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A whirl of blurred coloured lights make an abstract pattern

Film Programme 4: Pop

Film Programme 4: Pop

A riot of 60’s psychedelia, magick, ritual and tight black leather, this programme highlights underground innovators who use and subvert pop music for their own experimental ends; and be warned, in Anger, there’s real darkness.

Us Down by the River, Dir. Jud Yalkut, USA, 1966, 3 mins, 16mm

Music: The Beatles

USCO light, Beatles sound. A visionary realization of the USCO Riverside Museum installation exhibition in New York, the show which introduced the word ‘Be-In’ to the English language. (Jud Yalkut)

As an underground filmmaker and video artist, Jud Yalkut participated in seminal moments of early video art. In 1965 Yalkut became a resident filmmaker and USCO, a counterculture collective. Starting in 1966 and continuing into the 1970’s, he collaborated with Nam June Paik on a series of video-film pieces in which he used the medium of film not merely to document performances, but, through editing and juxtaposition, to create conversations between film and video. (Media Art Net)

— —— (aka Short Line Long Line), Dir. Thom Andersen, Malcolm Brodwick, USA, 1967, 11 mins, 16mm

A documentary about rock’n’roll. Making, buying, selling. Radio, jukebox, scopitone, pinball, poolhall. Canned Heat, City Lights, Seeds of Time, LA Tymes. Llyn Foulkes, Charlie Watts. Chris & Craig, Duke of Earl. Seeburg, Wurlitzer. Standing, walking, jumping, singing, dancing, gesturing, surfing. LAPD, LA County Sheriffs Dept., The Trip, The Lynch Bldg. Tops, Pandora’s Box, Maverick’s Flat, someone’s backyard. California Music Co. Riot in cell block number nine, riot on sunset strip. Hot rod, coin slot, go cart, bomp club. Hound Dog Man, King Creole. Kim Weston, The Rainbows, The Shangri-Las, The Supremes, Earl-Jean. Stupid girl, 19th nervous breakdown. Bill Haley & The Comets: you can get no further back than that. Wolfman Jack, Ernie Bushmiller, Jimmy Reed, Ray Charles, The Who, The Coasters. Great balls of fire. Standing at the crossroads of love. Fats Domino, Chuck Berry, John Cale, Screamin Jay Hawkins, Howlin Wolf, James Brown-The King. You can’t catch me. Frankie Avalon, The Beatles, The Yardbirds. Wax reclamation, an early clue to the new direction. Mick Jagger/Earth Angel. (Filmmakers Coop)

Documentary material organized by a predetermined structure. A sequence of picture-sound equations with randomly chosen terms. Vertically, — ——- is completely structured; horizontally it is completely random. A pastiche of cinematography, a parody of montage. 1:2. 3:7. Right, left. Right to left-left to right. Up-down. Stasis, motion. Orange, magenta. Yellow, blue. Red, green. Magenta, orange. Blue, yellow. Green, red. 1:2, 1,5:3, 2:4, 3:6, 5:10, 8:16 . . .” (Thom Andersen)

Scorpio Rising, Dir. Kenneth Anger, USA, 1963, 29 mins, 16mm

Music: Ricky Nelson, Little Peggy March, The Angels, Bobby Vinton, Elvis Presley, Ray Charles, The Crystals, The Ran-Dells, Kris Jensen, Claudine Clark, Gene McDaniels, The Surfaris

… a masterpiece in the specific sense that it is composed of clarities of the fire and water workings of your earlier films into a ritual of order, depth and complexity. (Stan Brakhage)

It may be conceded in any case that the long strings of formidable worlds which roar and moan through so many conjurations have a real effect in exalting the consciousness of the magician to the proper pitch – that they should do so is no more extraordinary than the human voice. The Pan-pipe with it’s seven stops, corresponding to the seven planets, the bull-roarer, the tom-tom, and even the violin, have all been used, as well as many others, if which the most important is the bell, through this is used not so much for actual conjuration as to mark stages in the ceremony. Of all these the tom-tom will be found to be the most generally useful.

