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A screen shot of a man about to supposedly cut a woman's eye with a straight razor from the 1929 Un Chien Andalou movie by Salavador Dali and Luis Bunuel

WINTER FILM FESTIVAL

March 1 - April 30, 2020


Standish Lawder

 

"Born in Connecticut in 1936, Lawder attended Williams College and the National Autonomous University of Mexico as an undergraduate, and studied at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich. While at the University of Munich, he became a test subject for a neurologist researching phosphenes at around 1960. During these experiments, he was injected with measured amounts of LSD, mescaline and psilocybin, and "spent a whole day in the clinic". In this, he became an early subject of psychedelics. Afterwards, he received his Doctor of Philosophy as an art historian at Yale University. His thesis, which was later published as The Cubist Cinema, examines the correlation between the history of film and its impact on modern art, described as a holistic overview by Anthony Reveaux in Film Quarterly.

His body of work is purported to span over 25 films and his literary works encapsulates several essays on experimental film. His first endeavors with experimental films started in his basement during a sabbatical of his in the late 1960s and early 1970s. One of his works during this span, Necrology, has been cited by fellow filmmaker Hollis Frampton as "the sickest joke I've ever seen on film".

Lawder died in 2014.

Lawder utilized a coffee can to house a contact printer for the production of his films Runaway and Corridor.

For production of his first two films, Runaway and Corridor, Lawder built his own contact printer using a incandescent light bulb housed within a coffee can.\With it, he would process his films by manipulating the brightness of the light bulb, then shined the beam it created through the flashlight tube to the film gate of his camera. All release prints struck from these films were made using this printer by Lawder personally.
" ubu.com


"In NECROLOGY, a 12-minute film, in one continuous shot he films the faces of a 5:00 PM crowd descending via the Pan Am building escalators. In old-fashioned black and white, these faces stare into the empty space, in the 5:00 PM tiredness and mechanical impersonality, like faces from the grave. It's hard to believe that these faces belong to people today. The film is one of the strongest and grimmest comments upon the contemporary society that cinema has produced." - Jonas Mekas, The Village Voice

"Several short films (at the Ann Arbor Film Festival) seemed notably successful in the creation of special effects. Among these was NECROLOGY, by Standish Lawder, an eleven-minute panning of the camera down what seemed an endless stairway, upon which people stood motionless and glum. These circumstances, plus the constant idea of the title, gave a haunting suggestion of people on their eventless way to hell. I was told later that the film was made with a stationary camera trained on a down escalator, and then the film was run backwards. A long, humorous 'cast of characters' at the end ... seemed to me to destroy a desirable mood, but it certainly pleased the crowd ...." - Edgar Daniels, New Cinema Review

"Without doubt, the sickest joke I've ever seen on film." - Hollis Frampton" - canyoncinema.com

 

Screen shot from Standish Lawder's Necrology movie from 1970

Necrology,1970, 11:30

by Standish Lawder

 

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"Further examining the medium of film itself, Colorfilm is a work Lawder made while trying to make a minimalist, "pure color" film. Using spliced-together strips of colored film leader in white, yellow, blue, red, green, etc., Lawder ran the film through a projector and found the results to be quite boring. While he was running the film, though, he noticed how beautiful the colored strips of film looked as they ran through the projector. So, he turned a camera on the projector and filmed the colored film gorgeously winding its way through the projector's machinery." - Noel Black, Colorado Springs Independent

Music by The Mothers of Invention", - ubu.com

Screen shot from Standish Lawder's Color Film movie from 1971

Color Film, 1971, 2:23

by Standish Lawder

 

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"Music by Terry Riley. Sound for prologue by Standish Lawder.

CORRIDOR took two years to make. It is my best film. (Standish Lawder)

Quote:
"... an extraordinary exercise in visual polyphony ... the pyrotechnic surface is exfoliated with Hegelian relentlessness from an elemental formal core ... the many are no less the many for being inescapably the One." - Sheldon Nodelman

Quote:
"CORRIDOR is a marvelous meld of music and cinematic tension that maintains a visual excitement throughout with its constant exploration of horizontal and rectilinear patterns, chiaroscuros and deep grains, pulsating double and negative exposures, and constant tracking shots of a nude figure standing at the end of a long, close corridor. A first-rate piece of work that has to be seen to be appreciated. CORRIDOR is a film of which any filmmaker would be rightly proud." - James Childs, New Haven Register " - ubu.com

 

Screen shot from Standish Lawder's Corridor movie from 1970

Corridor, 1970, 22:10

by Standish Lawder

 

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