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June 1969

Underground Film Evening May Bring Surprises


An evening of underground films is like a blind date.

It may prove boring or filled with surprises. And you can't be sure until its over whether it's been worth it.

Close to two hundred jammed into the Art Gallery Monday to watch nine short films distributed by Vancouver's Intermedia group.

Most of the films were financed independently by the young film makers.

Many of the films contained an over dose of murky symbolism and all showed a lack of discipline in editing. But for those who attended there were several pleasant surprises.

All of the films were technically on a high level with some excellent photographic effects.

And while they may be short on continuity the young experimenters are long on imagination.

"Some of them are using techniques we'd never have dared to use," said Intermedia director Werner Aellen who was trained in more conventional film techniques with the National Film Board.

Aellan chose two of the best films to close the evenings.

Vancouver Poet Al Razutis' Inauguration, given its Canadian premiere in Victoria was described by him as a visual tapestry of life twisted and rearranged into abrasive and harmonic patterns."

Anti-War Plea

What came across was an anti-war statement, a beautifully photographed montage of pleasure, youth decay and destruction.

One of the most effective sequences shows a group of young people religiously passing around a joint of marijuana, superimposed on a film clip of a second world war battle.

In Dave Rimmer's Migration the camera moves with blurred speed in an attempt to capture the rhythm of nature, death and rebirth. The 27 year old Rimmer. a former economics student calls this, his third film, an energy film. The electronic background music is well suited to the style.

Danny Fisher's Seatta and Tom Shandell's El Diablo a photo essay of a fire swallower, were exceptionally well photographed.

Other films included Arnold Saba's Euphoria, Peter Phase Two; Gordon Fiddler's Bryant's Felix; Bill Fix's Underground; and Al Simm's cartoon.

Certainly the evening did much to bolster museum curator Colin Grahm's claim that Vancouver "leads Canada and much of North America in experimental film making."

Intermedia is sponsored by a Canada Council grant, and grants from industries and universities.


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