Saul Levine: Lost Note
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“Saul Levine is the foremost dissenting filmmaker in America. With […] years of consistent production behind him, and no signs of fatigue, he can show us the shape of a life passionately and uncompromisingly devoted to filmmaking. His works are high-energy messages of friendship, records of sexual love and political activism, radiated by humor, prophetic anger, loneliness and even though rarely, representing repose. His incessant, chaotic outpouring of political energy seems less geared to a naïve notion of bettering the world than to a perpetual pressure to keep it from getting worse.” — P. Adams Sitney.
A true fighter, lover and survivor, Saul Levine—contemporary and colleague of Stan Brakhage, Mark LaPore, Carolee Schneemann and Phil Solomon (among many others)—is an elder statesman of the Boston filmmaking community. With 30+ years as an instructor at the legendary filmmaking crucible Mass Art, he has inspired countless artists and filmmakers (among them Luther Price, Kerry Laitala, Anne Charlotte Robinson and Pelle Lowe) with his intimate and personal from-the-gut filmmaking. In over 50 years of active and engaged work, Levine has pioneered an astoundingly rich body of personal filmmaking based on the expressive potentials of small gauge (8mm and Super-8) film formats. Embracing error, gesture, accident and luck, Levine’s films are roiling, angrily frenetic and graceful silent meditations on the ordinary. In his first Bay Area visit since 1990, San Francisco Cinematheque and Black Hole Cinematheque are proud to welcome Saul Levine for this very rare, one-evening-only, sampler pack retrospective of Levine’s delicate and earthy small-gauge films—“something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue.”
Screening to include Note One (1968), Note to Erik (1966–68) and Lost Note (1968–69), the first of Levine’s ongoing series of film Notes, intimate portrait films intended as private/public “letters” to friends, family and loved ones; The Big Stick/An Old Reel (1967-73), an examination of police violence and resistance, derived from newsreel footage and Charlie Chaplin films; Notes After Long Silence (1984–89), a vigorously edited sync-sound Super-8 film described by Marjorie Keller as a “Burroughsesque treatise on race, sex, and the media,” reflecting on ‘60s anti-war activism in the Bay Area; Falling Notes Unleaving (2013), captured on the occasion of the funeral of fellow film diarist and inspiration Anne Charlotte Robertson; and a very recent entry into Levine’s ongoing Light Licks series, Wild Blue Yonder (2015). All film to screen in 16mm or Super-8/Regular 8mm formats.