About The Spiritual Avant-Garde

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From Aleister Crowley to the Kabbalah, this short film program draws together a selection of experimental films that use the cinematic medium to explore themes related to spirituality and the occult. Included amongst the shorts are Maya Deren’s unfinished short shot in the Art of This Century Gallery (The Witch’s Cradle, 1943, 12 min); Kenneth Anger’s masquerade party based on the legend of Bacchus (Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome, 1954, 38 min); and Stan Brakhage’s sexual witchcraft featuring a feline medium (Cat’s Cradle, 1959, 6 min). Other works include those of Storm de Hirsch (Geometrics of the Kabbalah, 1975, 12 min), Harry Smith (Mirror Animations, 1979, 11 min), and the late Jonas Mekas (Hare Krishna, 1966, 4 min). Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome print courtesy of Canyon Cinema Foundation. All other prints courtesy of  The Film-makers’ Cooperative. Contains mature content.


The screening order for this program is as follows:

Hare Krishna (Jonas Mekas, 1966, 4 min.)  

The Witch's Cradle (Maya Deren, 1943, 12 min)  

Cat's Cradle (Stan Brakhage, 1959, 6 min)  

Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome (Kenneth Anger, 1954, 38 min)  

Geometrics of the Kabbalah (Storm de Hirsch, 1975, 12 min.)  

Mirror Animations (Harry Smith, 1979, 11 min.)

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