By Stephanie Zacharek
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Charles Taylor
By Melissa Anderson
By Inkoo Kang
By Amy Nicholson
By Sam Weisberg
The pillars of the old New American Cinema have never lacked for ambition: In 1968, Andy Warhol showed a one- time-only 24-hour movie; a few years later, Hollis Frampton embarked on the never-completed 36-hour Magellan cycle, meant to be screened over the course of a 369-day year. In 2007, Jonas Mekas undertook his 365 Day Project, making a short video for each and every day. Nothing, however, can quite match the 80-hour, site-specific movie envisioned by Gregory Markopoulos (192892), which, incorporating his entire oeuvre and hence named Eniaios (Single), was intended for showing in 22 cycles in a temenos (sacred zone) outside his fathers Peloponnesian village.
Neighborhood tavernas notwithstanding, the Museum of the Moving Image is a long way from southern Greece. Still, all four and a half hours of Eniaios: Cycle Five will be screening, introduced by a scholarly panel discussion, this Saturday in the museums new stadium-style theater. An imposing film object, it begins as a stately flicker, alternating brief passages of opaque blackness with moments of white light, gradually introducing split-second images of stone walls, ruins, and rural landscapes. These images from darkness are repeated at regular, if changing, intervals. The effect is hypnotic; its as if a world is being conjured into existence. The cycles second halfincorporating material from, among other films, The Illiac Passion, Markopouloss mid-60s reworking of the Prometheus storyis less elemental, closer to narrative. Theres even a hint of a love story, delivered in one-second increments.
Like The Illiac Passion, many of Marko-pouloss films were alternate myths; Eniaios proposes an alternative form of cinema. Overtly predicated on the 24-frames-per-second rhythm of the motion-picture projector, it merges physiological with aesthetic response. White light is dazzling shock. Images fly at the viewer as if from a slingshot. Each is a fleeting epiphany that turns into a percussive illusory after-image before you can even grasp it. Rarefied yet visceral, at once austere and sensuous, Eniaios is pure cinema, a monumentunyielding and elusiveto fleeting sensation.
Eniaios: Cycle Five screens Saturday, February 19, at 3 p.m. at the Museum of the Moving Image, following a panel discussion at 1 p.m. with Markopouloss companion, filmmaker Robert Beavers, and others.
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