The Pacific Film Archive's weekly Alternative Visions series blasts off and blows up on Tuesday, September 2 at 7:30 p.m., with a new feature from the tirelessly resourceful multimedia culture jammer and mad maven of San Francisco's Other Cinema, Craig Baldwin.
Adventurous moviegoers who recall Baldwin from, say, Tribulation 99: Alien Anomalies Under America, a sort of unified field theory of pre-9/11 American conspiracies, surely will not want to miss his latest high-camp concoction of postwar California cultural history, Mock Up on Mu. And the rest of you, who've never heard of him but might just be in the mood for a cheeky satirical rhapsody wrought from cinematic spare parts, should see it too.
Mu unspools an untold, often untoward, but not entirely untrue tale of occultist and Jet Propulsion Lab founder Jack Parsons (Kal Spelletich); his poet-painter wife Marjorie Cameron (Michelle Silva), the so-called "mother of the New Age movement"; and Scientology originator L. Ron Hubbard (Damon Packard), who in Baldwin's poetically spastic mashup of found footage and staged live-action speculation, oversees lunar theme parks and informs his acolytes that, among other things, "we must take pity on the poor meat puppets who play host to the parasitic picture stories--memories from realms both real and imaginary, from this solar system as well as others."
It goes to show, once again, that there's such a fine line between the respective agonies and ecstasies of religion and cinema.
Baldwin will be on hand to answer your questions (such as "WTF?") or let you confess to him, as someone does to Mr. Hubbard in the film, "You have taught me to turn my psychological idiosyncrasies into assets for our cosmic initiative!"
Alternative Visions runs Tuesday evenings through October 28, 2008 at the Pacific Film Archive in Berkeley and includes films by Bruce Conner, Lewis Klahr, Valie Export, and James Benning, among others. For tickets andinformation visit bampfa.berkeley.edu.