The Last Clean Shirt , Alfred Leslie, 1964

Collaborations: The Last Clean Shirt, Nishijin, Le Chant du Styrene

Moving Picture Alphabet Series
Friday, February 8, 2013 - 7:00pm

Introduction by curators Richard Davis and Stephanie Anderson.

A series of short films, spanning ten years and three continents, which emblematize active collaborations between filmmakers and poets. The Last Clean Shirt parodic “road trip” through Manhattan with a mixed-race couple in a convertible, features dialogue by the poet Frank O’Hara––or rather, subtitles, given that one character speaks in nonsense Finnish and the other never speaks out loud. Nishijin is an avant-garde documentary set in the Nishijin textile district of Kyoto, featuring narration by the poet Hiroshi Sekine. Le Chant du Styrene also focuses on industrial practice––albeit the hyper-modern manufacture of plastics––with narration by the poet Raymond Queneau.

The Last Clean Shirt
(Alfred Leslie, 1964, DVD, 42 min)

(Toshio Matsumoto, 1961, BluRay, 25 min)

Le Chant du Styrene
(Alain Resnais, 1957, BluRay, 19 min)

Moving Picture Alphabet Series
Poets have long been drawn to the formal qualities of cinema––its motion, its scale, its imagery, its temporality. The poet Vachel Lindsay found in film the purest expression of “the human soul in action”; Frank O’Hara famously pleaded, “Mothers of America / let your kids go to the movies!” What’s far less discussed is the influence of poetry on filmmaking. This series attempts to redress this imbalance with films that encompass a wide variety of interactions between filmmakers and poets. Over the course of four Friday evenings, the contours of the “poetic film”––an overused and underexamined term in critical discourse––will resolve into a fuller historical specificity. Receptions will follow the screenings.

Curated by Richard Davis (Ph. D. student, EALC/CMS) and Stephanie Anderson (Ph.D. student, English) as a project of the Film Studies Center Graduate Student Curatorial Program. Co-sponsored by The Arts Council, The Film Studies Center, Renaissance Society, Chicago Studies, Poetry & Poetics Workshop, Poem Present and Mass Cultures Workshop.