Lewis Klahr’s Pony Glass

May 18-19 at Segal Centre

Lewis Klahr: Hieroglyphics of Lost Time is a rare survey of Lewis Klahr’s animated 16mm collage films taking place May 18-19 at the Segal Centre in Montreal.   Although Klahr has been making lofi, cutout animations since 1977, he doesn’t really see himself as an animator.  According to Klahr, he is “really a collage artist, with all that implies: a need to explore the found materials, to explore history through those materials. It’s got a lot to do with hieroglyphics: this kind of visual shorthand, storing cultural memory.”  In his work, Klahr uses comic books, advertisements, pornographic magazines and other forgotten paraphernalia from past American popular culture in order to create transgressive, subconscious skin flicks and films loosely structured around classical Hollywood genre films. Through collaging images from a forgotten time, Klahr reanimates them – in essence bringing the images back to life.

Some highlights of the program include:

Pony Glass – a three-act melodrama in which we witness Superman’s Jimmy Olsen as he anxiously searches for his true sexual identity.  The dialogue balloons add an extra layer of abstraction since consciously reject traditional verbal language since they are literally impossible to read.  Through this act, it seems Klahr is both making a statement about the failures of verbal communication and at the same time forcing the spectator to read the images themselves. Even though the dialogue may be ambiguous, Olsen’s search is accompanied by operatic music that dramatically expresses his inner life creating an extremely engaging film.

Altair – a film that uses 40s film noir visual references in order to create a loose narrative structure allowing the viewer to fill in the gaps with their own version of “the story”.  A film with as many readings as there are audience members.

Downs Are Feminine – a transgressive sexual nightmare in which lewd sex acts take place in sterile environments taken directly from Good Housekeeping and Architectural Digest.

False Aging – a three part cinematic daydream exploring aging.  In the first section, we experience the sense of excitement, adventure, loneliness and anxiety that comes from leaving home.   In the second act, first love is experienced which produces an entirely different set of joys and anxieties.   In the third act, we experience yet another set of anxieties, the experience of outgrowing one’s usefulness and the loneliness and isolation that comes with it.   The film is carried by clever sound design and the use of ambiguous symbolism producing an intense trip though the viewers psyche led entirely by subconscious association.

- Clint Enns

About the author:

Clint Enns

Clint Enns is a video artist and filmmaker from Toronto, Ontario, whose work primarily deals with moving images created with broken and/or outdated technologies. His work has shown both nationally and internationally at festivals, alternative spaces and mircocinemas. He has a Master’s degree in mathematics from the University of Manitoba, and has recently received a Master’s degree in cinema and media from York University. His writings and interviews have appeared in Millennium Film Journal, Incite! Journal of Experimental Media and Spectacular Optical.


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