Underground Film Journal

Underground Film Timeline: 1970 — 1979

Timeline: Index

Below is a list of significant events and films in underground film history between the years 1970 and 1979.

Reference key:
D.C: David Curtis. Experimental Cinema. New York: Dell Pub., 1978.
D.E.J.: David E. James. The Most Typical Avant-garde: History and Geography of Minor Cinemas in Los Angeles. Berkeley: University of California, 2005.
J.S.: Jack Sargeant. Deathtripping: the Extreme Underground. Brooklyn: Soft Skull, 2008. (Originally published: London: Creation, 1995.)
P.A.S.: P. Adams Sitney. Visionary Film: the American Avant-garde, 1943-2000. New York: Oxford UP, 2002.
S.M.: Scott MacDonald. Canyon Cinema: the Life and times of an Independent Film Distributor. Berkeley: University of California, 2008.

1970

Major Events:

Expanded Cinema, a book that collects the columns of the same name written by Gene Youngblood and published in the Los Angeles Free Press, is published. (D.E.J.)

Significant Films:

U.S.:

Robert Beavers:
Still Light (P.A.S.)

Jordan Belson
World (P.A.S.)

Stan Brakhage:
The Animals of Eden and After (P.A.S.)
eyes (P.A.S.)
Scenes From Under Childhood (1967-70) (P.A.S.)

Robert Breer:
70 (P.A.S.)

James Broughton:
The Golden Positions (DVD) (P.A.S.)

Morgan Fisher:
Production Stills (D.E.J.)

Film still from Serene Velocity by Ernie Gehr featuring a shadowy hallway

Hollis Frampton:
Zorns Lemma (P.A.S.)
States (1967/1970) (P.A.S.)

Ernie Gehr:
History (P.A.S.)
Serene Velocity (P.A.S.)

James Herbert:
Porch Glider (D.C.)

Robert Nelson:
Bleu Shut (P.A.S.)

Andrew Noren:
Kodak Ghost Poems (D.C.)

Pat O’Neill:
Runs Good (1969-70) (D.C.)

David Rimmer:
Surfacing on the Thames (D.C.)

Paul Morrissey:
Trash (D.C.)

Paul Sharits:
S:TREAM:S:S:ECTION:S:ECTION:S:S:ECTIONED (P.A.S.)

John Waters:
Multiple Maniacs (J.S.)

England:

Jeff Keen:
Meatdaze (D.C.)

Malcolm Le Grice:
Spot the Microdot, Or How to Screw the CIA Part 1 (D.C.)

Germany:

William and Birgit Hein:
Work in Progress Teil A (1969-70) (Six parts: Takes, Catania, untitled, untitled, The Jewellery Robbery, untitled) (D.C.)

1971

Major Events:

Gregory Markopoulos publishes his collective writings, Chaos Phaos, but doesn’t include anything written before 1962. (P.A.S.)

Film still from Quick Billy featuring Bruce Baillie as a cowboy

Significant Films:

U.S.:

Bruce Baillie:
Quick Billy (P.A.S.) (D.C. lists as “1968–“)

Robert Beavers:
From the Notebook of… (P.A.S.)

Jordan Belson
Meditation (P.A.S.)

Stan Brakhage:
Deus ex (P.A.S.)
The Act of Seeing With One’s Own Eyes (DVD) (P.A.S.)

Ernie Gehr:
Still (P.A.S.)

Peter Hutton:
July ’71 in San Francisco, Living at Beach Street, Working at Canyon Cinema, Swimming in the Valley of the Moon (P.A.S.)

Jerome Hill:
Film Portrait (P.A.S.)

George Landow:
Remedial Reading Comprehension (P.A.S.)

Jonas Mekas:
Reminiscences of a Journey to Lithuania (P.A.S.)

Michael Snow:
The Central Region (P.A.S.)

1972

Major Events:

Peter Kubelka gives a seminar of his films at New York University, which is “the first public and extensive expression of his theoretical postion.” (P.A.S.)

Significant Films:

U.S.:

Robert Beavers:
The Painting (P.A.S.)
Work Done (P.A.S.)

Jordan Belson:
Chakra (P.A.S.)

Stan Brakhage:
The Riddle of Lumen (P.A.S.)

James Broughton:
Dreamwood (DVD) (P.A.S. also lists as 1971)

Hollis Frampton:
Hapax Legomena (1971-72) (Includes (nostalgia), Poetic Justice, Special Effects, Remote Control, Traveling Matte, Ordinary Matter and 1 other) (P.A.S.)

Film still from Pink Flamingos featuring Divine eating dog poop

George Landow:
What’s Wrong With This Picture? (P.A.S.)

Yvonne Rainer:
Lives of Performers (P.A.S.)

Warren Sonbert:
Carriage Trade (1968-72) (P.A.S.)

