Rather than close down Rosenbush Café I am making fundamental menu modifications coinciding with obdurate circumstances beyond my control.
The Saturday Midnight Movie series has been cancelled due to indifference from readers and personal impassiveness anticipated because of current business outside the realm of the ether and Rosenbush Café. The previous films will remain in the archives under El Cine: Entertainment Section.
I may revive the series, if there is interest; however, with increasingly difficult times ahead I need to focus my consciousness on circumstances requiring all my concentration since it is a solitary effort.
Our Main Course will eternally feature Kalliope Amorphous and I am resolute in promoting all of her successes: exhibits, featured works in publications, on the ether and in the corporeal world, and each of her professional sites. Kalliope is the most significant artistic influence today in the world of self-portrait photography, poetry and writing. Her inspiration has encouraged me to continue my activities even in the face of personal disenchantment.
All menu links will remain and there will be new ones added when essential to my pursuit of artistic, imaginative and inspirational meditation.
Hypnagogique will remain on Mondays; however, since I am not a skillful poet I will revive older material rather than devote time to an area of expertise outside my purview. The conclusion of the two-part reminiscence of my journey to Maine will be featured Monday.
Wednesday Ladies’ Night will be truncated and essentially offer beloved music, from my discography, with brief illuminations concerning the performers and continue published under Obsessive Collector.
There will be weekly eXisTenTiaLNihLisT treatises; two more for May: “Encounters with Mental Renovations of Soul’s Property Condemnation” will explore sinister regions of the psyche and the accepted obliteration of personal freedoms, and “Hatching Inspiration from the Misery Egg” investigates mythological archetypes, as an enduring alternative to ordinary existence on this planet.
Occasional feline essays will appear and later this summer I propose to take all of the CSP (Cool Side of the Pillow) stories concerning my experiences with Alzheimer’s disease and my mothers’ death and merge them into a multivariate series. I will delete a number of insignificant past entries from 2007-08 or, when applicable, repost them with revisions.
I neither consider my actions frivolous nor my accomplishments meaningless; I will not vacillate in continuous publication of this blog; however, it is imperative I conclude my mission to liberate my spirit and I have the chutzpah to succeed.
Thanks to everyone for their support of this free enterprise and your ongoing patience is appreciated beyond simple words from my humble heart.
Henry B. Rosenbush
Earthlings, pay close attention to this weekend’s Midnight Movie which when released in 1967 was controversial due to its subject matter that the human race owed its survival to Martians. The Catholic Church issued warnings to its flock that the film was a sacrilegious attack on organized religion! Only the most blinkered viewer will find this film heretical or contentious while all others will enjoy the “What if” leitmotif of human life manipulated by otherworldly intelligence.
One of my all time favorites is the Hammer Films release of Quatermass and the Pit; third in the four film series by Nigel Kneale and part of this writer’s brilliant 1950s BBC televised programs. QP is profound and played straight and with great performances by a host of excellent British actors. Combining science fiction’s “What if?” leitmotif, world mythology pertaining to gargoyles and the Devil, telekinesis and religion, QP is somber and is the kind of film where naught is wasted on superfluous subplots or ineffectual special effects.
A signature quote from the film, once an earthman realizes his genuine ancestry; I knew I was one will chill your blood to frosty temperatures once seen through the perspective of the comprehensive film.
There will also be a retrospective of the other Q films; The Quatermass Xperiment, Quatermass 2 and Quatermass Conclusion and a look at the BBC programs that introduced Professor Bernard Quatermass into the science fiction film character lexicon.
Don’t be fooled by the trailer; this is a serious and exceptional film guaranteed to make one think about the true origins of human life on earth and the consequences of ignorance.
Lumière translates, in English, as light, and brothers, Auguste Marie Louis Nicolas (1862-1954) and Louis Jean (1864-1848), born in Besançon, France, would light up early cinema with a significant impact.
