Christmas on Earth
SE 9th & SE Mill
- Work Stills:
About This Screening
Where shall we go beyond the shores and the mountains, to salute the birth of the new work, and the new wisdom, the flight of tyrants and demons, the end of superstition, and the first to worship Christmas on earth? —Arthur Rimbaud, from A Season in Hell Eighteen years old and fresh out of mental hospital, Barbara Rubin (1945–1980) meets Jonas Mekas, borrows his camera, and in Tony Conrad and John Cale’s downtown NYC apartment, creates a 29-minute hallucinatory vision of sexual energy. Bodies, at least five, masked and painted in black and white, combine within and between the frames in a variety of sexual movements. They dissolve, as Asa Osterweil writes “the boundaries between male and female, subject and object, record and performance, and real and imaginary space.” The film will be performed as intended with two reels of film projected simultaneously, one half the size in the middle of the other, to the tune of AM radio, and with an assortment of color filters held in front of the lens. Despite being one of the earliest and most stunning examples of expanded cinema and a testament to the personal and artistic freedoms of the time, the film remains rarely screened. Opening this evening of luscious imagery will be Ron Rice’s Chumlum, produced only one year after Christmas and starring Jack Smith (along with poet Gerard Malanga, Barbara Rubin, and a soundtrack performed by Angus MacLise) wrapped in a toilet paper turban, softly lounging in a loft that is hung with hammocks and scarves. It is “a movie so sumptuously and serenely psychedelic it appears to have been printed entirely on gauze. (Chuck Stephens).” This is our present from the past. Join us for a holiday party immediately following the screening.
ChumlumUnited States, 1964, 16mm, color, sound, 26 min.
by Ron Price
Christmas on EarthUnited States, 1964, 16mm double projection, b&w, 30 min.
by Barbara Rubin
Screenings This Season
Clicks Inside My Dream Oct. 4 + 5
The Title Spoils the Ending: Films of Joyce Wieland Oct. 20
Memory & Observation: Direct Route by Pam Minty Nov. 1 + 5
Burn the Sea / And We Will Throw the Sea Behind You Nov. 17
From the Anne Charlotte Robertson Collection: Visiting Curators from the Harvard Film Archive Dec. 12
Christmas on Earth