Rooftop Cinema, 2014

From Puppets to Pixels: a Summer of Animation



Bring a friend, bring a blanket or camp chairs, and prepare yourself for an evening
of avant-garde and independent films and videos under the stars. Rooftop Cinema
returns for its ninth season in the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art's rooftop
sculpture garden. Five evenings of animated short films start after sundown on
Friday June 6, 13, 20, 27, and August 22. Each week in June features a mini-
retrospective of one of four different pioneering animators, from the surreal tales of
Jan Svankmajer to the 3-D computer landscapes (yes, we will pass out 3-D glasses!)
of Lillian Schwartz. Our 2014 season concludes in August with a program featuring
selections from all four animators not shown earlier in the summer. Rooftop Cinema
is generously sponsored by maiahaus and Venture Investors LLC.
This popular series is curated by Tom Yoshikami, doctoral candidate in the
Department of Communication Arts and advisor at the Wisconsin Union, University of
Wisconsin-Madison, and organized by MMoCA’s education department. Technical
support is provided by Mike King.
Rooftop Cinema screenings begin at sundown, roughly 9:30 p.m in June and 8:30
pm in August. Rooftop Cinema is free for MMoCA members/$7 per screening for the
general public; tickets are available from the lobby reception desk beginning one
hour before screen time. Rooftop Cinema will relocate to MMoCA’s lecture hall if rain
is predicted.
For more information, contact Tom Yoshikami.
Visit MMoCA’s Rooftop Webpage.
Follow Rooftop Cinema on Facebook and Twitter.
BRIEF SCHEDULE

June 6: The Magical Garden of Jan Svankmajer
The Garden (Zahrada) (1968, Czechoslovakia, 19 min.)
Jabberwocky (Zvahlav) (1971, Czechoslovakia, 12 min.)
Food (1992, UK/Czechoslovakia, 17 min.)

June 13: The Animated Poetry of Caroline Leaf
Sand, or Peter and the Wolf (1968, Canada, 10 min.)
The Street (1976, Canada, 10 min.)
The Metamorphosis of Mr. Samsa (1977, Canada, 9 min.)
Two Sisters (1991, Canada, 10 min.)

June 20: The Cabinet of B!etislav Pojar
To See or Not to See (1969, Canada, 15 min.)
Baleblok (1972, Canada, 8 min.)
E (with Francine Desbiens, 1981, Canada, 7 min.)
Narkoblues (1997, Canada, 8 min.)
Why (1995, Canada, 9 min)
Mouseology (1994, Canada, 9 min.)

June 27: The Digital World of Lillian Schwartz
Pixilation (1970, US, 4 min.)
UFO’S (1971, US, 3 min.)
Olympiad (1971, US, 3 min.)
Mutations (1972, US, 7.5 min.)
Apotheosis (1972, US, 4.5 min.)
Googolplex (1972, US, 5.5 min.)
Enigma (1972, US, 4 min.)
Papillons (1973, US, 4 min.)
Mirage (1974, US, 5 min.)
Alae (1975, US, 5 min.)
Collage (1975, US, 5.5 min.)

August 22 – From Puppets to Pixels
Dimensions of Dialogue (Moznosti dialogu) (Svankmajer, 1983,
Czechoslovakia, 11 min.)
Interview (Leaf, 1979, Canada, 13 min.)
I Met a Man (Leaf, 1991, Canada, 1 min.)
Narkoblues (Pojar, 1997, Canada, 8 min.)
Fantasies (Schwartz, 1976, US, 5 min.)
La Spiritata (Schwartz, 1976, US, 4 min.)
Newtonian II (Schwartz, 1978, US, 5.5 min.)





SCHEDULE

JUNE 6: THE MAGICAL GARDEN OF JAN SVANKMAJER

Legendary Czech filmmaker Jan Svankmajer is primarily known for his feature films
that combine meticulous stop-motion animation and live action in bizarre,
dreamlike narratives. Perhaps his best known is Alice, a 1987 adaptation of Alice in
Wonderland. But as impressive as his use of puppets in Alice and his reimagining
of Faust (1994) may be, his features contain only a fraction of the imagination that
can be found in his short films, a body of work that articulates one of the most
individual and fascinating world views in the annals of animation. His work has had a
strong influence on the careers of filmmakers like Tim Burton and Terry Gilliam. Our
program features three of Svankmajer’s most ambitious short films, including his
absurdist live-action The Garden, which has never previously screened theatrically in
the US. [Description adapted from an article in The New York Times.]
The Garden (Zahrada) (1968, Czechoslovakia, 19 min.)
Jabberwocky (Zvahlav) (1971, Czechoslovakia, 12 min.)
Food (1992, UK/Czechoslovakia, 17 min.)