Their father, Claude-Antoine Lumière (1840–1911), operated a photographic firm, where the brothers worked, and after his retirement began making films. They were responsible for several historic patents, including film perforations (originally implemented by Emile Reynaud), allowing film to move through projectors; Louis took the dry-plate process, for still photography, and made major improvements leading towards moving images.
The license for the their film camera known as the cinematograph, was originally attibuted to its creator French inventor Léon Bouly in February 12, 1892, but was purchased by the brothers after Bouly was unable to pay for the patent for the Cinématographe Léon Bouly and lost it to Auguste and Louis.
The Lumière’s first film was Sortie de l’usine Lumière de Lyon (1894). In this collection of ten short films, the subject matter ranges from employees exiting the Lumière factories in Lyon to a train arriving at La Ciotat, a baby eating and a bit of slapstick humor involving a sprinkler. These selections, like last weeks’ from Edison, came from the 1994 Blackhawk Films DVD, “Landmarks of Early Film” (1886-1913) which is still available through Amazon and Barnes and Noble and a must for any collector of serious cinema.
While watching my copy again, in preparation for this series on early cinema, I was constantly in awe by the simple silent beauty of early movies and how genius from the human mind, of these pioneers, took still photographic images and, through the creation of new technologies transported us into a new dimension. Everything we enjoy about today’s movie experience was made possible by these innovative and, unfortunately, often under-appreciated or forgotten, inventors.
The next time you are sitting in a darkened theater, awaiting the feature presentation, take a moment to pay homage to these pioneers and how thay took brief glimpses of reality and merged it with imagination to create an entirely new art form.
Lumière’s films, like Edison’s, looked at everyday life and ordinary experiences. Today’s jaded audiences would probably be bored at the simple joys of early cinema and that is naturally a shame because it is easy to fantasize about the pioneering days when each new image was something never seen before as captured on moving film. Many take for granted, in contemporary cinema, that in the beginning the images of people walking, eating, pulling pranks on one another and enjoying themselves were profound experiences when viewed on film for the very first time.
Another early classic of the silent era is Luis Buñuel’s 1930 L’Âge d’Or (Age of Gold) and his second film following 1929’s Un Chien Andalou.
L’Âge d’Or (1930), attacks organized religion and society and like, many future films by the celebrated Spanish director, was banned in most parts of the world. At the original screening, it so enraged audience members that some of them went through the lobby and destroyed Dadaist art works, on display by Salvador Dalí (who scripted d’Or with the director), Joan Miró, Man Ray and Yves Tanguy.
The 62-minute silent subtitled collection of interlinked vignettes offered everything from a documentary on desert scorpions to the sight of the hero throwing, from an upstairs window, a donkey, plow, feather pillow and archbishop!
The film opens with a scene of two lovers writhing in mud during a ceremony to commemorate the founding of the Eternal City of Rome. The film is an eye-opening experience containing just about every surrealist symbol possible and among the cast are fellow Dadaist artists Max Ernst and Paul Eluard.
Not for everyone but for lovers of the Dadaist art movement it will be more enjoyable, especially seeing the many surreal tropes that will become reoccurring leitmotifs throughout Buñuel’s filmography, including: religious iconography subverted, lavish dinner parties where nothing goes as planned and the fetishistic desires of men.
Edited on 12.22.12 11p
Left this post up out of respect but there is no longer the same menu as when this went up March 22, 2010. Many projects were dropped due to diminishing interest.
“We Never Close” is an abstruse existential expression meaning that even while most of you are sleeping the café continues, equipped with delights to feed hungry souls by satiating appetites and quenching thirsts, with desirable cocktails of diversions that will embrace isolation from spiritual loneliness.
Monday is for poetry (Laughing Ricochet); Wednesday, Ladies Night; and Saturday Midnight Movies (El Cine) presents retrospectives of Avant-Garde, Surreal, Dadaist, Foreign, Documentary and Esoteric Cinema.
The arduous procedure of locating non-operational links, disconnected movie excerpts, trailers and music videos, missing photographs and editing of past blog posts for syntactic errors and wide-ranging erroneousness continues daily.
