Underground Film Journal

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Underground Film Timeline: Phase 3 Complete

By Mike Everleth ⋅ August 6, 2010

Underground Film Timeline

This Underground Film Timeline project update should come with the disclaimer “As far as I know for now.”

So, as far as I know for now, I’ve completed a DVD Underground index page that includes all the DVDs and DVD box sets — plus one Blu-ray — that includes avant-garde and experimental films that appear on the Timeline. A further disclaimer by me goes that the list only includes products released by U.S. distributors and are available on either Amazon and/or Netflix.

With that in mind, I’ve only added sixteen entries, which really surprised me at how few old avant-garde films are available to today’s audiences. If I’m missing any, please feel free to drop me a line — again keeping in mind I’m only interested in U.S. products right now. For example, I know re:voir puts out some great DVDs, but — also, again, as far as I know — they don’t play on standard U.S. DVD players.

Perhaps I’m limiting myself by being so selective, but one of my main interests with the site in general and the Timeline project specifically is to show the accessibility of the underground. However, that goal does get a little circumvented by the fact that there are so few DVDs available for those interested in the underground to watch.

And, of course, I’m totally against directing viewers to watch uploaded bootleg videos, which I’m sure totally hurts the site in terms of audience size. But, I’m sorry, watching a Kenneth Anger film that some yo-yo has uploaded to YouTube is no match to watching the beautiful high resolution, remastered DVD put out by Fantoma. Also, obviously, the Fantoma DVD is no match to watching Scorpio Rising on 16mm film projected in a theater, but having the DVD put out by people who really care about preserving the underground is a close second. I’m probably a bit old fashioned in this regard, I know.

However, rants aside, if you’re interested in underground film — and you are if you’re reading this — you owe it to yourself to check out the DVD Underground list and see if there’s something on there you haven’t seen yet. And if you haven’t seen something, take a chance on renting or buying a piece of underground history to see how we got from there to here.

Lastly, now it’s on to Phase 4 of the Timeline project, which involves me adding data culled from David Curtis’ Experimental Cinema book that was published in 1977. That book had a lot of data to copy out of it, so this phase will probably take awhile, especially since I’m going to have to compare it to the data I already got from Sheldon Renan’s An Introduction to the American Underground Film. Should be fun.

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