Saul Levine: Radical Correspondent, In Person

Friday January 27, 7 pm, $8 (Note: Members/ Student price and Pleasure Passes not valid for this screening)
@ Polish Combatants Hall, 206 Beverley Street
Co-presentation with 8 fest; Small-Gauge Film Festival
Programmed by Stephen Broomer

Part of Winter 2017

Saul Levine is one of the leading figures in the autobiographical tradition within underground cinema. His films are often marked by a direct confrontation with the fragile material of 8mm, and the resulting works bear the marks of his construction, splices appearing like indentions in concrete. Through his films, Levine is a messenger of radical American politics, and of a distinctly anti-imperialist sensibility, a lineage following Mark Twain, Henry David Thoreau, and other American artists whose imagination and creativity was indivisible from their moral and political beliefs. This program provides a small glimpse of his massive oeuvre, focusing on the Notes, a series of films that he has made since the mid-1960s when he was the editor of New Left Notes, the newsletter of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS). The Notes included in this program are bookended by Levine’s first film and one of his most recent, encompassing half a century of revolutionary filmmaking. (S. Broomer)

Salt of the Sea, 1965, Regular 8 (on 16mm, 18fps), 4:00
Founded under water … all at sea … made at land. — SL

Note One, 1968, Regular 8 (on 16mm, 18fps), 6:28
A study in grey and white of my parents. An evening film. — SL

Note to Erik, 1966-1968, Regular 8 (on 16mm, 18fps), 4:18
Note to Erik was the second [note] completed, but the footage goes back to 1966. When I saw the footage I loved it, but didn’t feel ready to deal with it. Seeing Sharon Moss again who had moved to NYC from Storrs, CT inspired me to return to this footage to make a note to a mutual friend Erik Kiviat. It took about 2 years for me to feel that I could respond to the generosity of her performance and the images I had gathered and shaped in my camera. Sharon Moss and her cats play and dance naked in the snow. — SL

Lost Note, 1968-1969, Regular 8 (on 16mm, 18fps), 10:21
Scenes drawn from the home and life of Isa Milman (the woman I was then married to) and I, made together with our dog Jesse, our friends Bruce Blaney, Patti Tanaka, their children Sean and Jason, and many others. I began this as a love poem to Isa, but before i finished the film everything had changed. This film is all that was left… 1968/69 was a period of violent
transition for many of us. The film itself was formally challenging, editing footage with in-camera super-impositions and cutting b&w with color. — SL

Note to Poli, 1982-1983, Super 8 (on 16mm, 18fps), 2:51
A note to the filmmaker Poli Marechal ‘about’ penetration: matter and light, substance and smoke. Images of drinking coffee and having sex evaporate as smoke is blown into a shaft of light on a refrigerator. — Marjorie Keller
Note to Poli, part of a series of intimate ‘notes,’ represents a burst of sexual energy as the prelude to a cigarette in the sunlit kitchen, as if the balancing of eros and narcosis precluded the intervention of splicing. — P. Adams Sitney

Notes After Long Silence, 1984-1989, Super 8, 16:21
In title and content Notes After Long Silence directly alludes to Levine’s ’60s protest film, New Left Note, as well as to the SDS newspaper of the same name he once edited. It’s also a startling companion piece to Oliver Stone’s Born on the Fourth of July. If Stone is ultimately ambivalent about Vietnam, Levine is not. A nameless vet in Fourth of July greets Tom Cruise’s paraplegic Ron Kovic with ‘Just what we need, another limp dick.’ In Notes After Long Silence, ugly, ruddy close-ups of a flaccid penis begin to dominate the blitzkrieg montage; the limp dick isn’t innocent bystander to America’s Fall, but guilty witness. Yet the final images are of bouncy shtupping, a make-love-not-war, antiheroic corrective to Stone’s mythic posturing. — Manohla Dargis,

Falling Notes Unleaving, 2013, Super 8 (on 16mm, 18fps), 13:00
Falling Notes Unleaving is made from footage gathered in the fall of 2012 and edited in early 2013. Anne Charlotte Robertson, friend and fellow super 8 filmmaker, died. I attended her funeral and filmed the burial of her ashes. She was famous for her diary films and I thought it important to honor her work by filming an event that she could not. The burial took place in a wonderful old cemetery in Framingham, Massachusetts, which lightened a sad event. The film also includes footage shot in the mountains outside of Portland and the streets of Cambridge and Somerville in Massachusetts. It is not a diary. The title and the film reflect Gerard Manley Hopkins’ poem ‘Spring and Fall’. Luther Price, Bob Brodsky, Tara Nelson, Gordon Nelson, Liz Coffey, Heather Green, her daughter Rosealee, her dog Blue, and many other people and animals appear in this film. — SL

Dead Day Window Display Note, 2015, Super 8 (on 16mm, 18fps), 4:00

Notes After Long Silence

Saul Levine - Notes After Long Silence 2

Notes After Long Silence

Saul Levine - Note to Poli

Note to Poli

Saul Levine - Falling Notes Unleaving

Falling Notes Unleaving