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This programme of early films by one of the most important figures of the New American Cinema movement shows the development of his increasingly fragmented visual style and unique form of film portraiture.
One of the most important figures in the New American Cinema movement of the 1960s, Gregory J. Markopoulos (1928–1992) integrated Greek mythology and film portraiture into densely fragmented and rhythmical works that attempt to articulate cinema's purest form. When Markopoulos left the US in 1967 to move permanently to Europe, he withdrew his films from distribution, which has made them extremely difficult to see — a great loss to film culture given their historical importance and lasting influence.
In recent years, the efforts of Markopoulos' partner Robert Beavers to finish and exhibit Markopoulos' epic final work, the eighty-hour ENIAIOS, have sparked a renewed interest in Markopoulos' oeuvre. ENIAIOS is specifically designed to be shown at the Temenos, a special site in Arcadia, Greece, but Beavers has kindly agreed to present a programme of Markopoulos' earlier films, many of which lay the groundwork for his grand final film.
The films in this program show the evolving development of Markopoulos' film portraiture, displaying an increasing reliance on a fragmented visual style that develops rhythm from quick shots, movement in place and negative space. Swain is an early film inspired by Nathaniel Hawthorne's Fanshawe, with Markopoulos playing the lead character. Ming Green and Sorrows are both portraits of place — the first of Markopoulos' last apartment in New York City, made shortly after his mother's death, the second of the house Richard Wagner lived in during his Swiss exile — while Through a Lens Brightly: Mark Turbyfill and Gilbert & George are intimate character sketches of the eponymous American dancer-poet-painter and British artist duo, respectively.
Swain (Gregory J. Markopoulos \ USA 1950 \ 24 min. \ 16mm)
Ming Green (Gregory J. Markopoulos \ USA 1966 \ 7 min. \ 16mm)
Through a Lens Brightly: Mark Turbyfill (Gregory J. Markopoulos \ USA 1967 \ 15 min. \ 16mm)
Sorrows (Gregory J. Markopoulos \ USA 1969 \ 6 min. \ 16mm)
Gilbert & George (Gregory J. Markopoulos \ USA 1970 \ 12 min. \ 16mm)
Robert Beavers in person!