Introduced by guest-curator Irina Leimbacher.
Bruce Baillie — the founder, along with Chick Stand, of Canyon Cinema — is one of the most important West Coast experimental filmmakers. Canyon Cinema began its itinerant existence on a sheet outside Bruce’s home in Canyon, California. Although originally devoted primarily to film screenings, Canyon Cinema quickly became a locus for community, a place where filmmakers and aspiring filmmakers could share their love of cinema, equipment, know how, and ideas. This program consists of seven of Baillie’s documentary and experimental films of the early Canyon years. Made between 1961 and 1966, they include Canyon CinemaNews films as well as some of Baillie’s most famous early works. In his first film, On Sundays, and the later Mass for the Dakota Sioux, Baillie evokes San Francisco’s human and physical landscapes of the early 1960s as no other filmmaker has done. Mournful and lyrical, these films include elliptical narrative elements and documentary portraits as they weave images and sounds into exquisite city sonatas. The shorter Canyon CinemaNews pieces —portraits of an itinerant gardener, a school for disturbed children, and a Native American reservation— are also a poignant record of this historical and aesthetic moment. The program concludes with Baillie’s early color masterpiece, Castro Street shot in an industrial area of Richmond, California and described by Baillie as a “coming of consciousness.” Together, the seven films embody Baillie’s poetic approach to film as profoundly expressive visual and acoustic medium.
On Sundays 1960-1961, 16mm, 27 min
The Gymnasts 1961, 16mm, 8 min
Mr. Hayashi 1961, 16mm, 3 min
Here I Am 1962, 16mm, 11 min
Termination 1966, 16mm, 5 min
Mass For The Dakota Sioux 1963-1964, 16mm, 20 min
Castro Street 1966, 16mm, 10 min