Friday, April 10, 2015

"Film as Film: The Collected Writings of Gregory J. Markopoulos" edited by Mark Webber

9780992837709  The Visible Press

As of this time and moment, I have seen only two films by the Greek American filmmaker Gregory J. Markopoulos.  "Galaxie" and "Gammelion."  If I was a cine-purist, I would have seen these films at the perfect location for his work, which is Temenos in Greece.  His life-time work is to have all his films to be presented in this location, which is outdoors, and some miles away from Athens.   Remote, and probably not that easy to get to - yet the journey itself I'm sure is magnificent, and if the two films I saw are example of his other works, probably more likely worth the trouble.   It is refreshing to come here upon an artist/filmmaker who doesn't compromise their work for....anyone!


  This marvelous collection of essays/poetry/rants/thoughts by Markopoulos is an essential to anyone who is interested in American underground film world.  Specifically in the heights of the 1960s through the 80s.  The source of these writings are from self-published works or Jonas Mekas' excellent publication of the 60s FILM CULTURE.  And some are lectures or introductions to his work throughout the world.  Markopoulos is on the same league as Stan Brakhage and Kenneth Anger.   An important artist, that the few only know or have seen his works.  As an anthology this book reads well - I think not only due to Markopoulos' writings, but also the editorship of Mark Webber, and the additional overall great design of the book.   Webber has put together tight chapters or sections that focus on his work as a commentator on other filmmakers, as well as focusing on his films and of course, the projection of his complete works in Greece, which is sort of an installation piece.

The two films I saw were pretty hypnotic, not only due to its editing, but also how one is drawn to his subject matter.  "Galaxie" is a compilation of film portraits of various (mostly well-known filmmakers/artists) in the New York world of the early 60s.  It is all an amazing snapshot of a time, but also you can tell how Markopoulos feels about his subject matters as well.  The film is silent, except what sounds like bells in the background, is 92 minutes and not one boring moment was had.   "Gammelion" is a study on a castle in Italy, and one is almost peeking around the corner.   It's a beautiful film and almost meditative in its approach at 'looking' at a structure.  Markopoulos has an eye for beautiful buildings and great looking people ("Galaxie").  The book is a must have if you make a film library, and anyone who is interested in film aesthetics must-have this as well. Hopefully this will not the last word on Markopoulos, but it is clearly the first - and that this book, is an exceptional book.

www.thevisiblepress.com
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