City

2009
Jem Cohen, Le Bled (Buildings in a Field)

A collaboration with writer Luc Sante made in Tangier, Morocco, a city where neither of us had ever been. En route from the airport to the city center, we found ourselves amazed by the landscape outside of the car windows; a massive construction project under way in all directions. While not in itself unusual, we were by struck dumb by the epic scale and seemingly incomprehensible plan of the development and were drawn to return together to this puzzling zone.

-- Jem Cohen

2017
Liquid Image

September 24th, 2016, North Avenue Beach, Chicago. It was a sunny day. According to the weather report, the temperature was 75°F, with the barometer reading of 30 inches height and the wind speed of 13 miles per hour. The time was 2:27 pm, I was standing by the Michigan Lake. In my hand there was a waterproof camera that weighs 2.6 ounces. I pressed the record button on the camera and threw it into the lake. The camera sank into the lake immediately and embarked on a mysterious journey. During the journey, it was elevated, pressed, panned, rotated, and spun by the water.

2008
Long for the City

Long for the City is a short portrait of Patti Smith in the city where she lives. Patti recites the very first poem-song she ever wrote, and then a later one, "Prayer", from the early 1970s. We take a walk in her changing neighborhood, and I ask her what she saw. Footage was shot in the moment, as well as drawn from the archive I've gathered over many years. Long for the City can be considered a non-musical companion piece to the music short, Spirit, which we collaborated on in 2007.

1996
Lost Book Found

The result of over five years of Super-8 and 16mm filming on New York City streets, Lost Book Found melds documentary and narrative into a complex meditation on city life. The piece revolves around a mysterious notebook filled with obsessive listings of places, objects, and incidents. These listings serve as the key to a hidden city: a city of unconsidered geographies and layered artifacts—the relics of low-level capitalism and the debris of countless forgotten narratives. The project stems from the filmmaker's first job in New York—working as a pushcart vendor on Canal Street.

2001
Lost Sound

Lost Sound documents fragments of discarded audio tape found by the artists within a small area of East London, combining the sound retrieved from each piece of tape with images of the place where it was found. The work explores the potential of chance, creating portraits of particular places by building formal, narrative, and musical connections between images and sounds, linked by the random discoveries of the tape samples.

1997
Lucky Three

An independent film portrait of singer/songwriter Elliott Smith in Portland, Oregon in 1996, wherein he plays three songs. The songs were done live acoustic--in his old studio, a living room, and a bathroom (it was quiet in there). It's also a small portrait of Portland, Oregon.

The songs are "Between the Bars", "Angeles", and a cover of "Thirteen" by Big Star.

This is Elliott as I remember him, at his simple finest as musician. 

2000
Macho Shogun

¡Macho Shogun! was created by Reed Anderson and Daniel Davidson over a single weekend some time in 2000.  It's your basic monster-robot / destroy-city kind of video that we wanted to make when we were kids but never did.

This title is only available on Suitable Video, Volume 1.

2012
Tom Palazzolo, Vivian Maier Photographer

This 12-minute video by Tom Palazzolo and Chicago writer Jack Helbig tells the story of the recently discovered Chicago street photographer Vivian Maier. Though she was unknown in her lifetime, her extensive body of work is rewriting the history of post-World War II American street photography. The video, told from the point of view of Maier herself, recounts her life and work, from her childhood in France to her move to NYC in 1951 and subsequent relocation to Chicago, where the majority of her work was done.

1988
Man with a Video Camera

After an all-night session of editing Free Society, Garrin headed home with video-8 camera in-hand, only to happen upon the Tompkins Square riots. As police tried to enforce a curfew aimed at removing homeless people from the park, Garrin began gathering footage of cops beating up protesters. He was then attacked by police himself, as the camera continued to roll. The footage was subsequently incorporated into Free Society, in which the military myth of "protect and serve" is dismantled by first-hand experience.

2011
Manhole 452

Despite assurances from local municipalities, a fact of life is that Manholes blow sky high more frequently than most people realize. Manhole 452 directs the viewer’s attention to the shapes, sizes and patterns of manhole covers on Geary Street in San Francisco, and then plunges deep below into the manholes themselves to explore the hidden threat that lies below.

1997
Mapping a City of Fragments

Using the opening of Godard's film Alphaville as a foundation, Lord constructs a vision of the evolving global city during the last years of the 20th Century. Structured as a series of repetitions, the montage of the changing city is offset by shots of corporate Silicon Valley facades. The result is a dialectical contrast between urban and suburban space, body and mind, chaos and order, and the postmodern and the modern. Shot in Hi-8 video in Tokyo, Fukuoka City, Mexico City, Rome, San Francisco, Naples, and Los Angeles.

1971
Mayday Realtime

Shot over one day, this program records the events and protests in Washington DC on May Day, 1971. This was the day when one of the most disruptive actions of the Vietnam War era occurred in Washington, DC, when thousands of anti-war activists tried to shut down the Federal government in protest at the War.

A feel for the mood in the city is gained during the first half of the video with shots of the city from a moving car in traffic. Protestors, city residents, and police are captured on tape, along with exciting and moving shots of the day's actions and arrests.

2014
A Memory of Astoria

A Memory of Astoria, commissioned for Museum of the Moving Image, is an impressionistic portrait of the blocks surrounding the Museum in Astoria, New York. Artist Ezra Wube walked the neighborhood to observe the area’s confluence of cultures, focusing on everyday moments, sights, and sounds. He reconstituted these experiences into a poetic visual collage, inserting himself as a silhouetted observer exploring the memories of his walks.

2015
Memory Palace

Memory Palace is a short video grounded in the personal history of the artist. A discovery of a photo album activates memories of physical spaces, which in turn open doors to reminiscences of past family life. Inspired by the classical method of loci, the film presents a woman — singer/songwriter Alice Smith — at work in Los Angeles.

2000
Metropolitan Monologues

The New York City summer is fueled by the sultry emanations of hot air that tumble off the tongues of potential thespians as they attempt to decipher the gastric guesswork embedded in the prose of the pre-production process. The video camera flits across the boroughs of NYC in a splash-dash sojourn of sumptuous banquets and bohemian bombast, while the down-to-earth wisdom of the seeing impaired helps to guide the protagonist into detours of wisdom befitting his putrid project.