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The Guests, by Ken Jacobs

The Guests, by Ken Jacobs

The Guests

Los Angeles Filmforum, Acropolis Cinema, REDCAT, LACMA, and 3-D SPACE present

The Guests, by Ken Jacobs

Tuesday October 9, 2018, 8:00pm

At the Downtown Independent, 251 S. Main Street, Los Angeles CA 90012

Los Angeles premiere, with Ken & Flo Jacobs in person!

Ken Jacobs has been concerned with the exploration of stereoscopic phenomena since the mid 1960s. He has experimented with a number of 3D techniques, and has developed ways to infuse his 2D work with heightened illusions of depth. The Guests, which has existed previously as a slide installation and an anaglyph video, will be presented tonight in its final incarnation: as a digital 3D spectacle. Continuing the work started with Tom, Tom the Piper’s Son, Ken Jacobs revisits an early Lumière Brothers film, Entree d’une noce à l’église (1896). As we watch the congregation mounting the steps of a Parisian church, our attention is drawn to the smallest of details: from the grain of the image to the facial gestures of the long-dead guests to the city landscape behind them. Ken Jacobs does more than extend the time (and space) of the original footage: he invites us to see in a way that we have never seen before. (Bozar Centre for Fine Arts)

“Cinema's master inter- and reinventionist [has] found yet another way to make the medium new, employing a logarithim to rework a thirty-second fragment of a 1897 Lumière actualité into a seventy-three minute 3-D movie wherein space regularly inverts itself. Kinda has to be seen to be believed.’ - J. Hoberman, Artforum

“A sort of cinematic equivalent of a literary explication de texte—an exercise in which a single, brief work is made to expand, undulate, deepen, and shift shape simply by virtue of being looked at unblinkingly and at length.” - Max Nelson, Reverse Shot

“Forges new space in this century-plus old [Lumiére brother's] work, re-birthing cinema, and re-contextualizing the ontology of moving pictures. The Guests is yet another journey towards a future that requires us to first travel to the past.” - Adam Cook, MUBI Notebook

“Viewing this antique footage with a 21st century makeover––creating an innovative link between the beginning and "end" of cinema––makes for a challenging, but extremely satisfying visual treasure hunt where these jolly, dolled-up figures begin to take on all manner of ghostly forms.” - David Jenkins, Little White Lies

Born in New York in 1933, Ken Jacobs studied painting and started making films in 1955. In 1969, he started the Department of Cinema at the State University of New York in Binghamton.  He taught there from 1974 until his retirement in 2000. Along with teaching cinema, he has made a number of experimental films and videos, which have been shown worldwide.

Ken Jacobs will have additional different appearances at LACMA on Sunday October 7 at 1:00 pm and at REDCAT on Monday Oct 8 at 8:30 pm.

Presented in conjunction with LACMA’s exhibition 3D: Double Vision on view July 15, 2018– March 31, 2019. 

Tickets: $12 general; $6 for students/seniors; free for Filmforum members. Available in advance from Brown Paper Tickets at or at the door.

For more information: or 323-377-7238 or

The Guests

By Ken Jacobs

2013, digital 3-D, 74 min.

“One of the founders of the American avant-garde cinema, Ken Jacobs has been working ceaselessly and boundlessly in film, video and moving image performance for over fifty years.  THE GUESTS, a recent venture into the world of digital 3D by the esteemed avant-garde moviemaker Ken Jacobs. Subjecting the latter half of the Lumière brothers’ film ENTRÉE D’UNE NOCE À L’ÉGLISE (A Wedding Party Enters the Church, 1897) to his own inimitable sorcery, Jacobs more or less demolishes the spatiotemporal integrity of the original, exceeding the relatively benign effects he created via his “Nervous System” performance treatment of the first half of the film, conducted live in 1996. Titled COUPLING, this earlier engagement with the Lumières’ footage showed the bride and groom and members of the wedding party entering the church prior to “the guests.” As his slide projector installation of 1999 and his digital video of 2008, both titled THE GUESTS, suggest, Jacobs has been entranced by the Lumières for decades. The advances of digital 3D have finally allowed him to take this fascination to new depths."  —Tony Pipolo. Artforum, April 2015.