Feb 13, 2013

Bastards & Orphans & medical films - oh my!

Students in the Curating Moving Images course took part in a lively discussion inspired by the Bastard Film Encounter and their call-to-action: "We hope to expand on [the concept of the Orphan Film Symposium] by looking at films that are bastards—ill-conceived or received; embarrassing or beyond the bounds of acceptability; poor in conception or execution; undesirable to those who should be caring for them; proof of something that should have never happened". (from www.bastardfilmencounter.com).


We pondered what content might fit into these parameters, and thought it fitting that this concept was proposed by "bastardly co-organizers" Skip Elsheimer, Marsha Gordon Orgeron, and Dwight Swanson, who had invited Anthology Film Archive's Andrew Lampert to be the keynote speaker at the event during its 2-day run in the end of April 2013.


I was then overwhelmed by the memory of the Medical Film Symposium, which descended upon Philadelphia in January of 2010 – that (unsurprisingly!) had screenings curated by both Lampert and Elsheimer, not to forget local Secret Cinema-er Jay Schwartz. The symposium's website - www.medicalfilmsymposium.com – has a wealth of documentation and detailed program description.


But the experience of the Medical Film Symposium was being exposed to the complex relationship between moving images, medical experimentation, and your own physiological response factors. A succinct review of the experience complete with (non-nausea inducing) images is available and recommended at the Morbid Anatomy blog - http://morbidanatomy.blogspot.com/2010/01/medical-film-sympsium-recap.html


So do these sometimes/often disturbing and beautiful images of "medical procedures, training films for health professionals, hygiene tutorials and contemporary medical imaging" have a home at Bastards?


We are intrigued by the concept of 'too rough for Orphans', and look forward to seeing what Skip, Marsha, and Dwight have in store for us in April.



Good luck, Bastards – though I'm sure we'll be the ones who need it.




--Kathryn Gronsbell

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