Sidney Peterson’s San Francisco Surrealism

Film - Series | November 10 | 7 p.m. |  Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive

 Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive

After collaborating with James Broughton on The Potted Psalm, Sidney Peterson was invited to teach the first-ever filmmaking classes at the California School of Fine Arts (now the San Francisco Art Institute). There, with his Workshop 20 students, he made a series of dazzlingly strange and wonderful films in which poetic intelligence, a spirit of radical experimentation, and the exuberant energy of the students transformed San Francisco into bizarre dreamscapes. Balzac meets Picasso in Mr. Frenhofer and the Minotaur, a surreal retelling of The Unknown Masterpiece from the point of view of painter Frenhofer’s model Gillette. In The Cage an eyeball escapes its socket and is pursued through the city. The Petrified Dog shows the strange world of adults through the mind of an eight-year-old girl. The Lead Shoes sets two murder ballads to a propulsive score, accompanying an oblique oedipal drama that revolves around a diving suit unearthed on the beach.

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