Heaven and Earth Magic

Posted by | Conversations at the Edge | Posted on | February 12, 2004

Thursday, February 12, 2004, 8pm

heaven_and_earth_magic_03

A magician dismembers a woman and tries to put her back together.  Such is the plot of this unique feature-length animation, created with 19th-century engravings and compulsive single-mindedness by Harry Smith (1923-1991), beatnik musicologist and one of cinema’s greatest outsiders. As its cutout protagonists undertake mystical journeys of uncertain purpose, viewers may imagine they are  watching a complex and mysterious civilization flourish and self-destruct.  Like a Cornell box come to life, but with a strange, hostile energy all its own, Heaven and Earth Magic is absorbing and endlessly interpretable. 16mm (Jim Trainor). 1962, Harry Smith, USA, 66 min, 16mm.

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