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A Hollis Frampton Odyssey (The Criterion Collection)
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We have seen the release of films by Stan Brakhage via two anthology volumes on Blu-ray but yet, fans have hoped to see an anthology or special release showcasing the work of Maya Deren, Kenneth Anger, Ernie Gehr, Andy Warhol, Marie Menken, Pat O'Neill and Hollis Frampton, to name a few.
With the support from those who enjoyed the "Stan Brakhage Anthology" release, Criterion Collection has chosen some of the best work of avante-garde filmmaker Hollis Frampton, in order to help introduce Frampton's oeuvre to curious cineaste but also please a following who have wanted to see a more thorough collection of his hard-to-find films.
Hollis Frampton is one of the most unique and talented filmmakers, especially when you follow his career as a student at Harvard University and Western Reserve University who was looked at by his peers as a genius but at the same time, he was also the type that walked the beat of his own drum and while taking a lot of classes that he wanted to take, he never graduated.
But it's the third of learning of art that inspired Frampton. From his friendship with painters Frank Stella, sculptor Carl Andre to developing a correspondence with modernist poet Ezra Pound, Frampton would take an interest in photography documenting Carl Andre's work.
And with his pursuit of creativity, Frampton would explore his ideas through filmmaking and showcasing his experimental use of film, audio and also digital art through the use of computers during that time of his life.Read more ›
The movies themselves challenge the viewer. Frampton has some basic topics he likes to address: the material work of movies and moviemaking, forms of human experience and perception, the promises and disappointments of arcane knowledge. He likes to push the audience past the point of comfortable viewing. It an approach to film making that is directly related to the approach of conceptual artists, and it has the same effects. The experience of watching his movies, even short ones, can be confusing and stretch concentration past its limits.
There was a burst of creative film-making in New York beginning in the late 50s and running through the early 80s. For two generations, artists like Bruce Connor and Michael Snow, Lou Reed and Andy Warhol, Beth B and Richard Kern made movies that refused to let the audience sit comfortably in a dark room watching familiar projected images. Hollis Frampton is is one of the most important of those artists. By assembling this small collection, Criterion has made it a little easier to understand this difficult but important film maker.
The video quality on these films varies quite a bit. The earlier films look a bit rough, but Zorns Lemma, Nostalgia and The Magellan Cycle all look quite good. Criterion, I'm sure, has done the best they could with what they had.
Sound quality fairs the same. Many of these films lack a soundtrack, but when it's present, sound effects and dialogue come across well.
The extras are actually a fairly big draw to the set. Most of the films come with remarks by Hollis Frampton himself. He doesn't have the most engaging delivery, but his comments are interesting and provide some much needed insight into these films. A 20-minute interview with Frampton included, as well as a lecture by Frampton narrated by Michael Snow, and a collection of product labels designed by Frampton.
A terrific set, but not for the unconverted.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This has got to be one of the worst things I've ever watched. These short films look like you got a child a video camera and told them to go nuts. Some have sound some don't. Read morePublished on July 6, 2013 by Syntastic
There seems to be two kinds of film buyers: those that have a good idea of what they like and can tell from synopses and reviews whether something will be for them, and those who... Read morePublished on June 22, 2012 by J.