Artists' Television Access

ATA @ SFPL: Rufino Tamayo & James Baldwin (Screening @ Noe Valley Public Library)

Tuesday, September 15, 2015, 6:30 pm, Free

Artists’ Television Access (ATA) teams up with SFPL to mine the treasures in the Library’s 16mm film archive. Join us for our quarterly screening series of fantastic movies.That’s real film, not video!

Rufino Tamayo & James Baldwin

This program presents artist portraits (one of a visual artist, and one of a writer) that are not just informative but are works of art unto themselves.

Rufino Tamayo: the Sources of His Art (Gary Conklin, 1973) 28 minutes
An investigation of one of Mexico’s most intriguing painters, known especially for his use of color (thankfully SFPL’s print has retained all of its lovely hues.) Born in Oaxaca and proud of his Zapotec Indian heritage, Tamayo was one of the twentieth century’s most prominent artists influenced both by pre-Columbian art and by European modernists such as Picasso. These inspirations, as well as the visual characteristics of Mexico itself, are presented in conjunction with interviews with Tamayo. In addition, Hollywood director John Huston (the Treasure of Sierra Madre, Night of the Iguana) speaks a narration written by Nobel laureate Octavio Paz; director Gary Conklin would later return the favor by documenting the filming of Huston’s final Mexico-set feature, Under the Volcano. Conklin has also made film portraits of Gore Vidal, Paul Bowles, and Ed Ruscha.
My Childhood, Part 2: James Baldwin’s Harlem (Don Horan, 1964) 26 minutes
This unique portrait of one of this country’s greatest writers was made shortly after his essay “The Fire Next Time”. The film is anchored by Baldwin’s own voice, although he does not appear on screen. He speaks candidly about his early encounters with racism and police brutality while growing up in the ghetto, the refuge he found in the public library and the theatre, and his relationship with his embittered father. This soundtrack is augmented with poignant, poetic black and white corresponding and contrapuntal images of New York filmed by Ross Lowell (author of cinematography tome Matters of Light & Depth) and Ernest Nukanen (who started his career working on Hans Richter’s Dreams Money Can Buy). Originally intended for television broadcast along with a portrait of soon-to-be-vice-president Hubert Humphrey’s comparatively idyllic childhood in rural South Dakota, the library’s print includes only the Baldwin segment.

This is a Films & Videos program from SFPL. From feature films to youth-made videos, we’ve got something great to watch.

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