José Val del Omar

Courtesy Anthology Film Archives Fire in Castile


Thu., March 16, 7:30 p.m., Fri., March 17, 7:30 p.m., Sat., March 18, 6 & 8:30 p.m. and Sun., March 19, 6 & 8:30 p.m. 2017

Location Info:

Anthology Film Archives
32 Second Ave.
New York, NY  10003
The movies of the Spanish experimental filmmaker José Val del Omar are the subject of "Distant Touch," a three-program retrospective offering a rare glimpse into a sensorially exploratory and technically innovative body of work that marries the synesthetic experimentation of Jean Epstein with the totemic iconography of Kenneth Anger and the technical ingenuity of expanded cinema. The series begins with the director's early work in pedagogical filmmaking in the Thirties — including his expressive ethnographies of rural Spain, Scenes 1932 (1932) and Christian Feasts/Secular Feasts (1935) — and continues with his masterpiece, Elementary Triptych of Spain, which he worked on over the course of three decades. In the triptych's centerpiece, Fire in Castile (1958–60), Val del Omar deploys an arsenal of experimental lighting and photographic techniques to apprehend the region's religious sculpture through the eerily psychedelic experience of what he called "tactile vision." "Distant Touch" concludes with a program dedicated to the kaleidoscopic object study Variations on a Pomegranate (1975) and Throw Your Watch Into the Water (2004), Eugeni Bonet's feature-length reworking of Val del Omar's footage.


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