John Waters:
Pink Flamingoes (J.S.)

1973

Significant Films:

U.S.:

Stan Brakhage:
Sincerity (reel one) (P.A.S.)

1974

Major Events:

October 4: Peter Kubelka screens his films and participates in a discussion about his work at the San Francisco Cinematheque. A transcript of that discussion is eventually published in Canyon Cinema’s Canyon Cinemanews magazine. (S.M.)

Kodak begins producing syncsound Super-8 film. (J.S.)

Significant Films:

U.S.:

James Benning:
8 1/2 x 11 (P.A.S.)

Stan Brakhage:
The Text of Light (P.A.S.)

Film still from Film About a Woman Who by Yvonne Rainer featuring a couple in bed

James Broughton:
Testament (DVD) (P.A.S.)

Morgan Fisher:
Cue Rolls (D.E.J.)

Ernie Gehr:
Shift (1971-74) (P.A.S.)
Eureka (P.A.S.)

Pat O’Neill:
Saugus Series (P.A.S.)

Yvonne Rainer:
Film About a Woman Who… (P.A.S.)

Michael Snow:
Rameau’s Nephew by Diderot (Thanx to Dennis Young) by Wilma Schoen (P.A.S.) (S.M. just calls it Rameau’s Nephew and says that Steve Anker helped work on the film.)

John Waters:
Female Trouble
(Streaming) (J.S.)

1975

Major Events:

In the autumn, Will Hindle is seriously injured in a car accident in Alabama. By July 1976 he is almost fully recovered. (S.M.)

1976

Significant Films:

U.S.:

Robert Beavers:
Ruskin (P.A.S.)

James Benning:
11 x 14 (P.A.S.)

Morgan Fisher:
Projection Instructions (D.E.J.)

George Kuchar:
A Reason to Live (J.S.)

George Landow:
New Improved Institutional Quality: In the Environment of Liquids and Nasals a Parasitic Vowel Sometimes Develops (P.A.S.)
Wide Angle Saxon (P.A.S.)

Curt McDowell:
Thundercrack! (starring George Kuchar) (J.S.) (S.M. lists film as 1975 and without exclamation point.)

Yvonne Rainer:
Kristina Talking Pictures (P.A.S.; S.M.)

1977

Significant Films:

U.S.:

Dominic Angerame:
Neptunian Space Angel (S.M.)

John Baldessari:
Script (1973-77)

James Benning:
One Way Boogie Woogie (P.A.S.)

Stan Brakhage:
The Governor (P.A.S.)

James Broughton:
Song of the Godbody (P.A.S.)

Manuel DeLanda:
The Itch Scratch Cycle (J.S.)

Ernie Gehr:
“untitled” (P.A.S.)

John Waters:
Desperate Living (J.S.)

1978

Major Events:

May 18: George Landow introduces his films at a retrospective of his work at the San Francisco Cinematheque. (S.M.)

July 23: James Broughton “re-marries” Joel Singer. (Quotes used in original announcement in Canyon Cinema’s Cinemanews magazine.) (S.M.)

Eric Mitchell opens fifty-seat New Cinema storefront microcinema on St. Marks Place in NYC. (J.S.)

Boris Deutsch passes away. (b. 1892) (D.E.J.)

Film still from Black Box by Beth B and Scott B featuring a woman being interrogated in a dark room

Significant Films:

U.S.:

Beth and Scott B:
G-Man (J.S.)
Black Box (J.S.)
Letters to Dad (J.S.)

James Benning:
Grand Opera (P.A.S.)

Manuel DeLanda:
Incontinence: A Diarrhetic Flow of Mismatches (J.S.)

Robert Huot:
Diary 1974-75 (P.A.S.)

George Kuchar:
Forever and Always (J.S.)

Jonas Mekas:
Notes for Jerome (P.A.S.)

1979

Major Events:

O.P. Screen screens Nick Zedd‘s They Eat Scum. Amy Taubin, film critic for the Soho Weekly News, sees the film and writes in the paper: “The aesthetic operative here is transgression, both in terms of the narrative, and in formal filmmaking terms.” (J.S.)

Nick Zedd dreams up the concept of Cinema of Transgression, but doesn’t use it publicly until 1985. (J.S.)

Robert Florey passes away. (D.E.J.)

Gregory Markopoulos has P. Adams Sitney delete the chapter devoted to his films from the 2nd edition of Visionary Film. (D.E.J.)

Film still from They Eat Scum by Nick Zedd featuring a man sitting in a high chair like a baby

Significant Films:

U.S.:

Beth and Scott B:
The Offenders (J.S.)

Manuel DeLanda:
Ism Ism (J.S.)

Howard Guttenplan:
European Diary ’79 (P.A.S.)

Michael McClard:
Alien Portrait (J.S.)

Nick Zedd:
They Eat Scum (J.S.)