The veteran experimental filmmaker makes an in-person visit to screen and discuss a selection of his work. Info
Like most avant-garde film, the structuralist Larry Gottheim's work rarely gets a prominent public screenings. Aside from the fact that experimental films themselves are, generally, often thought to only appeal to niche audiences (though this writer would disagree with that), the physical focus of structural films means that they can be difficult to find and not usually recommended to watch digitally. Thankfully, the gracious folks at UW Cinematheque are here to clear both hurdles with their screening of several key films from Gottheim, and the filmmaker himself will be in town for a post-screening discussion.
The Cinematheque's selection of Gottheim's films play as a sort of greatest hits retrospective, each of which highlights his inquisitive relationship with the medium. Earlier, minimalist works like Fog Line (1970), Harmonica (1971), and Doorway (1971) are the work of a prescient eye, content to let the camera roll and capture natural magic. His more mid-period works Sorry/Hear Us (1986) and Mnemosyne, Mother Of Muses (1987), on the other hand, are far more complex collages of image and sound, exploring community, collaboration, and the constructive nature of memory. Gottheim's most recent film, Knot/Not (2019), will round out the screening, providing an update on his predilection for exploring memory through disparate collections of material.
The main draw for this event in particular, though, is Gottheim's own attendance at the screening. For no other genre of film is the input of the filmmaker more important for contextualizing and understanding. Even for seasoned viewers, a chance to discuss directly with one of the American avant-garde's unheralded heroes should not be passed up. For the more casual viewer, hearing the director speak about his work can be like a personal set of cinematic footnotes, expanding horizons for future viewing. —Maxwell Courtright