Opening Tuesday, September 24th, from 7PM - 9PM
A World Half-Consumed in the Heat of Its Own Desire is a 16mm-film program that includes four independently produced films from 1960s: Jack Smith’s “No President,” Ron Rice’s “Chumlum,” José Rodríguez-Soltero’s “Jerovi,” and Mike Kuchar’s “Green Desire.”
Jack Smith’s “No President” (1967, 45 min) is a descendent of the film performance “Kidnapping and Auctioning of Wendell Willkie by the Love Bandit,” which Jack Smith premiered at The Gate Theater from March 27 to April 9, 1968. “No President” contains segments from Wendell Willkie’s presidential campaign footage interwoven with scenes of Jack Smith’s creatures, from his previous shorts. This feature-length film was made as a political response to the 1968 presidential election, which saw the Republican nominee, former Vice President Richard Nixon, defeat the Democratic nominee, incumbent Vice President Hubert Humphrey. Jack Smith (1932-1989) was a self-taught artist who was recognized by theater critic Richard Foreman as “the hidden source of…experimental American theater.”
Ron Rice’s “Chumlum” (1964, 26 min) originally screened at The Gate Theater’s Classics of the Underground program in December 1967. Strongly influenced by Jack Smith’s evocative performances, “Chumlum” includes most of the cast from Jack Smith’s film “Normal Love.” Set mostly around a suspended hammock in Ron Rice’s loft, the filmmaker’s direct in-camera editing presents a supersaturated alternative reality of luscious colors and textures, sensual actors, and trance-inducing sounds. P. Adams Sitney described it as “a reverie in which time is stretched or folded over itself.” This film is titled after the cimbalom instrument played throughout the soundtrack by Angus McLise.
José Rodríguez-Soltero’s “Jerovi” (1965, 11.5 min) is a silent color film that was originally screened as part of The Gate Theater’s opening New Visions Festival. Featuring Jerovi Vail Sanson, in and out of a luxurious brocade robe, the film was entirely shot at the Golden Gate Park in San Francisco. Originally described by Gregory Markopoulos as “pornographic,” this film is more erotic than exploitive; “Jerovi” strongly affirms the emerging liberation of self-awareness, confidence, love, and acceptance of one’s self.
Mike Kuchar’s “Green Desire” (1966, 20 min) is a color film that originally screened at The Gate Theater’s New Visions Festival. More atmospheric than narrative, the film features young adults wandering through tall field grasses and expansive sand dunes, frequently overflowing with unsatiated yearnings. The soundtrack by Bob Cowan allows the screams of katydids to replace a traditional script.
A World Half-Consumed in the Heat of Its Own Desire is part of THE GATE THEATER FILM FESTIVAL 1966/2019, a week-long, 16mm-film festival that is taking place Tuesday, September 24, through Monday, September 30, from 7 to 9 pm at filmfront.
FILMFRONT is a community-based cine-club founded in July 2015 by Malia Haines-Stewart and Alan Medina. Dedicated to collaboration and open dialogue, filmfront—like The Gate Theater—is a place where audience members are not expected to have any previous education in, nor even exposure to, institutionalized fine arts.
THE GATE THEATER FILM FESTIVAL 1966/2019 is presented by curator and writer AMELIA ISHMAEL, as a tendril from her book manuscript The Black Gate Theater: Aldo Tambellini, Independent Film and Intermedia Performance in New York City’s Lower East Side 1965-1968; A Historic Revaluation of Experimental Arts Venues, Including The Bridge Theater and The Gate Theater.
THE GATE THEATER FILM FESTIVAL 1966/2019 is partially supported by an Individual Artists Program Grant from the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs & Special Events, as well as a grant from the Illinois Arts Council Agency, a state agency through federal funds provided by the National Endowment for the Arts. Projection and 16mm equipment supplied by Chicago Film Society. Archival film prints are from the Film-makers’ Coop, Harvard Film Archives, and Janus Films.
Advance reservations accepted at filmfront, Sunday 1-4 pm and Monday 1-8 pm. Individual tickets are available for $10; Festival passes are $45. At the door, suggested sliding-scale admission will be $5-10.