Pages: 560 pages
Publication date: September 2014
FILM AS FILM: THE COLLECTED WRITINGS OF GREGORY J. MARKOPOULOS
Edited by Mark Webber, with a foreword by P. Adams Sitney
Film as Film: The Collected Writings of Gregory J. Markopoulos contains some ninety out-of-print or previously unavailable articles by the Greek-American filmmaker who, as a contemporary of Kenneth Anger, Stan Brakhage and Andy Warhol, was at the forefront of a movement that established a truly independent form of cinema. Beginning with his early writings on the American avant-garde and auteurs such as Dreyer, Bresson and Mizoguchi, it also features numerous essays on Markopoulos’ own practice, and on films by Robert Beavers, that were circulated only in journals, self-published editions or programme notes. The texts become increasingly metaphysical and poetic as the filmmaker pursued his ideal of Temenos, an archive and screening space to be located at a remote site in the Peloponnese where his epic final work could be viewed in harmony with the Greek landscape. Gregory J. Markopoulos (1928-1992) is a unique figure in film history, one whose life’s work stands in testament to his strength of vision and commitment to the medium.
“This collection of writings by a key figure of the New American Cinema complements, illuminates and extends an incomparable body of work. Equal parts theory, criticism and mythical prose, the texts reflect the charisma and originality of its author – and his enduring romanticism. Brandished by the same absolutes and passion that fuel his films, Film as Film is a seminal addition to film scholarship and film history, and includes some of the most original writing on the art of cinema, not unlike that of Jean Cocteau and Pier Paolo Pasolini.” ----- Andréa Picard, Toronto International Film Festival
“For the first time the full depths of Gregory Markopoulos’ rigorous imagination can be fathomed. Film as Film is an indispensable companion to Markopoulos’ unique cinema and a fascinating chronicle of his probing thoughts on filmmaking.” ----- Haden Guest, Harvard Film Archive
Gregory J. Markopoulos is acknowledged as one of the pioneers of independent filmmaking. Born in Toledo, Ohio, in 1928, he became a key figure in the New York avant-garde film scene of the 1950s and 60s, co-founding the New American Cinema Group alongside Jonas Mekas, Robert Frank, Peter Bogdanovich and others. Markopoulos’ films, which often translated literary or mythological sources to a contemporary context, were celebrated for their extraordinary creativity, the sensuous use of colour and innovations in cinematic form. At the end of the 1960s, he left the USA for Europe and began to withdraw his work – including the landmark films Psyche (1947), Twice a Man (1963), Galaxie (1966) and The Illiac Passion (1967) – from circulation. He ultimately re-edited his entire output into the 80-hour epic Eniaios (1947-91), which remained unprinted during his lifetime. Following the death of Markopoulos in 1992, his work has slowly returned to the public arena through events with institutions including the American Museum of the Moving Image, Pacific Film Archive, New York Film Festival and Documenta 12. The Whitney Museum presented a complete retrospective in 1996. Since 2004, premieres of the restored units of Eniaios have taken place every four years at a site in rural Arcadia that was chosen by the filmmaker. These unique events have been reviewed in Artforum, Frieze, Film Comment and other important periodicals. Texts by Markopoulos were originally printed in journals such as Film Culture, Filmcritica and Cantrills Filmnotes, and gathered in self-published anthologies and limited edition brochures. His many film portraits feature significant figures in the arts such as David Hockney, Rudolph Nureyev, Leonor Fini, Alberto Moravia, Gilbert and George, Susan Sontag, Giorgio de Chirico, Paul Thek and W.H. Auden. www.the-temenos.org
Mark Webber is a film curator based in London, who has been responsible for major screening events or touring programmes hosted by institutions such as Tate Modern, LUX and ICA (London), Whitney Museum (New York), Centre Georges Pompidou (Paris), Kunsthalle Basel, Oberhausen Kurzfilmtage, IFFR Rotterdam and many international festivals, museums and art centres. He was a programmer for the BFI London Film Festival from 2000-13, and is the editor of Two Films by Owen Land. www.markwebber.org.uk
P. Adams Sitney is a Princeton University professor and widely published critic. His Visionary Film: The American Avant-Garde, first published by Oxford in 1974, remains the definitive historical text on the subject. He is also the author of Modernist Montage, Vital Crises in Italian Cinema, Eyes Upside Down, and The Cinema of Poetry (forthcoming, including a chapter on Markopoulos), and editor of The Film Culture Reader, The Essential Cinema, and The Avant-Garde Film.
The Visible Press is a new imprint for books on cinema, and writings by filmmakers and artists. The press is managed by Mark Webber, María Palacios Cruz and William Rose. Following the publication of Film as Film: The Collected Writings of Gregory J. Markopoulos, the second book from The Visible Press will be an anthology of writings by American filmmaker Ken Jacobs. www.thevisiblepress.com