This program celebrates the work of two of the most significant filmmakers in American and European avant-garde cinema, Gregory J. Markopoulos (1928–1992) and Robert Beavers (1949–). Markopoulos began making films in the late 1940s after enrolling at the University of Southern California and attending masterclasses by filmmakers such as Josef von Sternberg. After moving back to his hometown of Toledo in the 1950s, Markopoulos relocated to New York in 1960 and was closely involved with establishing the New American Cinema Group and the Filmmakers’ Cooperative (led by Jonas Mekas). His subsequent films explore the poetic, symbolic, mythic and synaesthetic aspects of cinema, perhaps best exemplified by the film many consider his masterpiece: Twice a Man (1963). Beavers met Markopoulos in 1966 and they went on to form a life-long creative and personal partnership. Leaving for Europe with Markopoulos in 1967, Beavers’ subsequent film work is a model of attentiveness to film form and the medium’s capacity to reflect on the history of place. Exploring shared themes and approaches that focus on myth, environmental portraiture, the formal elements of cinema and the medium’s capacity for personal expression, their individual films provide a fascinating set of connections and variations. Markopoulos spent much of the last period of his life re-editing his films into a major, unified project titled Eniaios and establishing The Temenos, a film archive and projection space aimed at elevating cinema to something close to a sacred place. In the years since Markopoulos’ death, Beavers has both honoured this shared project and developed new cinematic trajectories of his own. This program presents key visionary works by the two filmmakers in their original formats.
7:00pm TWICE A MAN
Gregory J. Markopoulos (1963) 49 mins – Unclassified 15+
Interweaving the memories and subjectivities of four people, Markopoulos expands his vision of a new form of narrative cinema by exploring what he called “thought images”. Partly inspired by the filmmaker’s immersion in Greek mythology, it “came at the high point of the mythopoeic development within the American avant-garde” (P. Adams Sitney).
Followed by three short works made in the period just before and after Markopoulos left America for Europe. Ming Green (1966) explores the intimate interior of the filmmaker’s New York apartment. Bliss (1967) is the first film Markopoulos made in Europe and examines the interior of a Byzantine church on the island of Hydra. Sorrows (1969) is a fascinating study of Wagner’s chateau in Switzerland. 16mm prints made available by the Temenos Archive. To be introduced by Robert Beavers.
Twice a Man (Gregory J. Markopoulos, 1963)
by Darragh O’Donoghue
8:45pm FROM THE NOTEBOOK OF…
Robert Beavers (1971/1998) 48 mins – Unclassified 15+
Shot in Florence, this critical work in Beavers’ filmography compares the treatment of space in Renaissance art with that in the moving image, drawing on Da Vinci’s notebooks and Paul Valéry’s accompanying commentary. Screens with two subsequent Beavers films exploring the intimacy of place and environment. Filmed in the filmmaker’s mother’s garden in Massachusetts, Pitcher of Colored Light (2000–2007) is a beautiful essay in movement and stillness, the diurnal rhythms of the seasons and human life. The Suppliant (2010) is an exquisitely rendered portrait of the title statue and the artist-friend’s apartment it occupies. 16mm prints made available by The Temenos Archive. To be introduced by the filmmaker.