The Mills Folly Microcinema series leaps into 2019 with the accessible eccentricities of the late George Kuchar, whose 1989 visit to the UW-Madison campus inspired the cheeky meta diary-film, 500 Millibars To Ecstasy, now celebrating its 30th anniversary. Every so often over the years, local screening series in Madison have featured Kuchar’s work, including one of his most famous and influential avant-garde shorts, Hold Me While I'm Naked (1966), which simultaneously embraces high art and kitsch. Kuchar blurs the line between mocking and celebrating the internal melodrama of amateur filmmaking, instilling it with an enchanting performance art quality that inspired provocateur and "Pope of Trash" John Waters.Read More
Mills Folly Microcinema, Madison’s newest experimental film showcase, is taking a trip down the personal rabbit hole of a very naughty rabbit with Melodrama/Melodiary: Three Videos by George Kuchar.
Kuchar was active in the experimental film scene for more than five decades until his death in 2011. A compulsive artist, he made roughly 250 films, many of them “diaries” of his day-to-day life. Campy, raunchy and arguably vile, he was a hero to none other than the Pope of Trash himself, director John Waters. In an introduction to a memoir written by Kuchar and his twin brother, Mike, Waters describes the brothers as his “first inspiration … a bigger inspiration than Warhol, Kenneth Anger, even The Wizard of Oz.”Read More
The bad artist, in some sense, doesn’t live in this world—“this world” being the sphere of existence governed by a real or imagined consensus—or else, dwells in this world in order to contaminate it, to draw attention to those things ungovernable by the socius. That which is excessive, that which we look away from in disgust. These things, this scum, being the primary focus of artists like Dieter Roth and George Kuchar throughout the duration of their long working lives.Read More
September 17 – October 30, 2016
Curated by Jordan Stein
Opening Reception: Saturday, September 17, 6 – 9 PM
George Kuchar (1942–2011) documented his gastronomic, meteorological, and libidinal desires in hundreds of film and video productions across four decades. An appetite for intimacy drove many of his first-person adventures, perhaps most tenderly in THE MONGRELOID (1978), a 16mm love-letter to his treasured mutt, Bocko. In nine absurd minutes, Kuchar walks the indifferent animal down memory lane, reflecting mostly on posterior matters: "How's your operation on your behind? You had that 400 dollar operation on your tushy, remember that?"Read More
George Kuchar is one of the great artists in the history of the moving image…We are amazed by the craft, the perfect cues, the skillful edits, the startling images and visual rhymes, the flawless pacing and ingenious continuity, often achieved spontaneously, in camera. His images can be both insanely bizarre and rapturously beautiful, with a hallucinatoryotherness seldom achieved by even the most visionary artists in film history…Read More
It had long been the dream of Melinda McDowell-Milks, Curt McDowell’s sister, to stage an event where the newly-restored Directors Cut of Thundercrack! (1975) could be seen in San Francisco on the Castro Theater’s giant screen. Synapse Films—responsible for the restoration work in preparation for the film’s forty-year anniversary—gave her permission.”Go ahead. Do it.” But having never done anything of the sort, she had no awareness of the mechanics involved, and didn’t know what she even needed to know.Read More
December 18, 2015 @ 7pm
Unique, prolific, emotional and funny, the filmmakers George Kuchar (1942 - 2011) and Anne Charlotte Robertson (1949 - 2012) both left behind many hours of moving image diaries, much of which is housed at the Harvard Film Archive. While the tones of their respective diaries are quite different, both Kuchar and Robertson cover similar leitmotifs, including food, the body, cats, family and the natural world. They also share the tradition of cinematically confronting the holiday season—a time that can be melancholy or festive, lonely or celebratory, and usually a bit of everything. Tonight we present a selection of their complementary, alternative visions of sugar plums.Read More
April 11, 2015
This collection of films—which includes works rarely considered alongside one another—lends another perspective to the exhibition International Pop by examining cinema as an extension of Pop practice around the world.Read More
May 31, 2012
Mike Kuchar swears he remembers being born. Not his own birth, exactly, but the arrival of his twin brother, George, minutes later.
"I can't get it out of my mind," he says. "I remember seeing him being slapped. And the weirdest thing about it is, I remember thinking, 'I hope he's going to cry the first time. Otherwise they'll hit him again.' "
The Kuchars are the Bronx-born film mavericks who gave the world such underground gems as "Hold Me While I'm Naked," "Confessions of a Teenage Rumpot" and "Sins of the Fleshapoids." Cheerfully dogged in their pursuit of an artistry that bypassed commerce and trends, the Kuchars are bona fide filmmaking heroes.Read More
July 26, 2004
In 1964, Susan Sontag published her seminal essay, “Notes on Camp” (1). Seeking to define an increasingly prevalent cultural trend, she described a sensibility of passionate extravagance that cannibalised other forms of both high and popular art, even as it violated their most sacred tenets in its seeming trivialisation of traditionally serious subject matter. Two years after its publication, American underground filmmaker George Kuchar created Hold Me While I’m Naked, a film that has come to stand as one of camp’s defining texts.Read More
November 11, 1999
The sudden death, disappearance, or withdrawal of a key actor during the shooting of a big Hollywood movie is the kind of Industry debacle that drives producers into a panic, capsizes multi-million dollar productions, and sends studio flunkies scrambling for damage control with press and investors alike.Read More
August 6, 1997
In the 1960s, when independent films were still called "underground" and nascent filmmakers didn't fashion their work as Hollywood audition pieces, twin brothers George and Mike Kuchar were stars. They made 8mm and 16mm movies for peanuts, gave them titles like "I Was a Teenage Rumpot" and "The Naked and the Nude," and stocked them with lurid obsessions, taboo fantasies and raunchy thrills.Read More