Monday, May 11, 2009

In Search of Buried 16mm Treasures

In Search of Ancient Astronauts
directed by Harald Reinl (1973, 52 minutes)

Examines the theory that the Earth once had visitors from outer space as it explores the clues which can be found in ancient monuments, artifacts, and documents.

Sometimes you can't see the forest for the trees. Or the buried treasures in your 16mm collection. Hats off to the folks at The Hexagon gallery/performance space (1825 N. Charles Street) for unearthing this 1973 "documentary" - narrated by Rod Serling! - in the Enoch Pratt Free Library's 16mm film collection.

Rod Serling in Twilight (of Career) Zone

In Search of Ancient Astronauts is an edited version of the 1970 German documentary Erinnerungen an die Zukunft (Chariots of the Gods), which jump-started the whole "In Search of" craze that's so beloved by the Lunatic Fringe/Fortean Times/High Weirdness/Conspiracy Theory crowd. It's based on the book Chariots of the Gods by Erich von Däniken and while skeptics (aka, intelligent human beings) will definitely view it more as "crockumentary" than documentary, it should be a lot of fun. Great programming Hexagoners!

The film is being screened May 27, 2009 as part of the Hexagon Free Wednesday Night 16mm Film Series which screens films starting at 7 p.m and encourages viewers to bring their own food and refreshments.

I like that the Hexagon is screening a lot of experimental films from the Pratt's collection. In fact, In Search of Ancient Astronauts is being paired with one of the most experimental, Peter Rose's The Man Who Could Not See Far Enough (1981, 33 minutes). And their May 13 shorts program reminds me of similar experimental film short programs we've screened in the past at the Central Library - though I suspect they'll get a much bigger crowd in their hipster-friendly digs. Check out this stellar line-up of pure psychotropic eye-candy that's not to be missed (especially the Whitney and VanDerBeek films):
Anemic Cinema, Marcel Duchamp, 1925, 5 min
Entr'acte, Rene Clair, 1924, 13 min
Allures, Jordan Belson, 1961, 8 min
Yantra, James Whitney, 1963, 8 min
Lapis, James Whitney, 1967, 10 min
Experiment in motion graphics, John Whitney, 1968, 11 min
Permutations, John Whitney, 1968, 6 min
Two Space, Larry Cuba, 1979, 8 min
Euclidean Illusions, Stan VanDerBeek, 1979, 9 min

Of course, the Enoch Pratt Central Library also has the sequel to In Search of Ancient Astronauts, In Search of Ancient Mysteries (1975, 52 minutes). Based on the book of the same title by Alan Landsburg, it is once again narrated by Rod Sterling and pre-dates the "In Search Of" TV series. Here's a sample clip from YouTube:

Ancient ruins and archaeological discoveries filmed on location throughout the world are used as evidence to explore the theory that there is a possibility that man on earth had his genesis somewhere in outer space.

Pratt Library 16mm "In Search of" titles:
In Search of Ancient Astronauts
In Search of Ancient Mysteries

See more "Ancient Astronauts" on YouTube:
In Search of Ancient Astronauts 1 of 6
In Search of Ancient Astronauts 2 of 6
In Search of Ancient Astronauts 3 of 6
In Search of Ancient Astronauts 4 of 6
In Search of Ancient Astronauts 5 of 6
In Search of Ancient Astronauts 6 of 6

Hexagon links: (official site)
Hexagon on MySpace
Hexagon on Facebook
Hexagon FREE Wednesday Night 16mm Film Series

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