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Ism, Ism, Ism: Countercultures and Undergrounds

Ism, Ism, Ism: Countercultures and Undergrounds

Manuel de Landa, Ism Ism, (1979)

Los Angeles Filmforum and REDCAT present

Ism, Ism, Ism: Countercultures and Undergrounds

At REDCAT, 631 West 2nd Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012

In Person: Curator Luisa Marisy, director and performance artist Rolando Peña

Experimental film is often intimately connected with a variety of countercultural movements, some global in reach, others very specifically local. Some of these filmmakers explicitly embrace these movements’ radical political goals, and at other times their ideological concerns are simply implicit, but all of these films are unified by their allegiance to a range of underground, youth or countercultural phenomena. Several of these films document performances, ephemeral actions, or interventions into public space. Marabunta, for example, a 1967 film and performance directed by Narcisa Hirsch, with the collaboration of Marie Louise Alemann, and Walther Mejía, involves the interaction of an audience--coming out of a theater where they had seen the Buenos Aires premiere of Antonioni's Blow Up-- with fruit, live pigeons, and a giant plaster skeleton, documented in 16mm by radical filmmaker Raymundo Gleyzer. Enrique Pineda Barnet’s extraordinary Juventud rebeldía revolución offers documentation of a performance by an international collective lead by Cuba’s Grupo de Teatro Experimental.  In the spirit of Situationist détournement and punk pranks, Manuel Delanda’s Ismism captures the filmmaker’s own interventions on Manhattan billboards, rendered across the city with an X-Acto knife. In Esplendor do Martírio, Sérgio Péo rehearses his theory of Super 8 as a vehicle of language - which would later be materialized in his poem/manifesto "Super 8 as an Instrument of Language." Esplendor do Martírio visualizes a group of intellectuals occupying and disrupting the urban space, later to be removed by the Brazilian military. Rolando Peña, iconic figure of Venezuela’s avant-garde, produces an impossible dialogue that takes place within the noisy scene of a construction site of the Caracas Metro, echoing the complex relationship between intellectual debates and the noise of "progress."Alfredo Gurrola’s super-8 trip, based on a poem by exiled Spanish writer Tomás Segovia, points to some of the preoccupations of a counterhegemonic radical alternative culture.

“Since the late 60s, Narcisa Hirsch has been building a body of work that has an aesthetic, conceptual and cinematic range that few filmmakers have been able to achieve.” – The Viennale

“Manuel DeLanda’s deviant art meets The New York Dolls: Ismism captures his truly inspired collage mutations of New York City subway ads during the mid-to-late 70s. Slicing and dicing the perfect faces of models into deviant ghouls, it turns the homogenate into the ripening rot of nightmares.” –

This screening is part of Los Angeles Filmforum’s screening series Ism, Ism, Ism: Experimental Cinema in Latin America (Ismo, Ismo, Ismo: Cine Experimental en América Latina) at REDCAT. Ism, Ism, Ism is an unprecedented, five-month film series —the first in the U.S.—that surveys Latin America’s vibrant experimental production from the 1930s through today. Revisiting classic titles and introducing recent works by key figures and emerging artists, Ism, Ism, Ism takes viewers on a journey through a wealth of materials culled from unexpected corners of Latin American film archives.  Key historical and contemporary works from Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Cuba, Ecuador, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay, Venezuela, Puerto Rico and the United States will be featured.  Many of the works in the series are largely unknown in the United States and most screenings will include national and area premieres, with many including Q&A discussions with filmmakers and scholars following the screening.  The film series will continue through January 2017 at multiple venues, organized by Filmforum.

Ism, Ism, Ism is accompanied by a bilingual publication (from University of California Press) placing Latino and Latin American experimental cinema within a broader dialogue that explores different periods, cultural contexts, image-making models, and considerations of these filmmakers within international cinema. 

Ism, Ism, Ism is part of Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA, a far-reaching and ambitious exploration of Latin American and Latino art in dialogue with Los Angeles. 

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Major support for Ism Ism Ism is provided through grants from the Getty Foundation. Significant additional support comes from the Andy Warhol Foundation for Visual Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Mike Kelley Foundation for the Arts.
Pacific Standard Time is an initiative of the Getty. The presenting sponsor is Bank of America.

Jack H. Skirball Series

Tickets: $12 general; REDCAT members $9; CalArts students and Filmforum members $6.  Available in advance from Brown Paper Tickets at or at the door.


is located at 631 West 2nd Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012 - at the corner of 2nd and Hope Streets inside the Walt Disney Concert Hall complex. Parking is available in the Walt Disney Concert Hall parking structure and at adjacent lots. Unless otherwise specified, tickets are $12 for the general public, $9 for members. Tickets may be purchased by calling 213.237.2800 or at or in person at the REDCAT Box Office on the corner of 2nd and Hope Streets (30 minutes free parking with validation). Box Office Hours: Tue-Sat | noon–6 pm and two hours prior to curtain. 




By Manuel DeLanda

U.SA., 1979, 5:57 minutes, color, silent, Super 8mm film presented as a digital file

Preserved by Anthology Film Archives with support from The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts and the National Film Preservation Foundation

Juventud, rebelión, revolución

By Enrique Pineda Barnet

Cuba, 1969, 30 min, color, sound, 35mm film projected as digital file.


Film and performance by Narcisa Hirsch, performance assisted by Marie Louise Alemann & Walther Mejia, camera by Raymundo Gleyzer

Argentina, 1967, 8 min., black and white, projected as digital file.

Esplendor do maritiro

By Sergio Peo

Brazil, 1974, 9:30, color, sound, Super 8 film projected as digital file.

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Cotorra 2

Cotorra 2

By Rolando Peña

Venezuela, 1976, 9 min., Super 8mm, projected as digital file

Segunda Primera Matriz

By Alfredo Gurrola

Mexico, 1972, 13:00, color, sound, Super 8mm film projected as digital file.