"San Francisco Bay Guardian" - december 16, 1998

(edited from their on-line edition)

Cinemix '98

The year in review by our critics and local filmmakers and programmers.

Many of the best films I saw in 1998 haven't made it to San Francisco yet, including my favorite film of the year, Abel Ferrara's insane, crack-drizzled, and much-hated masterpiece The Blackout; plus Hou Hsiao-hsien's Flowers of Shanghai, Philippe Grandrieux's Sombre, and Tsai Ming-liang's The Hole.

The local film events I most enjoyed were tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE's appearances and the premiere of Jim VanBebber's Charlie's Family. In the filth department, nothing quite topped the evil stoner rhythms of Rob Black's Miscreants. Nineteen ninety-eight also marked the triumphant return of Sleazoid Express editor Bill Landis's astonishing new film zine, Metasex. And even though we lost the Geneva Drive-In, the Mini-Adult staggers on.

- JOEL SHEPARD Film/Video Curator Yerba Buena Center for the Arts

However they're described -- as avant-garde, underground, or experimental -- radical outsiders made many stunning and memorable contributions to the increasingly commercialized clutter of "independent" films released (or rediscovered) in 1998. Some of my favorites: Sadie Benning's live-action cartoon psychic investigation of an androgynous 11-year-old girl, Flat Is Beautiful; Ken Jacobs's ecstatic Nervous-System performance reworking Laurel and Hardy footage, Ontic Antics; Anne Robertson's riveting Super-8mm foray into the edge of loss and madness, Emily Died (Five Year Diary, Reel 80); tENTATIVELY A CONVENIENCE's anarchic and formally subversive regurgitation of generic industry found-footage Bob Cobbing/Movie Trivia/Hypnopedagogy; Nathaniel Dorsky's magnificent apotheosis of sensual and poetic montage, Variations; Janie Geiser's mysterious, dreamlike real-object-animated world of an imagined past, Immer Zu; Jacalyn White's ground-breaking (but little known) 1981 Super-8mm portrait of her mother's sexual self-identity, In Mother's Way; Shohei Imamura's offbeat but masterful blend of violence, compassion, and the absurd, The Eel; and Steve Fagin's rollicking postmodern celebration-exploration of Cuban culture, TropiCola.

- STEVE ANKER Director San Francisco Cinematheque


to the tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE movie-making "Press: Criticism, Interviews, Reviews" home-page

to the "tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE - Sprocket Scientist" home-page

to the "FLICKER" home-page for the alternative cinematic experience

to find out more about why the S.P.C.S.M.E.F. (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Sea Monkeys by Experimental Filmmakers) is so important

for A Mere Outline for One Aspect of a Book on Mystery Catalysts, Guerrilla Playfare, booed usic, Mad Scientist Didactions, Acts of As-Beenism, So-Called Whatevers, Psychopathfinding, Uncerts, Air Dressing, Practicing Promotextuality, Imp Activism, etc..

for info on tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE's tape/CD publishing label: WIdémoUTH

to see an underdeveloped site re the N.A.A.M.C.P. (National Association for the Advancement of Multi-Colored Peoples)