Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Bonding Occurs Between Enraged Film Lovers At Sold-out Nathaniel Dorsky Anthology Screening

Manhattan, October 17 - In an atmosphere reminiscent of the good vibes outside Studio 54 amongst the folks who couldn't get in, only far more bittersweet, several film lovers in the lobby of Anthology Film Archives (32 2nd Ave.) managed to bond with one another despite their rage over not getting tickets to a sold-out screening of Nathaniel Dorsky's new films. Avant-garde enthusiasts who arrived as early at 7:00 p.m. for the 7:30 p.m. screening were greeted with a "Dorsky Is Now Sold Out" sign, a phrase that soon took on an double meaning for the angry unfortunates.

Raising their hopes but also stoking their flames of rage was another sign reading "Maybe A Few Might Get In?" So a group of about 20 hopefuls waited in the lobby for word from an admittedly sympathetic Anthology employee about potential seating. Around 7:30 p.m. said employee announced that there were five aisle seats available which went to the names at the top of a long waiting list. But an occasion for revelry quickly turned sour since the announcement broke up several groups of friends. Kisses and hugs were exchanged with the unlucky as one loudmouth wondered aloud how they could possibly remain friends after this.

Two aspects of the evening contributed to the tense environment. Nathaniel Dorsky refuses to release his masterful films on DVD/Blu-ray so one must attend a rare screening in more privileged cities around the world in order to see them. Even worse, Anthology was screening (freakin') Eating Raoul (Paul Bartel, 1982) in their much larger theatre upstairs. Attendance figures for that 7:00 p.m. screening were not released by press time. But one could surmise that they could not have exceeded the turnout for Dorsky. Further compounding the offense is that Eating Raoul was a staple of early cable television and has been available not only on VHS but on a Criterion Blu-ray as well. The loudmouth asked the employee why the Dorsky films weren't shown in the larger theatre. "Nick (?) decided that they would work better in the smaller theatre," was the reply.

Once it was official that no one else beyond the lucky five would be getting in, the employee offered Dorsky bookmarks as a pathetic consolation prize. One particularly sad Dorsky fan was gifted the "Sold Out" sign (seen below). The loudmouth asked the employee to convey to Dorsky that we were pissed.

Nevertheless, the unlucky bonded over their misfortune. They wondered if buying a membership would get them in and then got even sadder that they didn't have a membership in the first place. Others discussed the genius of Dorsky while ruing the "necessity" of watching his masterpieces on film in a theatre. Genuine sorrys were exchanged as the supporters of the avant-garde dispersed morosely.

Brandishing a copy of Walter Benjamin's "The Work of Art in the Age of Its Technological Reproducibility," the loudmouth went on a harangue:

"Today, I hate the avant-garde. I traveled from The Bronx to see these films. Three hours wasted. I've crossed state lines to see avant-garde films. I am not the enemy. But now I will fight to get these films shown to the unprivileged who can't attend screenings in Manhattan or at Harvard. I now want to bootleg every film ever! Long live KG! Long live UbuWeb! Blu-rays for all. Myron Ort sells DVDs of his films online. So does Joseph Bernard whose films are at least as gorgeous as Dorsky's? Why can't Dorsky??? We get it. We know they should be experienced live in motion on film. We get that, say, Luther Price's films are about decay, that even their destruction is part of their aesthetic experience. But let us have that aesthetic experience! We're here in the auratic space that is Manhattan and Anthology and we can't see Dorsky films??? There's something rotten here!!!"

Eventually, the loudmouth found himself talking to no one outside on 2nd Ave. and he walked home alone slowly in the wrong direction.

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Anonymous Nathaniel Dorsky said...

Dear Kevin John,

A member of my website team forward to me your blog and complaint. There is much to explain to you. First of all, BluRay is not compatible with 18 frames per second silent speed projection without distorting the film's movement with double printing every third frame and my films do not work on DVD... they simple DO NOT WORK as electronic media. I am not being stubborn, I am being responsible to the glory of CINEMA Please believe me from actual and reality-based experience.

When I learned that Harvard wanted to invite me for a number of presentations and would pay for my transportation from San Francisco, something which I cannot at all afford to do as I put all my money into my film work, I asked Anthology if they had any free nights in the same week I would be going to Harvard and they offered the two nights that we did offer. I thought that two nights would probably take care of my fans, but we were wrong and in the future we will know that. The reason the films are shown in the smaller Maya Deren theater is that they have now installed the very, very, very greatest of 16mm silent speed projectors, the Eastman 25, that is available in our world. The image it puts on the screen is spectacularly gorgeous. Also the raked seating of the smaller theater makes viewing a film based on pure vision and not using the screen as a stage to be looked up at, a real personal joy without heads in front nipping parts of your vision

Needless to say I was very sad to read of your anger and disappointment about not getting in. The Anthology was very excited by how successful the shows were on all levels and has enthusiastically asked me to return with the two more new films in this six film cycle that I am now finishing. They are in addition to the four shown a few weeks ago. We will plan future shows knowing the size of the crowd that might come. Needless to say it is also marvelous that people so much want to see them. Please do not be mad at the avant garde or illegally dupe their films. All the makers have given everything they can out of their own pocket to make these films and most are on the boarder line of survival.

We must figure out a way for you to contact me or I can contact you when the next NY screening is. I would rather do that privately. If you write or call Canyon Cinema in San Francisco, they can release my email address to you and we can correspond privately

The next time my films are shown, we must figure out a way for you to contact me and I will make sure that you have a ticket for the shows. Please do this and will be more than happy to meet your needs. I hope you find the films worth waiting for. At this point one must think of them a bit as live performances.. like a concert that sells out... kind of exciting also.

Incidentally, I will be showing eight films in Seattle December 6 and 7 and then in Duke University in Durham North Carolina, there are plans for me to show 16 films in four nights the first week in February... still in the planning stage.

So thank you for your very enthusiastic if not frustrated emotions... hope to see you soon at a show and have the great pleasure of meeting you.

Nathaniel Dorsky

9:12 AM  

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