By Mónica Delgado
This 2015 we are celebrating 50 years of super 8 film. Around the world there have been activities, projections, talks, festivals and demonstrations on behalf of this special occasion, to give an account of the sensitivities, trajectories and resistors around this support that refuses to die. This new issue of Desistfilm brings together texts about works in Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Australia, Mexico, and Peru. We allow ourselves to pay a tribute that binds us to this global celebration.
We bring together some manifestos, in some cases we put relevant extracts on the occasion, that reveal creative forces along to the different times in the history of cinema, from the same time when Kodak created super 8 film, up to years of this new century. The George Kuchar text its not exactly a manifesto on Super 8, but we recovered it because it champions an associated spirit with a particular context, and somehow maintains the vitality of this format in their freedom, economy and transgression.
“Yes, 8 mm. is a tool of defense in this society of mechanized corruption because through 8 mm. and its puny size we come closer to the dimensions of the atom.
We in this modern world of geological dormanticity are now experiencing an evolution evolving around minutenocities. We no longer think big except in the realm of nuclear bombardment, and therefore it is not unusual to find human beings with little things. Eight mm. is one of these little things, but 8 mm. becomes enormous when light from a projector bulb illuminates to a great dimension the abnormalities of the psychotic.
In the hands of a potential pervert, this medium becomes like a sculpture of clay with a base of yeast. Sprinkle a few smatters of liquid upon this sculpture and it will blow up and expand to startling and gargantuan proportions. But, as you will see, the clay shell that envelopes the overall piece of work will crack and make dirt everywhere.
The inner beauty of the work will be revealed while at the same time the film-maker will crack and eventually commit suicide. Looking upon the face of one’s own evil is enough to bring the sting of acid to an esophagus that has previously experienced only buttermilk.
That 8 mm. will become avant-garde is a contagious disease-breeder because we are all avant-garde to the point of annihilation, and only when we face the after-effects of total deformity can we then think more clearly and cry because we couldn’t concentrate on moral isolation.
Who are we to ask whether 8 mm. will be the avant-garde of the future when only God and the Vatican know for sure? Moral issues of this nature should never be left for the filthy hands of the beatnik to twist into pretzels of degeneracy. Let the beatnik and the frustrated executive twist 8mm. film into his own image and thereby give others a chance to sniff the world of narcotics and total spiritual breakdown.
Having worked with 8 mm. for twelve years, I have seen what it can do to a person. The creative intellect undergoes a great revolt and the bars of restraint are ripped from the casement of sanity until everything is a whirlpool of incandescent pudding. Eight mm. has taught me to think more clearly and to express myself in direct terms. Like my religion, I was born into 8 mm. because my aunt had loaned me her movie camera and then my mother bought me one for Christmas. Now I’m going to make a 16 mm. picture called Corruption of the Damned, and I’m making it in 16mm. because I can’t make it in 7 mm. Therefore I’m going up instead of down, which has been the usual trend in my life of wanton pleasures. I enjoyed working in 8 mm. and I’m enjoying 16 mm. and if both were taken from me I’d enjoy vegetating because a life of stagnation is one of disease and only through disease can we realize what sickness is”.
George Kuchar. From a symposium called 8 mm.: Avant-Garde of the Future? NYC, 1964.
“The super 8mm film to anyone with an honest alertness, represents the values, the real criticism that can be done to a system, which has strengths and weaknesses, that economic cost of a film does not correspond to the quality as with the twelve million that the produccion Zapata cost, for example, we could be able to get 10 thousand movies of super 8 that would represent all our historical, social and artistic context”.
Manifesto: 8 millimeters against 8 millions, signed against Felipe Cazals, Arturo Ripstein, Paul Leduc, Rafael Castanedo, Eduardo Maldonado, Gustavo Alatriste, Jaime Humberto Hermosillo, Emilio Garcia Riera, David Ramon, Tomas Perez Turrent, Fernando Gou. Mexico. Julio 14 de 1972.
“Thus spoke the Lord to Viking Eggeling, Germaine Dulac, Jean Epstein, Fernand Leger, Dmitri Kirsanoff, Marcel Duchamp, Hans Richter, Luis Bunuel, Man Ray, Cavalcanti, Jean Cocteau, and Maya Deren, and Sidney Peterson, and Kenneth Anger, Gregory Markopoulos, Stan Brakhage, Marie Menken, Bruce Baillie, Francis Lee, Harry Smith and Jack Smith and Ken Jacobs, Ernie Gehr, Ron Rice, Michael Snow, Joseph Cornell, Peter Kubelka, Hollis Frampton and Barbara Rubin, Paul Sharits, Robert Beavers, Christopher McLaine, and Kurt Kren, Robert Breer, Dore O, Isidore Isou, Antonio De Bernardi, Maurice Lemaitre, and Bruce Conner, and Klaus Wyborny, Boris Lehman, Bruce Elder, Taka Iimura, Abigail Child, Andrew Noren and too many others. Many others all over the world. And they took their Bolexs and their little 8mm and Super 8 cameras and began filming the beauty of this world, and the complex adventures of the human spirit, and they’re having great fun doing it. And the films bring no money and do not do what’s called useful”.
Jonas Mekas. Extract from Anti-100 Years of Cinema Manifesto. Paris, February 11, 1996.
“Filming is forbidden. It’s only permitted recycle, edit and dub a film. Always on Super 8”.
Dogma 2002. Marcos Bertoni, Brazil.
“Film, particularly Super-8mm film, has a rawness, and an ability to capture the poetic essence of life, that video has never been able to accomplish”.
From Remodernist Film Manifesto, led by Jesse Richards, 2010.
“We want to abolish the walls of the cinema! Cinema is everywhere! We confront the moving pictures with their spectators and vice versa. We understand mobility as independence of a fixed place, of a fixed time and of a costly infrastructure. Performances of the Mobileskino are not closely defined and thus changeable: as a happening, as installations in space or as a flood of pictures at parties and concerts. What is being created is kitsch, art and experiment, hackneyed or innovative. Cinema means magic, experience, ritual, joy and tears…”.
Mobileskino is a collective of four Super8 activists: Florian Olloz, Roland Schmidt, Gilbert Engelhard and David Pfluger. 2010