In 1955, the artist and experimental filmmaker Joseph Cornell commissioned his young friend Stan Brakhage to film the Third Avenue El, just before the last elevated train line in Manhattan was demolished; from the footage, Brakhage produced his verite-impressionistic short The Wonder Ring. Not entirely satisfied with the results, Cornell took Brakhage’s footage, and outtakes, and edited them together into his film Gnir Rednow—so-called because he reversed the footage for projection (Brakhage called it the “mirrored version”; it can be projected multiple ways. More info on the film[s] can be found here, for starters).
Tomorrow afternoon at 4:30, Anthology Film Archives on lower Second Avenue will screen Gnir Rednow as part of their Essential Cinema’s regular Cornell program (it comes around every year or so, give or take; it also includes the other Cornell-Brakhage collaboration Centuries of June). And tomorrow evening at 7:30, UnionDocs in Williamsburg will screen Wonder Ring as part of a program and lecture on “documentary and the avant-garde.” I’ve already done the running time and subway math—it’d be easy enough to catch both.
You live in New York, you know. It’s pretty cool.