The Harvard Film Archive will host “Reverence: The Films of Owen Land” (formerly known as George Landow) — a touring exhibition celebrating the work of one of the most original and celebrated American filmmakers of the ’60s and ’70s — on April 16. The program, which includes 15 shorts ranging from between 3 and 22 minutes long, will kick off at 7 p.m. General admission is $8 ($6 for students and seniors).
Land’s early materialist works anticipated Structural Film, the definition of which provoked his rejection of film theory and convention. Having first explored the physical qualities of the celluloid strip itself in “Film in Which There Appear Edge Lettering, Sprocket Holes, Dirt Particles, Etc.” and “Bardo Follies,” Land’s attention turned to the spectator in a series of “literal” films that question the illusionary nature of cinema through the use of word play and optical ambiguity.
In several of these films, Land constructs facades of reality, often directly addressing the viewer using the language of television, advertising, or educational films. Experimental film itself is also parodied, as Land mimics his contemporaries and mocks the solemn approach of theorists and scholars.