The Tramp’s New World by Zoe Beloff
Rotations: A Return of Veggie Cloud, and Los Angeles Filmforum present
The Tramp’s New World by Zoe Beloff
Wednesday April 14 2022, 7:30 pm
In person at 2220 Arts + Archives, 2220 W. Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles CA 90057
Plentiful parking on Beverly and in the church lot across the street
Proof of vaccination and mask required, All ages
In-person: Zoe Beloff
To be followed by an in-person Q&A with the artist and Alexander Stewart (educator, filmmaker, and co-founder of the Eyeworks Festival of Experimental Animation).
Tickets: $12 general,
Unfortunately, Filmforum members won’t be able to obtain free admission for this screening.
Screening with In the Street (1952, Helen Levitt and James Agee, 16 min)
In an unrealized scenario written for his hero Charlie Chaplin in 1948, film critic, journalist, novelist, and screenwriter (Night of the Hunter!) James Agee imagined New York City destroyed by a nuclear bomb. At first there appears only one survivor, the Little Tramp himself. Though his community is destroyed, his spirit remains unbowed. As the Little Tramp sets off across the ruins of our country, he remains as ever mischievous, anarchic, eternally optimistic. Beloff’s formal exercise, based on Agee’s original notes for the project, involves spirited animation, projection, rare archival footage, and theatrical enactment—moving Agee’s devotion to Chaplin, and to a very contemporary radical collectivity, far beyond the formal.
“Even when he modified and showboated … Agee’s style was exciting in its pea-soup density,” wrote friend and fellow film critic Manny Farber. As the dispossessed settle around Beloff’s cinematic phantom(s) and their Central Park shack, her rendering of Agee’s pea-soup style grows frenzied and colorful, all-too current, then back to black-and-white melodrama
In the Street
Helen Levitt, James Agee, and Janice Loeb, 1952, b&w, 16 min.
Photographer Helen Levitt spent most of the 1940s photographing children in New York’s Spanish Harlem. Her pictures are among the most beautiful portrayals of childhood in the history of photography. In 1944, critic James Agee and painter Janice Loeb suggested that Levitt do a short film on the subject. The result is IN THE STREET, shot from 1945 to 1946 and released in 1952. Although Loeb and Agee signed as the film’s directors, it is Levitt who deserves credit for the result. The film is truly simple; an unaffected collage of scenes with children playing in the street. Vertov suggested that documentarians attempt to take life by surprise. That is what Levitt does in this short, modest, and extraordinary visual essay. ‘IN THE STREET seems to be like life itself: funny, tender, without artifice yet emotionally condensed’, a critic wrote. Charles Chaplin never tired of watching the film and entertained himself by attempting to imitate the kids’ mime. Curiously, in 1960, nearly fifteen years after IN THE STREET was made, American non-fiction cinema made a huge deal out of announcing the invention of the observational documentary. Helen Levitt was already making observational documentary in the mid-1940s, but since she was discreet, nobody noticed. -- João Moreira Salles, IDFA
The Tramp’s New World
Zoe Beloff, 2021, color, 62 min
“A Tramp’s New World” is the third part in a trilogy of films that explore unrealized scenarios by radical artists. These works are neither documentaries of failed films nor pastiches of period movies rather I use the original notes as a starting point to create a dialog with the past to help us gain new perspectives on our world today.
"Beloff’s film links back to her previous works about failed projects by two great radical artists, Sergei Eisenstein and Bertolt Brecht. Once asked about her methodology, Beloff replied: ‘I talk with people in the past.’ The Tramp’s New World continues that dialogue, with a further and fascinating exploration of how radical artists might mine the popular, and fragments of mass culture, to create political art for ordinary people. Once again, Beloff has acted as a medium, using the cinema to bring these ghosts, and their lost or forgotten utopian aspirations, from the past into the present." - Essay Film Festival, http://www.essayfilmfestival.com/tramps-new-world-qa/