Older posts that are pertinent to contemporary stories are being re-edited, updated, and in many cases, removed from their original publish dates and reissued for new readers to enjoy. eXisTenTiaLNihLisT, femme fatale felines and the MIFW-B and Obsessive Collector columns will continue when the menu permits.
Kalliope Amorphous is “Our Main Course” and her extraordinary talent as poetess, photographer and humanitarian is a highly recommended banquet. Reservations are never needed and there are plenty of literary, visual and musical treats available on her sites.
Still thirsty? We’ll pour you a glass of literary sustenance at LK Thayer’s Juice Bar
Rosenbush Café Midnight Movie series continues with a retrospective of landmarks of early cinema with Edison Kinetoscope Films (1894-96), and “The Great Train Robbery” (1903). Next weekend will conclude with the Lumière Films (1895-97) and a preview of April’s films.
I contacted the American Film Institute for their view on early films and received this reply from their catalog staff:
“Although the AFI does not endorse particular theories about which film was the earliest, we can tell you that many film historians name Edison Kinetoscopic Record of a Sneeze, which was released in early 1894, as the first exhibited film.”
Fred Ott, an Edison employee
An early bit of surreal slapstick comedy; later essential Monty Python’s Flying Circus restaurant parody leitmotifs:
Edison’s early films depicted everyday events like the simple act of kissing, more daring in the 19th Century, and what may be considered mundane rituals by today’s jaded theater goers, that nonetheless fascinated audiences in the 1890s: a woman feeding birds, boxing match, serpentine dances, men in a barber shop and the cute “Seminary Girls” with pillow fighters in nightgowns, again daring for its time, but tame by even Saturday morning television cartoon standards today.
In addition to everyday life the earliest films included nude women in poses with the esthetics of animated French Postcards. These shots are far more risqué than Edison’s or Lumière films and the scantily clad ladies were displayed walking, sitting and generally exposed in a manner that in today’s cinema would probably result in a PG rating!
Tonight’s cartoon comes from Max (Popeye) Fleischer and is called Bimbo’s Initiation (1931). Plenty of the usual toon surrealism with the living candle flames a personal favorite. A story of “membership” for a secret organization (Knights, Masons or whatever) with the gallows humorous Fleischer style; M.C. Escher inspired moving staircases, faux exits, nifty score and cameo by Betty Boop!
Tonight’s feature presentation is the silent western, “The Great Train Robbery” by former Edison Studio cameraman Edwin S. Porter, who directed and photographed the “on-location” story (many early films were shot on sets) and employed many clever techniques including: double exposures, cross cutting, simple editing and camera movements to the mostly linear narrative story. Some prints had hand colored scenes (watch closely at the 7 minute 14 second mark when the daughter of the bound telegraph operator arrives). The final frame is the famous iconic image of a robber shooting at the audience! Could qualify as the first 3-D effect, sans glasses.
This scene has inspired many filmmakers, most notably Alfred Hitchcock, who used it in “Spellbound” (1945), when Leo G. Carroll turned a pistol towards himself, and the audience, to commit suicide. Hitch used one color frame, in the otherwise black and white psychological thriller, as the gun fires towards us and Carroll’s head! Spellbound was famous for artist Salvador Dali’s dream sequence (really more like a nightmare considering the Surrealist’s unnerving imagery) that provides psychiatrist Dr. Constance Petersen (Ingrid Bergman) with information to unlock the troubled mind of colleague Dr. Anthony Edwardes (Gregory Peck).
If you are interested in this era, the AFI suggests:
“American Silent Films” by William K. Everson.
the Library of Congress Motion Picture Broadcasting & Recorded Sound Division LOC
The Margaret Herrick Library of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Oscars
The final examination of the landmarks of early cinema concludes Saturday, March 27th with Lumière Films and my reposting (from October 15, 2008) of Luis Buñuel’s L’Âge d’Or.