JUNE 13: THE ANIMATED POETRY OF CAROLINE LEAF


The films of Caroline Leaf dramatically expand a tradition of artistic and artisanal
animation that flourished in Canada and, to a lesser extent, the United States during
the 1960s and 1970s. Although she has made few films, Leaf pioneered important
new aesthetic and technical approaches to narrative animation, which have remained
deeply influential over later artists such as William Kentridge.
Made while in college, Leaf’s very first film Sand, or Peter and the Wolf, immediately
revealed her talent in direct animation, working without any kind of image
background or structural armature but here, instead, “drawing” live by manipulating
and sculpting sand on glass, a painstaking and elusive technique with truly magical
results. Movement, character, and environment are fused in a unique fashion in
Leaf’s films, rendered with a startling immediate and intimate poetry. Made by
painting directly on a pane of glass, The Street, powerfully evokes a post-WWII
tenement neighborhood from the point of view of a young boy coming of age, with
Leaf’s swirling, ever shifting figures delicately intertwining his actual and imagined
point of views.
Leaf’s skills in adapting literature reached a further high point in her poignant Kafka
adaptation, The Metamorphosis of Mr. Samsa, where the shape-shifting logic of her
animation found an ideal and arresting subject. One of her darkest and most moving
films, Leaf’s most recent work Two Sisters was a notable departure—her first time
working with an original story of her own and her first to embrace the technique of
scratching directly onto the emulsion of 70mm film stock. [Description adapted from
the Harvard Film Archive.]
Sand, or Peter and the Wolf (1968, Canada, 10 min.)
The Street (1976, Canada, 10 min.)
The Metamorphosis of Mr. Samsa (1977, Canada, 9 min.)
Two Sisters (1991, Canada, 10 min.)
JUNE 20: THE CABINET OF B"ETISLAV POJAR

One of the most important figures in the storied history of Czech animation, B!etislav
Pojar first gained recognition as a leading figure in AFIT Studio (Studio of Film
Tricks) as a puppeteer and an early adopter of what is known as relief puppet
animation, a technique that enables far greater freedom of movement. After a
successful career in Czechoslovakia, Pojar emigrated to Canada in 1960, where he
began a fruitful thirty-year collaboration with the National Film Board of Canada and
where he produced some of his best work. Featuring relief puppetry as well as
traditional stop-motion and drawn animation techniques, Pojar’s Canadian films are
notable for their mesmerizing visual storytelling, strong social commentary, and
sophisticated sense of humor. Our program features five of Pojar’s NFB-produced
films.
To See or Not to See (1969, Canada, 15 min.)
Baleblok (1972, Canada, 8 min.)
E (with Francine Desbiens, 1981, Canada, 7 min.)
Narkoblues (1997, Canada, 8 min.)
Why (1995, Canada, 9 min.)
Mouseology (1994, Canada, 9 min.)




JUNE 27: THE DIGITAL WORLD OF LILLIAN SCHWARTZ


Lillian Schwartz is one of the pioneers in computer art and is known as the first
female artist to use computers as an art tool. In the 1960s, when Schwartz first
began to explore this new medium for artistic expression, the common public
perception was that such works were randomly created by the computers
themselves. From the beginning, however, Schwartz made it clear in her work that
the creative genius of the artist was in command of her technological toolbox. She
even published a practical survey of the field, The Computer Artist’s Handbook. Even
before becoming a member of the group, Experiments in Art and Technology (EAT),
Schwartz had long demonstrated a keen interest in the combination of art with
technology and science. Although fascinated with the technological aspects of the
computer as a new approach to creating art, Schwartz was most concerned with the
finished product—the permanent work of art. In the early computer works, one will
find the somewhat limited results of the computer program enhanced with beautiful
colors in more traditional materials, such as silkscreen and film. In time, the
technology advanced to the degree that her digital works created with the computer
could be viewed in their finished state on a high-quality monitor and printed out with
the intensity and nuances of color desired. She continues to experiment and to push
the medium to achieve the results for which she is striving. [Adapted from the Lillian
Feldman Schwartz Collection, Ohio State University Libraries.]
Pixilation (1970, US, 4 min.) UFO’S (1971, US, 3 min.)
Olympiad (1971, US, 3 min.) Mutations (1972, US, 7.5 min.)
Apotheosis (1972, US, 4.5 min.) Googolplex (1972, US, 5.5 min.)
Enigma (1972, US, 4 min.) Papillons (1973, US, 4 min.)
Mirage (1974, US, 5 min.) Alae (1975, US, 5 min.)
Collage (1975, US, 5.5 min.)

AUGUST 22: FROM PUPPETS TO PIXELS



Our season concludes in August with an additional selection of short films by the four
artists featured in June.
Dimensions of Dialogue (Moznosti dialogu) (Svankmajer, 1983, Czechoslovakia,
11 min.)
Interview (Leaf, 1979, Canada, 13 min.)
I Met a Man (Leaf, 1991, Canada, 1 min.)
Narkoblues (Pojar, 1997, Canada, 8 min.)
Fantasies (Schwartz, 1976, US, 5 min.)
La Spiritata (Schwartz, 1976, US, 4 min.)
Newtonian II (Schwartz, 1978, US, 5.5 min.)

RESOURCES
For High Resolution Images from each series, visit:
https://drive.google.com/folderview?id=0B5uwkrZYtM5Ud3RIRXYtYndpYWM&usp=sh
aring
THE MAGICAL GARDEN OF JAN SVANKMAJER
Links to articles by and interviews with Svankmajer
Siskel Center Series on Svankmajer
Watch Jabberwocky
Watch The Garden
Watch Food
Watch Dimensions of Dialogue
CAROLINE LEAF
Leaf’s Webpage
Harvard Film Archive on Leaf
Watch The Metamorphosis of Mr. Samsa
Watch The Street
B"ETISLAV POJAR
Watch Pojars’s films
Pojar’s Obituary
LILLIAN SCHWARTZ
Lillian Schwartz’s Webpage
Descriptions of and Links to all of Schwartz’s films

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