Friday, October 9, 2009

My Hand Outstretched…

Films of Robert Beavers: Program II

Yerba Buena Center for the Arts

Robert Beavers in person
(See Thursday October 8 for Series Overview)
[members: $6 / non-members: $10]
Order advance tickets here.

Early Monthly Segments, filmed when Beavers was eighteen and nineteen years old, is a stylized work of self-portraiture, depicting the filmmaker and his companion Gregory J. Markopoulos in their Swiss lodgings. The film functions as a diary, documenting the familiar with great love and transforming objects and ordinary personal effects into a highly charged work of homoeroticism. From the Notebook of…, is a masterful work of structural harmony, binary oppositions and self-reflexive form. The title refers to Leonardo da Vinci’s notebook and to the filmmaker’s own written observations on filmmaking techniques. Beavers’ view of the world (in this case, Florence) is mediated by a careful sequencing of moving mattes which split the screen vertically, giving the effect of a page turning in a book. Gloriously shot and edited, the film is simultaneously introspective and engaged in understanding the world. Emblematic images include a dove being set free, the lush green leaf of a plant and the male form. Beavers has written on Efpsychi: , “The details of the young actor’s face — his eyes, eyebrows, earlobe, chin, etc. — are set opposite the old buildings in the market quarter of Athens… He speaks a single word, teleftea, meaning ‘the last (one).'” Sotiros, incorporates narrative film devices such as intertitle cards into a metaphorical dialogue between two male lovers, revealed largely through the luminous depiction of everyday objects in their shared world. A color palette of pastels and golden hues and the strains of Alban Berg’s opera Wozzeck enrich the film’s emotional character. The Stoas, includes images of the deserted industrial arcades (stoas) of Athens during siesta and the refreshing waters of a bountiful river. Writes New York City critic/curator Ed Halter, “An ineffable, unnamable immanence flows through the images of The Stoas, a kind of presence of the human soul expressed through the sympathetic absence of the human figure.” (Susan Oxtoby)