Please join Canyon Cinema for another installation of our Salon series with longtime Canyon filmmaker Gordon Ball.
Georgia (4min, color, silent, 8mm)
Sitting (2min, color, silent, 16mm)
Father Movie (10min, color, silent, 8mm)
Enthusiasm (13min, color + B&W, sound 16mm)
Mexican Jail Footage (18min, color, sound, 16mm)
Millbrook (9min, color, sound, 16mm)
7:30pm* – Screening and discussion.
*Note: Street entrance locked at 7:30 – please arrive on time.
In 1980 Gordon Ball adopted a phrase from the Irish poet William Butler Yeats, “technical sincerity,” as touchstone for his first-person filmmaking. In his May 18 Salon the filmmaker will arrive in San Francisco to show and discuss six films from his body of work that exemplify this mode.
“Yesterday, a friend who had asked to use a film of mine in a program, said to me “Of course, as I’ve said before, the technique of the film (Father Movie) is nothing to write home about.” I answered, “Well yes but I think that’s what gives it its power—in other words, it doesn’t conform to any textbook standards, but instead to the heart, the experience of the event and my feelings toward it as I filmed.” And he agreed. For “Father Movie” is a film made (except for prelude) at my father’s death; long sequences of it were shot literally weeping & driving (one hand on camera, one on wheel) through town by old places he’d lived in. For such a mode or “technique,” so much the opposite of anything planned, I recall a prose line from Yeats: “When heroism returns to the age, its first sign shall be technical sincerity.” I’ve never entirely understood what Yeats meant, but as time’s passed the line’s last words have come to represent a kind of personal touchstone for art. Not for heroism—which I don’t understand—but to distinguish internal soul from external formula. Surely this is applicable in film, where almost any Hollywood or other “theatrical” movie works from the latter & those of our most masterful contemporaries—say Brakhage and Kubelka—invariably bear the stamp of the former. Fine or rough, heavy or ethereal, there is always at base an unregretful uncompromising heart & consciousness. It is negligent of all but its own earnest rhythmic awareness: and that, after all, may be what we were looking for—what one person and no other can give us.” -Gordon Ball (September 28, 1980, Chapel Hill)
Special thanks to Rock Ross. Canyon Cinema is grateful for the long term support of the George Lucas Family Foundation. Dedicated project funding for Canyon Cinema 50 has been generously provided by the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, National Endowment for the Arts, Owsley Brown III Foundation, Phyllis C. Wattis Foundation and The Fleishhacker Foundation.