Gregory Markopoulos: Gammelion
presented in association with the UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive
Introduction and Booksigning by Mark Webber
“For me, personally, the Cinema is music; is music with its contrapuntal elaborations,” Gregory J. Markopoulos wrote in 1955. “Cinema is the noble metaphysical Art of our age, and of our one world without boundaries. Cinema can show us in what aspects we differ from one another, and in what aspects we remain the same. Cinema can draw nations together, and dissolve boundaries between groups of men. Lastly, Cinema is the representative of Life, which no other Art can give us, so truly.”
One of the great visionary filmmakers of the twentieth century, Markopoulos was an equally insightful writer on film aesthetics, theory, and criticism. His call for an ideal cinema is one that remains highly relevant today, giving us direction and inspiration. The presentations at BAM/PFA this April pick up where [the] 2012 Markopoulos retrospective left off, offering a rare chance to see films made between 1967 and 1969. The series coincides with the launch of Film as Film: The Collected Writings of Gregory J. Markopoulos (The Visible Press, 2014), a volume that offers essential reading and insights into the mind of a poet filmmaker. We welcome the book’s editor, London-based film curator Mark Webber, who will introduce the programs. (Susan Oxtoby)
The first film Markopoulos made after relocating to Europe, Bliss depicts a small church on the Greek island of Hydra. The elegantly spare Gammelion was filmed in and around the castle of Roccasinibalda in Italy. It is “structured by a thousand slow fades in and out of black-and-white leader . . . On the soundtrack there are snatches of Roussel, the sound of horses’ hooves over pavement, and the voice of the filmmaker reading Rilke’s lines: ‘To be loved means to be consumed. To love means to radiate with inexhaustible light. To be loved is to pass away, to love is to endure’” (P. Adams Sitney).
BLISS US/Greece, 1967, 6 mins, Color, 16mm, From Temenos Archive
GAMMELION US/Italy, 1967, 54 mins, Color, 16mm, From Temenos Archive
Total running time: 60 mins
With thanks to Robert Beavers and Temenos Archive.
Film as Film is now available in our online store!