Monday, August 9, 2010

Harry Smith

The first nine minutes of Harry Smith's magnum opus, Film No. 12, or, alternately, "Heaven and Earth Magic"

Smith's synopsis:
The first part depicts the heroine's toothache consequent to the loss of a very valuable watermelon, her dentistry and transportation to heaven. Next follows an elaborate exposition of the heavenly land, in terms of Israel and Montreal. The second part depicts the return to Earth from being eaten by Max Müller on the day Edward VII dedicated the Great Sewer of London.
The Naropa Poetics Audio Archive (hours worth of William S. Burroughs, Kathy Acker, Kenneth Koch, and John Cage) has a 1988 recording of Smith talking about the film during a screening at Naropa, the closest you'll come to DVD commentary:

On the original, six-hour cut of the movie: "People in the art-world tend to like it... because they like to be bored. They're, like, masochists."

On the animal noises on the soundtrack: "They're not ecologically correct."

On the images used: "A lot of the people in it are real."

In short, it is incredible, as interviews with Harry Smith tend to be:

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