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Newsreel Documentaries of Masanori Oe


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Newsreel Documentaries of Masanori Oe

February 11, 2017
International House Philadelphia

Newsreel Documentaries of Masanori Oe

S No.1, 1967, 5min, film transferred to video
Head Game, 1967, 10min, film transferred to video
No Game, 1967, 17min, film transferred to video
Salome’s Children, 1968, 7min, film transferred to video
Between the Frame, 10min, film transferred to video
Great Society, 1967, 18mi, six-screen 16mm films transferred to single-channel video

As the first step in Collaborative Cataloging Japan’s engagement and research with Japanese expanded cinema, CCJ is pleased to invite filmmaker Masanori Oe and curator Go Hirasawa from Japan to present Mr. Oe’s films in the 1960s to audiences in Philadelphia. Incorporating experiments with the materiality of film and using multiple projections, Mr. Oe’s newsreel documentary works reveal the artistic and political directions and conditions under which artists and filmmakers made their work. The invitation of Mr. Oe and Mr. Hirasawa is organized in collaboration with Patrick Noonan, Assistant Professor at Northwestern University and the Block Cinema at Northwestern University.

Oe Masanori moved to New York in 1966 after graduating from college to work at the Third World film studio and worked alongside experimental filmmakers such as Jonas Mekas, Stan Vanderbeek, and others. In 1967, Oe worked with the Newsreel collective, a group of filmmakers, photographers, and media artists who worked within and across mediums to provide alternative news coverage to the world events and anti-establishment movements at the time. Working with Marvin Fishman at Studio M2, he entered film production beginning with S No. 1, a news footage collage that exposed the violence of American imperialism. Head Games blithely follows soap bubbles blown by the wind in Central Park, opposing the objectivity of recording an event with a more subjective and psychological approach. No Game is about the International Anti-War Day demonstrations at the Pentagon on October 1967, and incorporates footage taken from planes of bombings over Vietnam.

For the psychedelically inspired Salome’s Children, which utilized multiple exposures and extreme close-ups of a woman dancing to Indian music, Oe attached two strips of 8mm film to a single 16mm roll, projecting it onto two screens. As suggested by the title, Between the Frame concentrated on the space between the images on a filmstrip to reveal the author’s inner experience. Great Society, made with Fishman, collaged newsreel footage of the Vietnam War, the psychedelic and civil rights movements, and other events to depict the America of the 1960s. Originally this work is presented on six projection screens.