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Underground Film Yearbook: 1976

This is the sixth entry in my series of the underground film scene of the ’70s. You can follow the series here.

For the series, so far I’ve basically just been collecting data and not doing too much analysis. However, one somewhat sad fact has leapt out at me: There were quite a few books published in the ’70s on underground film history and analysis, although very few of them have been kept in print and are difficult to find reference to online.

’76 saw the publication of two books (that I found info about). First was A History of the American Avant-Garde Cinema, which was edited by children’s book author Marilyn Singer. This was published by the American Federation of Arts in conjunction with a traveling exhibition that started at the Museum of Modern Art in May. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to find out exactly what films made up the exhibition.

The other book I found published in ’76 was the Structural Film Anthology, You can read Peter Gidal’s introductory essay online and this book was printed in conjunction with a screening series as well, the Structural Film Retrospective at the National Film Theatre, which coincidentally also began in May.

On the birth and death front: future underground filmmaking star James Fotopoulos was born in Norridge, IL (specific date unknown); while pioneering avant-garde artist, photographer and sometime filmmaker Man Ray died on Nov. 18. He was 86.

Some of the more notable underground films of ’76 were Jonas Mekas‘ 178 min. diary compilation Lost, Lost, Lost, which cover the years of his life 1949-63 and includes his arrival in NYC and the beginning of the burgeoning New American Cinema movement. Also, Derek Jarman co-directed his first feature film, Sebastiane, with Paul Humfress; and original member of the New American Cinema Group Emile de Antonio co-directed Underground with Mary Lampson and Haskell Wexler, which was the first documentary investigation into the infamous Weather Underground.

Below is the list of films that I compiled with an official release date of 1976, organized alphabetically by director’s last name. This isn’t meant to be a complete list, but just what I could find so far mostly on the Canyon Cinema and the Film-makers’ Cooperative‘s online catalogs, plus other random info I’ve found on the web. If anyone has a film to add, along with proof of year of completion, please leave a comment below.

Rebecca Abbott: Chicago Boogie

Dominic Angerame: El Train Film

Emile De Antonio, Mary Lampson, Haskell Wexler: Underground

Scott Bartlett: Sound of One

James Benning: 11 x 14
Chicago Loop

Alan Berliner: Line
Perimeter

Wallace Berman: Aleph

Les Blank: Chulas Fronteras

Beth Block: Film Achers

Tony Bond: Novitiate

Stan Brakhage: Airs
Absence
Desert
The Dream, NYC, The Return, The Flower
Gadflies
Highs
Rembrandt, Etc., and Jane
Sketches
Trio
Window
Tragoedia

Robert Breer: Rubber Cement

Tom Brener: Pilotone Study No. 1

James Broughton: Erogeny

James Broughton & Joel Singer: Together

Jacob Burckhardt: Martens Bar
They Lie But They Don’t Mean It

Rudolph Burckhardt: Sodom and Gomorrah, New York 10036
Times Square Films

Gail Camhi: Coffee Break

Doris Chase: Dance 5
Rocker

Roy Colmer: 278

Robert Cowan: The Shadow Glass

Robert Crawford: Ten Haiku

Gary Doberman: Sandwoman’s Moon

Arnold Eagle: Luminescence

R. Bruce Elder: Permutations and Combinations

Jules Engel: Shapes & Gestures

Victor Faccinto: Sweet and Sour

Holly Fisher: Glass Shadows

Bob Fleischner: Curtain Call
A Tire Film

Hollis Frampton: For Georgia O’Keeffe
The Red Gate (Magellan at the Gates of Death Part I)
The Green Gate (Magellan at the Gates of Death Part II)
Not the First Time
Otherwise Unexplained Fires
Procession
Quaternion

Roberta Friedman: Bertha’s Children

Larry Gottheim: Mouches Volantes (Elective Affinities, Part II)

