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Stephen Broomer's Potamkin (2017)

  • EMMEDIA Gallery and Production Society 2005 – 10 Avenue Southwest Calgary, AB, T3C 0K4 Canada (map)

Potamkin (2017)
Stephen Broomer
16mm with Optical Sound - 67 minutes

MONOGRAPH is pleased to present Stephen Broomer's Potamkin on 16mm for this inaugural screening. This event is for invited guests, admission is by donation (pay what you can).

"What happened to Potamkin?"

In 1933, at age 33, Harry Alan Potamkin died of complications related to starvation, at a time when he was one of the world's most respected film critics. In his writings, he advocated for a cinema that would simultaneously embrace the fractures and polyphony of modern life and the equitable social vision of left radical politics. This film-biography is assembled out of distorted fragments of films on which he had written, an impression of erupting consciousness.

At the Odessa steps, trampling gives breath to the child. The bullet miraculously reforms the face. The Cossacks march backwards, retreating unseen into their nothing, the unfired rounds of their rifles restored to their menacing potential. Feet tread backward up the steps as the steps themselves collapse in splintering emulsion. The carriage is set upright.

“One’s sight is inverse to one’s eyes;
The begger with empty sockets sees
The microscope lies;
But these
Who are truly blind are wise.”

Stephen Broomer is a filmmaker, preservationist, teacher and publisher. His films have screened at the TIFF Bell Lightbox, Lincoln Center and the Cinematheque québécois. His books include Hamilton Babylon: A History of the McMaster Film Board (University of Toronto Press, 2016) and Codes for North: Foundations of the Canadian Avant-Garde Film (CFMDC, 2017). His work was the subject of an edited collection of essays, The Transformable Moment (Canadian Film Institute, 2014), and his restorations have screened at the Art Gallery of Ontario, the National Arts Centre and the Pleasure Dome.

Sound by Stuart Broomer. Processing by Stephen Broomer, Martha Cabral, Eva Kolcze, Emmalyne Laurin, Cameron Moneo. Titles by Cameron Moneo. Digital intermediate by Pablo Perez. Thanks to R. Bruce Elder, Christine Lucy Latimer, Mark Loeser, Suzanne Naughton.

MONOGRAPH would like to thank EMMEDIA Gallery and Production Society for graciously hosting this presentation in their screening room space.