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by Kate Gellene
November 18th, 2011

Though the New York Film Festival has already come and gone, the Film Society of Lincoln Center continues to provide exciting and rare experiences to the New York film community. This week promises at least two unique events which will challenge as well as entertain.

Beginning tonight is two-night only cinematic event, Tales from the Gimli Hospital: Reframed. The screening is part of the biennial series Performa,  dedicated to exploring the importance of live performance in Twentieth Century visual art. Guy Maddin’s original film, the cult hit that began his career in the early 1980s, “tells the dreamlike, elliptical story of the jealousy and madness instilled in two men sharing a hospital room in a remote Canadian village.” This low budget, underseen film combines traditions of expressionist psychological drama with black comedy and touches of surrealist horror. In a modern recreation of silent film exhibition techniques, the film will be presented with live accompaniment as well as a live presentation of the director’s revised narration.

Reframed revises Maddin’s original 1988 film by updating almost all aspects of the film’s soundtrack, all of which will be created live for the event. Maddin’s revised narration will be performed by Icelandic musician Kristín Anna Valtýsdóttir (Kria Brekkan). Matthew Patton presents a new score that will be performed by an ensemble of talented musicians: Gyda Valtýsdóttir, Borgar Magnason, and Maria Huld Markan Sigfúsdóttir on cello, double bass, and violent, respectively. In addition to the musical score, the presentation will also include the rare experience of live “Foley” sound by Paul Coley, and what the curators describe as “additional musical atmosphere” created by the Aono Jikken Ensemble.

This weekend’s exciting event will be followed by another experimental limited engagement screening on Monday evening: Views from the Avant-Garde: An Evening With Greta Snider. The event will be a two part series and includes films that span Snider’s career as an experimental filmmaker. Program 1 is composed of highlights from Greta’s earlier work on 16mm, a collection of audio and visual experiences that combines photography, found footage, and the filmmaker’s own experiences of the San Francisco punk scene in the early 1990s. Her work includes experiments with simultaneous soundtracks (Blood Story, 1990), engaging personal accounts of a scraped together journey with friends (Portland, 1996), and an audio travelogue of the San Francisco punk scene, as recorded and described by Snider.

Program 2 consists of the filmmaker’s more recent work, in collaboration with Johunna Grayson. Together they have created a series of slide show projections comprised of hand-processed photographs and stereoscopic images. The series is described as an updated on the ‘campy Viewmaster format’; it riffs on the concept of the travelogue to present the unseen and underground aspects. Subjects range from forgotten aspects of the everyday (“old man bars”, flowers, parts of the body..) to the extreme (a Viewmaster series of atomic test blasts). Snider’s films explore the importance of small memories, retrieving pieces of ephemera from the underground and re-presenting them on screen.

Tickets for both events are available in advance through the Film Society of Lincoln Center website. Tales From Gimli Hospital: Reframed will run tonight and tomorrow evening, with screenings at both 7 and 9pm each night. Advance tickets are available for a discounted $25, and can be purchased at the door for $30. Views from the Avant-Garde: An Evening With Greta Snider will take place on Monday 11/21 at 6:30 & 9pm. Tickets are available separately for $13, or as a double-feature for just $20.

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Rooftop Films is a New York based non-profit whose mission is to engage diverse communities by showing independent movies in outdoor locations, producing new films, coordinating youth media education, and renting equipment at low cost to artists.

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