Thursday, March 31, 2011


In Search of Christopher Maclaine—Man, Artist, Legend

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

[members: $7 / non-members: $10]

In the 1950s, San Francisco Beat poet Christopher Maclaine made four films—The End, The Man Who Invented Gold, Beat and Scotch Hop. These films—with a collective running time of only sixty minutes—have largely been located at the margins of film history, the subject of rumor and speculation, largely unscreened and underappreciated. They have, nonetheless, exerted a strong influence on the language of cinema, profoundly influencing and anticipating the work of Stan Brakhage, Bruce Conner, Robert Nelson and countless others. Entwining the ecstatic and the absurd to a delirious degree these films never fail to provoke audience excitement with their hallucinatory and apocalyptic visions. Radical Light features three essays on the filmmaker—who died in a mental asylum in 1975—including an interview with Stan Brakhage on Maclaine by SFMOMA Open Space columnist Brecht Andersch. Scheduled to appear with Andersch and discuss their work with Maclaine are two of his collaborators on these early works—actor Wilder Bentley II and filmmaker Lawrence Jordan. Join us for what could possibly be the deepest exploration yet of the legendary artist described by Brakhage as “San Francisco’s Antonin Artaud.” (Brecht Andersch and Steve Polta)

Download program notes (PDF)