Operating in a formal cinema space
Exploding Cinema is about redefining space and the whole aspect of watching films. But there were several of us that actually felt that the reasons why we got involved in film was because of going to see films in cinema auditoriums and to actually dismiss that was a trifle nonsensical. (We should) try and look at the positive aspects of what we could get from feature film screening facilities. (PT)
The Ritzy shows were controversial within the collective. Often it was left to Paul and Jennet to make these shows happen. Others in the collective were not so committed to the experiment and found the Ritzy too formal and constrained. We had to operate around their scheduling, which meant that setting up equipment before the show and dismantling it immediately afterwards had to be undertaken with manic efficiency at breakneck speeds.
But, as well as its brief to be responsive to the community, the Ritzy also had a desire to be a respectable tidy space and in various little ways this undermined Exploding's underground culture. At one point someone in the collective designed a notice board decorated with little creatures and so on. This was a contact point for people to buy and sell equipment or show films or whatever - a little filmmaker's forum. But it was soon taken down by the Ritzy management on the grounds that it was a fire risk. In the end there was a culture clash which, as we have seen, ranged from the architectural design of the Ritzy, to the institutional aesthetic as well as the basic economic conditions. For collective members like Paul who had been very influenced by arthouse cinema it was an important experiment. The Ritzy intervention is perhaps useful for what it uncovers about conventional cinema space...
Exploding's 'mystery feature' format included the following feature films:
- The Seven Faces of Dr Lao, Dir. George Pal, 1964
- Pretty Baby, Dir. Louis Malle, 1977
- Quatermas and the Pit, Dir. Roy Ward Baker, 1968
- Beyond the Valley of the Dolls, Dir. Russ Meyer, 1970
- Morgan a Suitable Case for Treatment, Dir. Karel Reisz, 1966
- The Man Who Got His Hair Cut Short, Dir. Andre Delvaux, 1966
- Bronco Bullfrog, Dir. Barney Platts-Mills, 1970
The features were chosen by Paul, Duncan, Colette and Caroline. They were chosen as idiosyncratic films that had had a personal influence on them as filmmakers.
We had to do a 'mystery' cult feature because we were hiring the films from a film society screening sort of list and you can't actually advertise publicly otherwise you get charged about twice the amount of money, so we had to go under the name of. . . this is all slightly illegal anyway - we had to go under the name 'Swollen Hearts Film Society' . (PT)
|Last Burst||Happy Cloud||1 min|
|After the Bomb||Ray Nardine||30 secs|
|Shaolin Buddha||John Coffey||3 mins|
|Always||Funky Porcini||30 secs|
|A Friend in the Garden||Julia Moore||6 mins|
|Destroy All Mobsters||Duncan Reekie||10 mins|
|Heady||Jennet Thomas||8 mins|
|D.I.Y. Workshop||Jennet Thomas||9 mins|
|Scum Alliance||Funky Porcini||5 mins|
|Edge O' Beyond||Andrew Coram||6 mins|
|London No Wave||Colette Rouhier||6 mins|
|Deeper Memoires of Obsession||Javier Gallego||10 mins|
|Seacreatures||Colette Rouhier||3 mins|
|Stay in a Friendly Country||Paul Tarrago||14 mins|
|Harrods||Funky Porcini||30 secs|
|Hugo Boss||Anna Rexia||2 mins|
|Identity Crash||The Higher Primate Research Council||5 mins|
|J'taime Boy||Colette Rouhier||3 mins|
|Therapy||Funky Porcini||30 secs|
|Klipperty Klopp||Andrew Kotting||7 mins|
|Every Woman's Nightmare||Arthur Lager||8 mins|
network of FILM GROUPS by time of 2nd Volcano! festival
- OMSK , a club orientated event run by the charismatic Steven Eastwood.
- THE HALLOWEEN SOCIETY with regular screenings at Notre Dame Hall in central London; run by Philip Illson and Tim Harding.
- FILMS THAT MAKE YOU GO HMMMMM... were holding screenings at the Samuel Pepys pub in Hackney, North London. This group was run by Mmoloki and Andrew Coram.
- KINODISOBEY , a short film cinema that specialised in underground music video and held regular screenings at The Chamber of Popular Culture; the organiser was Ian White.
- UNDERCURRENTS , an Oxford based documentary video group who bring out regular compilation videozines of radical protest and agitation; our contact was Ted Oakes.
- BACKSPACE , an underground media centre and 'internet web boutique' run by the new media entrepreneur James Stevens.
- CONSCIOUS CINEMA , a Brighton based radical protest video group.
- RENEGADE ARTS , an international underground film Exchange organised by Robert Robertson.
- MY EYES! MY EYES! a short film and performance cinema based in Woolwich South East London, run by Grace and Clive.
- [SIC], an eccentric performance cinema based in Islington north London.
- HEAD CLEANER , a Coventry based screening group. A contact was Anne Forgan.
- THE TERMINAL BAR , an underground cinema and cyber cafe based in Prague, in the Czech Republic; run by ex Exploder Danny Holman.
- KINO TROTTER, a Brussels based Belgium film group run by ex Exploder Katia Rossini.
- FAKE , an Amsterdam based no-budget film/video group who organise the ROUGH AND RUINED FESTIVAL. The contact given was Liz Wendelbo.
- ALL NIZO RESTRICTED REVOLUTION PICTURES , a Hamburg based no-budget Super 8 group who specialise in outdoor screenings. The contact person was Lutz Kayser.
- THE PINK PONY CLUB , a low budget film screening event in New York, run by Jane Higgins aka Jane Gang.
- TOTAL MOBILE HOME , a San Francisco based 'micro' cinema. The contact was Rebecca Barton.
Filmwaves magazine regularly listed the current groups on its 'Film Societies' page.
Perhaps the most distinctive thing about this festival and the London Underground film scene generally was the way that film wasn't isolated as a medium. In Volcano! film coexisted with music, performance, club-culture, publications, market stalls, cabaret, installations, debates, food and what have you. This made it open to life rather than being a closed media form. The films themselves are also as diverse as the contributing groups, which ranged from the Halloween Society's short film selections, which included the calling-card production values of mainstream short film culture, to the Kung Fu cultism and ironic street-wise posturing of Shaolin.
'Maldoror' contributors + credits
Describes itself on its website as:
A feature film in twelve Super 8mm episodes made by and starring the no-torious no-bility of UNDERGROUND CINEMA *Kerri Sharp*Filmgruppe Abgedreht*Duncan Reekie*Caroline Kennedy* Colette Rouhier*Filmgruppe Chaos*Steven Eastwood*Jenigerfilm*Andrew Coram*Hant Film*
Paul Tarrago*Jennet Thomas. German voice over Feridun Zaimoglu. English Voice over Duncan Reekie. Based on the novel by Isidore Ducasse a.k.a. the Comte de Lautreamont translated by Alexis Lykiard. Idea and Co-ordination by Duncan Reekie and Karsten Weber. 16mm post-production supported by Kulturelle Filmforderung Schleswig-Holstein e.V.