29/73 Ready-made, Kurt Kren, 13 min, 1973
For a TV programme about the film Casablanca, Kren was supposed to read three letters that Groucho Marx had written to the Warner Bros. These letters were about the Marx Brothers’ use of the title in their own film called A Night in Casablanca, as a result of which legal measures were being threatened by Warner Bros. The filmed material of Kren was no use to the production and should have been destroyed. Kren got hold of the material and presents it, uncut, including all of its repetitions. – Hans Scheugl
24/70 Western, Kurt Kren, 3 min, 1970
In 24/70 Western, recognition of the image being filmed (an anti-war poster picturing the My Lai massacre entitled And Babies) is withheld, through close-up filming of the surface of the image, never stepping back to reveal the whole. The method in this film (as in 20/68 Schatzi) acts to subvert the quick responses of viewers to such loaded imagery. In all of Kren’s films, the images are variously covered and uncovered, hidden and revealed, never taken for granted. – David Levi Strauss
44/85 Foot’-age shoot’-out, 3.5 min, 1985
Made while Kurt Kren was living in Houston, Texas. He was asked to shoot and deliver a film for a festival given four days notice, which he did. Claiming the result was “a rape” and “probably my last film,” Kren removed his name and copyright from the work. “I was angry because I am not used to making films on the spot, and definitely not when I’m not in the mood to make a film. I felt somewhat violated. Shortly before the eleventh hour I left and traced the silhouette of Houston and simply wiped it out. I stuck the film in an express envelope and sent it off”. – Kurt Kren
Kurt Kren’s achievements with regard to the montage of short cuts in his early works was many years ahead of the rest of the film world, in both form and content. Kurt Kren was a pioneer: an avant-gardist in the classic and best sense of the word. A filmmaker who knows how to think in images like few others in this trade, and who realized these images in films that are among the “most beautiful” and — if it’s important — most important in cinematic history. – Peter Tscherkassky
All stills, photographs, and artwork courtesy ©Kurt Kren Estate and Sixpack Film.
Screening co-presented with Sixpack Film.