Get out of the car, by US filmmaker Thom Andersen,is a city symphony film in 16mm composed from advertising signs, building facades, fragments of music and conversation, and unmarked sites of vanished cultural landmarks (including El Monte Legion Stadium and the Barrelhouse in Watts). The musical fragments compose an impressionistic survey of popular music made in Los Angeles (and a few other places) from 1941 to 1999, with an emphasis on rhythm’n’blues and jazz from the 1950s and corridos from the 1990s. The music of Richard Berry, Johnny Otis, Leiber and Stoller, and Los Tigres del Norte is featured prominently.
Thom Andersen has lived in Los Angeles for most of his life. In the 1960s, he made short films, including Melting (1965), Olivia’s Place (1966), and --- ------- (1967, with Malcolm Brodwick). In 1974 he completed Eadweard Muybridge, Zoopraxographer, an hour-long documentation of Muybridge’s photographic work. In 1995, with Noël Burch, he completed Red Hollywood, a videotape about the filmwork created by the victims of the Hollywood Blacklist. Their work on the history of the Blacklist also produced a book, Les Communistes de Hollywood: Autre chose que des martyrs, published in 1994. In 2003 he completed Los Angeles Plays Itself, a videotape about the representation of Los Angeles in movies. It won the National Film Board of Canada Award for Best Documentary Feature at the 2003 Vancouver International Film Festival, and it was voted best documentary of 2004 in the Village Voice Film Critics’ Poll. He has taught film composition at the California Institute of the Arts since 1987.
Sharon Lockhart’s new film, Podworka, takes as its subject matter the courtyards of Lodz, Poland, and the children that inhabit them. A ubiquitous architectural element of the city, Lodz’ courtyards are the playgrounds of the children that live in the surrounding apartment buildings. Separated from the streets, they provide a sanctuary from the traffic and commotion of the city. Yet far from the overdetermined playgrounds of America, the courtyards are still very much urban environments. In six different courtyards throughout the city of Lodz, we see parking lots, storage units, and metal armatures become jungle gyms, sandboxes, and soccer fields in the children’s world. A series of fleeting interludes within city life, Podworka is both a study of a specific place and an evocation of the resourcefulness of childhood.
Sharon Lockhart’s films and photographic work have been widely exhibited at international film festivals and in museums, cultural institutions, and galleries around the world, including the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the Walker Art Cetner and the Kunsthalle, Zurich. Her most exhibitions include the Vienna Secession, the Kunstverein in Hamburg and the 55th Carnegie International, Pittsburgh. She is currently an associate professor at the University of Southern California’s Roski School of Fine Arts. She is represented by Neugerriemschneider, Berlin and Gladstone Gallery, New York, and Blum and Poe, Los Angeles.