Thursday, February 16, 2012

Seconds of Eternity III: The Films of Gregory J. Markopoulos

The Illiac Passion and Ming Green (1964–67)

Pacific Film Archive

presented in association with Pacific Film Archive
[PFA Admission Apply]
Order advance tickets here.

A loving and deftly orchestrated color study of an apartment, Ming Green is one of the filmmaker’s most sensuous films about place. Studded with art stars from the New York scene, The Illiac Passion, a contemporary Odyssean journey, is the most elaborate of Markopoulos‘ completed films and has been compared to Kenneth Anger’s Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome. Markopoulos considered numerous plans and aesthetic strategies before arriving at the film’s final form. The central character is inspired by Aeschylus’s Prometheus Bound, which had fascinated Markopoulos since his teens. “For a viewer seeing this extravagant ode to creation some thirty years after its making, the film’s most plangent moments involve Markopoulos’ affectionate casting of friends as mythical figures—Andy Warhol’s Poseidon pumping on an Exercycle above a sea of plastic, Taylor Mead’s Demon leaping, grimacing and streaming vermilion fringes, and (Jack) Smith’s bohemian Orpheus, spending a quiet afternoon at home with Eurydice.” (Kristin M. Jones) We hear Markopoulos reading from Thoreau’s translation of Prometheus Bound, but instead of straightforward oration, Markopoulos “selects words for repetition as he reads, making the literal sense of the text thoroughly abstract.” (P. Adams Sitney) (Susan Oxtoby, Pacific Film Archive)