A conjuration of the presiding Princes, Angels and Spirits of the Sphere of MARS, formed as a high view of the Myth of the American Motorcyclist. The Power Machine seen as tribal totem, from toy to terror. Thanatos in chrome and black leather and bursting jeans. Part I: Boys and Bolts (masculine fascination with the Thing that Goes). Part II: Image Maker (getting high on heroes: Dean’s Rebel and Brando’s Johnny; the True View of J.C.) Part III: Walpurgis Party (J.C. wallflower at the cycler’s Sabbath). Part VI: Rebel Rouser (the Gathering of the Dark Legions, with a message from our Sponsor).

Dedicated to Jack Parsons*, Victor Childe*, Jim Powers* James Dean, T.E. Lawrence, Hart Crane*, Kurt Mann* the Society of Spartans, the Hell’s Angels and all overgrown boys who will ever follow the whistle of Love’s Brother.* all suicides (Anger’s 1966 Filmmakers Cinematheque programme notes)

23/69 Underground Explosion, Dir. Kurt Kren, Austria, 1969, 5 mins 30 secs, 16mm

This film is very different to Kren’s previous films, due to the extreme movement of the camera. It was to have been a reportage on an underground festival that was on tour in Germany and Switzerland. Kren said that, at that time, he was ‘trying out’ a mixture containing amphetamines and alcohol, and that sometimes he did not even know what he was doing. He shot the film ‘from the hip’, with the result that the film, along with the music, presented a very authentic impression of the festival. (Hans Scheugl)

Turn, Turn, Turn, Dir. Jud Yalkut, Nam June Paik, USA, 1965-66, 10 mins, 16mm

Music: The Byrds

While Yalkut was working with USCO, he also began collaborating with Nam June Paik. They met in 1965 when Yalkut asked to film Paik’s work at the Bonino Gallery. Paik and Yalkut’s first collaborative effort was Turn, Turn, Turn, an “exploration in the filmic translation of kinetic and luministic artworks.” The film was a tremendous success at many film festivals, galleries and art houses. According to Yalkut, the source material for Turn, Turn, Turn came from “cybernated light-refracting sculptures (Nicholas Schoffer), moving reflected ‘lumia’ light (Julio LeParc), electronically controlled and strobed light (USCO), and the ‘pure’ electronic light which the cathode ray tube emits (Nam June Paik).” The soundtrack for the film is a sampled and modified version of Turn! Turn! Turn! by the Byrds. (Seth Thompson)

Invocation of my Demon Brother, Dir. Kenneth Anger, USA, 1969, 11 mins, 16mm

Music: Mick Jagger

A film that no number of viewings will ever exhaust, a film that will always remain a source of mysterious energy as only great works of art do. (Jonas Mekas)

Invocation of My Demon Brother (Arrangement in Black and Gold). The shadowing forth of Our Lord Lucifer, as the Powers of Darkness gather at midnight mass. The dance of the Magus widdershins around the Swirling Spiral Force, the solar swastika, until the Bringer of Light – Lucifer – breaks through. “The true Magick of Horus requires the passionate union of opposites” – Aleister Crowley (Kenneth Anger)

It is Anger’s most metaphysical film: here he eschews literal connections, makes the images jar against one another, and does not create a centre of gravity though which the collage is to be interpreted, as the images of Christ could be interpreted through the actions of the motorcyclists in Scorpio or as the images of Crowley could be interpreted through the ritual of Inauguration. Thus deprived of a centre of gravity every image has equal weight in the film, and more than ever before in an Anger film, the burden of synthesis falls upon the viewer. (P. Adams Sitney)

Beatles Electroniques, Dir. Jud Yalkut, Nam Jun Paik, USA, 1966-69, 3 mins, 16mm

Music: Kenneth Werner

Beatles Electroniques was shot in black-and-white from live broadcasts of the Beatles while Paik electromagnetically improvised distortions on the receiver, and also from videotaped material produced during a series of experiments with filming off the monitor of a Sony videotape recorder. The film is three minutes long and is accompanied by an electronic soundtrack by composer Ken Werner, called ‘Four Loops,’ derived from four electronically altered loops of Beatles sound material. The result is an eerie portrait of the Beatles not as pop stars but rather as entities that exist solely in the world of electronic media. (Gene Youngblood)

Below are some online links which you can use for reference. To see the films in their original glory, check with the distributors of the films for their terms and conditions.


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