tENTATIVELY, cONVENIENCE's Reviews > History of the American Avant-Garde Cinema

History of the American Avant-Garde Cinema by Marilyn Singer
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it was amazing
bookshelves: film
Recommended for: all experimental filmmakers

Am I really going to try to write about this?! I made my 1st super-8 film in the fall of 1974. I'd been in 2 films by other people before this - once in the mid 60s & once in the early 70s. The latter film has long since been destroyed by its maker & I have no idea what happened to the former one. My 1st film cd be called "materialist" although I wdn't've known of such a term at the time - if it even existed yet. I made that 1st film w/ limited knowledge of anything even remotely related, I was only newly turned 21 & not in an environment where I knew many or anyone else interested in experimental film in the way I was. THEN, from October 7, 1976 thru June 4, 1977 the Baltimore Museum of Art presented an "American Independent Film Series" that I attended. I don't know if I witnessed all 16 programs but I definitely witnessed at least 6 of them & bought this associated bk.

In the pre-existing GoodReads entry for this (to wch I just added the bk cover image), the bk is credited as having been authored by Marilyn Singer - who wrote the introduction. However, many other people seem to've been involved in the bk's production & giving Singer authorial credit seems inaccurate.

ANYWAY, when I witnessed these programs, it was the 1st time I had the opportunity to see work that was made by people thinking along the same lines that I had been when I made my 1st film in 1974. To say that I was happy about this is an understatement, I was THRILLED. So much of the work was so important to me: Hollis Frampton, George Landow, Robert Nelson, Michael Snow, etc, etc.. - esp so-called "structuralist" work - work that addressed the physical nature of film & that mostly bypassed narrative. SO, as w/ anything that represents a milestone in one's life, this bk is forever associated in my mind w/ my exposure to a wider world of like-minded folks than I'd previously had many clues even existed. There might be better bks on the subject, but this one has that intense personal significance.

Of course, my personal take on all this has changed dramatically thru the yrs. I've gotten sick of some of the filmmakers & I've learned to respect some of the others for reasons not available to me at the time. I've even sat thru again the core series of 7 programs discussed in the bk since the 1970s when it reappeared in Baltimore at School 33 around 1990. Even THAT series still reverberates w/in me since it was where I started noticing 2 people who later became close associates in the coming yrs: Rebecca Barten & John Dierker.

I imagine that this catalog has slipped somewhat into obscurity by now. I still recommend it if you have an interest in the subject & want a complete library. It's a good'un.

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Reading Progress

Started Reading
December 3, 1976 – Finished Reading
February 11, 2008 – Shelved
February 11, 2008 – Shelved as: film

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