Hors champ presents
— 30 October-1st November 2008, Cinémathèque québécoise —
In collaboration with the Cinémathèque québécoise, the Web Journal Hors champ (www.horschamp.qc.ca) will be presenting a cycle of films by New York experimental filmmaker Ernie Gehr : a rare occasion to discover the work of a true pioneer of the American Avant-Garde, from October 30 through November 1. Ernie Gehr will be in Montreal to present the three evenings of screenings (9 16mm gems) and a « Master Class » (in English) on the relationship between experimental cinema and early cinema.
Ernie Gehr and André Habib (organizer of the event and co-editor of Hors champ) will be also available for interviews.
The Films of Ernie Gehr (finally in Montreal)
Ernie Gehr is, alongside Stan Brakhage, Michael Snow and Peter Kubelka, one of the pillars of experimental cinema. His films, and more recently his video and installation works, reveal a fascination for urban landscapes, sites of memory (Passage, Signal-Germany on the Air), perspective and the limits of perception (Serene Velocity), as well as optic toys (Cotton Candy), the origins of cinema (Eureka) or simply the tracing of light on film (Wait, Mirage). The conceptual rigor and the visual power of his films seem to operate a reduction of cinema to its fundamental elements, as if starting anew, each time, and rediscovering the destabilizing shock of the origins of cinema as well as its radical transformation of the visible. His films, that we could wrongly consider "minimalist", are on the contrary the site of profound interior experiences. Made up of light, space, duration, movement, Ernie Gehr's films also bare a documentary trace, always at the precise intersection of a specific time and place, whether it be a street in New York in 1971 (Shift), of San Francisco at the turn of the XXth Century (Eureka) or in the early 90's (Side/Walk/Shuttle), or of Berlin in 1989, right before the fall of the Wall (This Side of Paradise).
Although it is quoted in all the anthologies of avant-garde cinema, has been regularly written about by the most important scholars (Sitney, Gunning, Skoller, Michelsson, etc.) and praised by critics and film historians, the films of Ernie Gehr are proverbially hard to see. Hors champ has tried to modestly remedy this situation, by presenting, for the first time in Montreal, some essential "moments" of his vast filmography. Ernie Gehr will be in Montreal to present to programs and take part in a "Master Class".
Hors champ (www.horschamp.qc.ca) receives the support of the Canada Arts Council and the Montreal Arts Council. This specific programme was made possible thanks to a contribution by the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema of Concordia University, as well as the Département d'Histoire de l'art et d'études cinématographiques of the Université de Montréal.