Futurist Life Redux 2011
Distributed by Microcinema International/Microcinema DVD, 2169 Folsom Street, Suite M101, San Francisco, CA 94110; 415-447-9750
Produced by Portland Green Cultural Projects, SFMoma, Performa
Directed by various
DVD, color, 45 min.
Sr. High - General Adult
Art, Art History, Film Studies, Media Studies
Date Entered: 03/14/2012Reviewed by Jennifer Dean, MALS student, City Univerity of New York (CUNY Graduate Center)
Performa and Anthology Film Archives, with the help of SFMoma and Portland Green Cultural Projects, commissioned several well known contemporary video artists to create short vignettes based on scenes from Vita Futurista (1916), the only Futurist film created by Arnaldo Ginna and other Futurist artists. During the original screening in 1916 the audience erupted with displeasure at this experimental exploration of what was then a relatively new medium. No copies of the original film survive, only a few stills and written descriptions of scenes. Those written descriptions were sent randomly to each one of the artists participating in Futurist Life Redux, so that they could create video pieces inspired by their designated scene. What results is a delightful mix of clever, thought-provoking and humorous short films each expressing the unique vision of the artist while highlighting different aspects of the Futurist movement. Although a mainstream cinema going audience may have a similar reaction to that of the audience of 1916, having come to expect a straightforward narrative, much of our current culture is used to this kind of post-Warhol – YouTube expression.
According to the curators’ essay which is included in the DVD extras, film was considered by the Futurists to be “the expressive medium most adapted to the complex sensibility of a Futurist artist.” Although this collection is much more than either a simple homage to the Futurist movement or a particularly witty set of YouTube videos, it does address aspects of both. It would be a useful collection not only for art history (exploring the Futurist movement) or film studies (examining the evolution of film as an art form and the inevitable loss of history due to the ephemerality of early film) but also media studies programs. Included in the extras are also some interesting interviews with artists George Kuchar and Lynn Hershman Leeson, Ben Coonly and Shana Moulton, and a synopsis of and stills from the original film Vita Futurista.