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The tactile pleasures of exposing, editing, and projecting celluloid

Wednesday, Dec 3 2003
North Beach filmmaker Dominic Angerame recently bought a spiffy digital camcorder, but he's still committed to the tactile pleasures of exposing, editing, and projecting celluloid. "The video technologies and the digital technologies are encouraging people to have a singular experience with the computer," the experimental artist asserts, "whereas the cinematic experience encourages one to have a communal experience – not only with the film, but with the audience."

Consume, one of a series of new pieces by Angerame in a career that has spanned almost 35 years, specifically addresses the way in which film works on the viewer. The short consists of an image of a female nude, shot with stroboscopic light and superimposed upon itself; a Ukrainian chant plays on the soundtrack. "What I do is use the naked form to lure the audience into a trance state and then to bring them out of that trance state," Angerame explains. "[The film] deals with the flickering of the projector, the flickering of the movie camera. Essentially, you're being pulled into that experience whether you want to or not."

Also fresh from the lab is Battle Stations – A Naval Adventure, a black comedy about the shipyard at Hunters Point starring artist Bruce Conner, a belly dancer, a Geiger counter, and a toxic waste dump. Both pictures, along with several other new and recent works by Angerame, close the S.F. Cinematheque's fall season on Thursday, Dec. 11, at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts.

A Chapter in Her Life Shelley Stamp, associate professor in the film and digital media department at UC Santa Cruz and author of Movie-Struck Girls: Women and Motion Picture Culture After the Nickelodeon (2000), recently scored a $25,000 grant from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to finish her book Lois Weber in Early Hollywood. Stamp's critical study of the pioneering director, writer, and actress of the silent era won the support of the Academy's Film Scholar program – ironic given Hollywood's ongoing antipathy to living female moviemakers.

"The film industry has been notoriously careless about preserving its past," Stamp writes in an e-mail. "For decades studios routinely burned film prints, dumped films in the ocean, destroyed documents and kept no archival records. That the Academy chose to support research on an early female director/screenwriter like Lois Weber only highlights the importance of recognizing this past. Believe it or not, proportionally more women worked as directors and screenwriters in the silent era than they do in contemporary Hollywood!"

Uh, yeah, we had a hunch. Stamp will deliver a lecture on Weber at an Academy event once she's completed her book, as a condition of the grant. We wonder how many male producers, studio execs, and agents will attend.

Big Time "I'm a frustrated musician, so I know the rhythm of everything," says Alejandro González Iñárritu, the Mexican director of 21 Grams and the superior Amores Perros, during an S.F. stopover. "I have the pulse of the film, and I have the pulse of every piece of it, and I know how they interact between each other. And I want that every little piece of this puzzle, or this architecture, [be] built in order to have this pulse, and every little spot can [be] like a propeller of a boat [that] can ... send you to another space."

Iñárritu adores musicians, from flamenco to Cuban hip hop players, but says he's never considered making a documentary about one. "There's no one in particular; I love so many guys," he muses. "Yesterday I was chatting with Tom Waits [at the 21 Grams preview at the Rafael Film Center], [who] is one of my biggest idols, and ... I was really fascinated by him. So I can do something about him, for sure, if he wanted that."

About The Author

Michael Fox


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