience rather than to the figures in its landscape." --Spencer Parsons, Cinematexas

Rental: $200.00
16mm Rental: $200.00

James Fotopoulos

Esophagus (2004) 16mm, color, 70 min

Genre: Experimental

"At 28, Chicagoan James Fotopoulos has made more than 100 films and videos, and they keep getting better, having moved from the uncomfortableness of human flesh to the more metaphysical hell of Esophagus. At its center is a typical Fotopoulos torment: six men, one sporting horns, seem imprisoned in a drab room, and a distorted female voice intones phrases such as 'You're born with teeth in your eyes.' Elsewhere, scratches on the film outline and entrap women's bodies. The opening section - showing gorgeous yet intrusive and terrible flickering light patterns accompanied by droning music - is repeated at the end, giving the work a fatalistic form that suggests the trap isn't the walls of a room but the nature of the cosmos." -- Fred Camper, Chicago Reader

Rental: $25.00
16mm Rental: $25.00

James Fotopoulos

The Ant Hill (2004) 16mm, color, 60 min

Genre: Experimental

"I was in the forest walking and thinking. And as I was coming upon the stream - all the sounds around me, the water running and the birds became very loud. It became very intense. I thought my head was going to explode. Then it all faded away and I was in complete silence. I smelled something burning and the sunlight was so bright in my eyes. I was surrounded by bright light. I looked up and saw the tops of the trees were on fire. Two large pillars of light stood before me. The pillars were made up of round balls of light. Red, blue, orange. And standing between them was a man. I couldn't see his face. I was afraid. He told me that I was the chosen by him to do his work. That you all are my students. That I am here to help you. And when the world ends, we will be saved." - from THE ANT HILL "A merciless narrative about the inner world of a nameless cult, The Ant Hill continues James Fotopoulos' recent foray away from film and into the possibilities of video. The results prove more materially degraded than even his best-known feature, Migrating Forms. As with all of his work, each low-grade esthetic decision feels utterly, pointedly intentional. The actions of a tiny band of devotees, led by a single, lurchingly unpredictable patriarch, take on the sparse structure of a Biblical parable. Extended sequences of colorfield-like image-layering recall the electronic longueurs of early video art. Fotopoulos shoots his actors in a single bare set, with a grimy immediacy that feels almost self-reflexive: the viewer inevitably comes to question how the filmmaker was able to compel such total trust and obedience from his actors, given the extremity of the acts they have been asked to perform." -- Ed Halter, New York Underground Film Festival

Rental: $25.00
16mm Rental: $25.00

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