Check out these films to be screened at International House Philadelphia (3701 Chestnut Street) this July: “Jordan Belson: Films Sacred and Profane” on July 6 at 7:00pm and “Come Back, Africa” on July 27 at 7:00pm. Both films are free for IHP members but $7 for students and seniors, and $9 for general admission. Visit iHouse Philly’s site for more information.
Jordan Belson: Films Sacred and Profane will be presented in association with Center for Visual Music in memory of Jordan Belson (1926-2011). The artist’s “cosmic cinema,” a visionary body of work brimming with vibrant color, mandalas, liquid forms, and mesmerizing rhythms, explores consciousness, transcendance, and the very nature of light itself.
Born in Chicago and raised in the Bay Area, Belson trained as a painter before turning his attention to filmmaking in 1947 after discovering the abstract films of Oskar Fischinger, Norman McLaren, and Hans Richter at the seminal Art in Cinema series. Starting in 1957, Belson collaborated with sound artist Henry Jacobs on the “Vortex Concerts,” multimedia events that combined new electronic music from around the world with Belson’s visual effects projected on the interior of the sixty-five-foot dome of the California Academy of Science’s Morrison Planetarium. This program features rarely screened films including Séance (1959), new preservation prints of Momentum (1968) and Chakra (1972), and Epilogue (2005), a distillation of sixty years of visionary images synchronized to a symphonic tone poem by Rachmaninoff, and more.
Before beginning the production of the film, director Lionel Rogosin spent several months touring Africa, becoming accustomed to the way of life in South Africa and acquiring a sense of the apartheid government’s sensitivity to anti-government “conspiracies” – such as the very film he wished to create.
Rogosin’s 1959 powerful classic is considered one of the bravest and best of all political films. After witnessing firsthand the terrors of fascism as a soldier in World War II, Rogosin vowed to fight against it wherever and whenever he saw it reemerging. In an effort to expose “what people try to avoid seeing,” he travelled to South Africa and secretly filmed Come Back, Africa, which revealed the cruelty and injustice suffered by black and colored peoples under apartheid.