"Exploring the Offbeat World of Experimental Film" by Sura Wood, San Francisco Arts Monthly
Exploring the Offbeat World of Experimental Film
Even the most ardent movie buffs often stop short of embracing experimental film. Although this neglected stepchild of independent cinema conjures images of gritty film stock, atonal music and non-linear or non-existent plot, it is a category of filmmaking in which many innovations start and creativity blooms, unfettered by commercial pressures or the glare of publicity. Its practitioners, obscure to all but a few devotees, are often defiantly individualistic and oblivious to audience appeal, which can pose a problem for exhibitors.
"I'm not sure if I could claim to know the public's attitude toward experimental film or whether 'resistance' would be an appropriate word to use," says Steve Polta, administrative director of San Francisco Cinematheque, a leading proponent and presenter of experimental, personally expressive film, video and cutting-edge media. "I would venture that much of the work we screen, be it historical or contemporary, documentary, narrative or experimental, differs from most mainstream media in that it is not necessarily easy… Much of the work we present is complex and encourages — and rewards — active engagement on the viewer's part." …
The controversial, award-winning French video artist Pierre-Yves Clouin has been called, among other things, "the master of innuendo and metamorphosis." Part renegade philosopher, part exhibitionist, Clouin uses his body as battleground and movie set. He is the subject of "We Cannot Exhibit It: The Videos of Pierre-Yves Clouin,"… [presented by the San Francisco Cinematheque in April 2005, see below].
"As both director and star of his growing body of work, Clouin focuses his lens on [unexpected] parts of the male body … like armpits and shoulders, the small of the back and the top of the head," wrote Rajendra Roy in 2001 on the website C-x-P. (Roy is the former manager of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum's Film and Media Arts Program.) "Clouin works like a video Venus Flytrap, seducing audiences with intimate close-ups of curves and orifices on his own well-sculpted body. Just when you think you recognize what's on-screen, the body unfolds and you realize you just got turned on by shoulder cleavage or by a particularly sexy earlobe… Clouin has some sexy advice for the body-obsessed among us: 'Accept pleasure whatever it may be and whenever it strikes.'" …
- Sura Wood, San Francisco Arts Monthly, April 2005