Dave Gearey: Footage

Ernie Gehr: Table

Paul Glabicki: Scanning
Seventy-Six at Home

Bette Gordon: Noyes

Amy Greenfield: Fragments: Mat/Glass

Vincent Grenier: X
While Revolved
World in Focus

George Griffin: Viewmaster
Step Print

Red Grooms: Ruckus Manhattan

Walter Gutman: The March on Paris 1914 of General Von Kluck and His Memory of Jessie Holladay

Howard Guttenplan: Western Diary ’75

Barbara Hammer: Moon Goddess
Women I Love

Roger Jacoby: L’Amico Fried’s Glamorous Friends

Derek Jarman: Sebastiane

Lawrence Jordan: The Apparition

Jon Jost: Angel City

Chester Kessler: Go
Rondo

Marjorie Keller: By 2’s and 3’s: Women

Lynn Marie Kirby: It Gets Bumpy

John Knecht: Bilm-Fuilding Part Five (This is Not Video)

Alexis Krasilovsky: Commiseration Moon

James Krell: 30 Days: Speed Or Gravity
Action Past Compassion
Alpine Lookout #1
Finally a Lamb
Four Rolls (Rarely Pre-Dated) (Tribute to Marcel Duchamp)
Fur (But Less Fun)

Kurt Kren: 32/76: An W + B

Lee Krugman: Ferry
Waterfront

George Kuchar: Back to Nature
A Reason to Live

Owen Land: New Improved Institutional Quality: In the Environment of Liquids and Nasals a Parasitic Vowel Sometimes Develops

David Lebrun: Tanka

Dave Lee: Eel
Remembering: Clearing Space (Part 1 of Balinese Trilogy)

Malcolm LeGrice: Time & Motion Study

Charles I. Levine: Steps

Richard Levine: Girl Playing With a Balloon
Selective Attentions #3

Saul Levine: Notes of an Early Fal

Janis Crystal Lipzin: The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar
Periodic Vibrations in an Elastic Medium

Babette Mangolte: (Now)

Ross McLaren: Weather Building

Jonas Mekas: Lost, Lost, Lost

Toney Merritt: Fine French Phrases and Other Fables

Werner Nekes: Amalgram

Gunvor Nelson: Trollstenen

Pat O’Neill: Sidewinder’s Delta

James Otis: Ein Baum für die Engelmänner

Tom Palazzolo: Marquette Park
Sneakin’ and Peakin’ (Read the review)

Tom Patrick: Wednesday

Philip Perkins: Bright

Dan Perz: Cue

Amos Poe: The Blank Generation
Unmade Beds

Yvonne Rainer: Kristina Talking Pictures

Anthony Reveaux: Peace March

Jeffrey Noyes Scher: NYC

Rosalind Schneider: The Butterfly

Paul Sharits: Analytical Studies I: The Film Frame
Analytical Studies II: Un-Frame-Lines
Analytical Studies IV: Blank Color Frames
Epileptic Seizure Comparison
Tails

Steve Siegel: Ellis Island

John Smith: The Girl Chewing Gum

Michael Snow: Breakfast

Warren Sonbert: Rude Awakening

Alan Sondheim: Hudson+2

Barry Spinello: Three Lives: Counselling the Terminally Ill

Ernie Steck: Christmas 1972

Chick Strand: Cosas de Mi Vida
Elasticity
Guacamole
Mujer de Milfuegos (Woman of a Thousand Fires)

Leslie Thornton: All Right You Guys

Tyler Turkle: Cut

Walter Ungerer: The Animal

Chris Welsby: Stream Line

Doug Wendt: Evel and the Snake

Andrej Zdravic: Breath
Carbon Arc
Sunhopsoon

Peter Von Ziegesar: None Saved

Art Zipperer: Breath
Software


Underground Film Feedback (1 comment)

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  • DIONYSOS ANDRONIS says:

    Dear Mike,

    Your “Underground series” is perfect ! Just one insignificant word. The first documentary investigation of the “Weather Underground” was the “Fall” by Peter Whitehead which is a 1969 production, this means 7 years before Emile De Antonio. The members of this group were still students while “The Fall” was shot. They became terrorists some years later.

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