Now Playing! ‘Perpetual Motion’ is a Feast of Disruption

Screengrab from Malic Amalya's "Towards the Death of Cinema" (2014). (Malic Amalya/Vimeo)

Come Thursday, when you’re listing all the things you’re grateful for in these suddenly perilous times, do not forgot the artists. Perennially the first line of resistance to Orwellian doublespeak, passive-media groupthink and authoritarian clampdown, they will be particularly necessary -- and vulnerable -- in the coming months. The avant-garde filmmakers and musicians performing Tuesday, Nov. 22 in the sixth (!) program in San Francisco Cinematheque’s ongoing Perpetual Motion series at Gray Area in the Mission District may not be overtly political, but their work is designed to arouse, awaken and disrupt. Their timing is spot-on.

Hangjun Lee, 'Film Walk'
Hangjun Lee, 'Film Walk' (Courtesy of SF Cinematheque)

The series is an intensive immersion in live cinema, a.k.a. performance cinema, whose practitioners, like Oakland-based collaborators Malic Amalya and Nathan Hill, create (and sometimes destroy) their material on the spot, in front of the audience. The element of unpredictability, as with any live show, engenders a whiff of electricity and, possibly, danger. Amalya and Hill’s provocatively titled Toward the Death of Cinema combines a 16mm projector and a synthesizer to evoke the “natural” cycle of decay, destruction and renewal.

Even more spontaneous, perhaps, is South Korean filmmaker Hangjun Lee, making his first West Coast appearance with the multi-projector work “Film Walk,” accompanied by the renowned French electronic musician Jerome Noetinger.

Portrait of Sally Golding
Portrait of Sally Golding (Courtesy of SF Cinematheque)

From Australia (by way of the UK) comes Sally Golding, whose sound-and-image constructions actively and explicitly involve the audience. The program is called Birth / Death / Resurrection, which, if you think about it, is implicit in the celebration of every holiday. Happy Thanksgiving.