475 Park Ave South 6th floor, New York, NY 10016
Monday - Friday
11:00am - 5:00pm
The New American Cinema Group est. 1961
The world's largest archive and distributor of independent and avant-garde films
Join us at the Film-Makers' Cooperative (475 Park Avenue South, 6th Floor) on FRIDAY, MARCH 10, at 7pm, for two films by Warren Sonbert, followed by a conversation by Drake Stutesman with Jon Gartenberg.
Warren Sonbert (1947–1995) was one of the seminal figures working in American experimental film. He started making films in 1966 while a student at New York University, and when he was 20 years old, he had a career retrospective at the Filmmakers’ Cinematheque. These were proto-narrative films in which he both directed and followed his youthful protagonists and Warhol superstars Gerard Malanga and Rene Ricard around New York City.
Beginning in 1968, with The Tuxedo Theatre, Sonbert began traveling the world and created tightly edited, silent montage films. He became known as the leading proponent of polyvalent montage, in which, according to Sonbert, his films were “not strictly involved with plot or morality but rather the language of film as regards time, composition, cutting, light, distance, extension of backgrounds to foregrounds, what you see and what you don’t, a jig-saw puzzle of postcards to produce various displace effects.”
Tonight’s screening will include two of Sonbert’s most accomplished silent montage films: Honor and Obey (1988) and The Cup and the Lip (1986). Honor and Obey questions all forms of male-dominated authority, particularly familial, religious, political, and military. As for The Cup and the Lip, according to critic Fred Camper: “what is unique about it is… the never consummated state of suspension that Sonbert achieves. In this film’s universe, the cup must never reach the lip, for if it does, the party is over; the cup’s contents, once ingested, are digested, and thus destroyed, never to be seen again.”