Third Man Records' film series The Light and Sound Machine — programmed by James Cathcart and co-sponsored by The Belcourt — has stepped in to fill one of the city's voids, regular screenings of experimental and underground film. They're on the third Thursday of every month at the Third Man offices, 623 7th Ave. S., and the fall slate begins this week with Speaking Directly, the 1973 debut feature by vanguard American indie filmmaker Jon Jost (Last Chants for a Slow Dance, All the Vermeers in New York).
"If you’re curious why some critics have called Jost the American Godard," Jonathan Rosenbaum wrote of Jost's debut, "this is the perfect place to find a credible answer." Made just a few years after Jost's two-year prison stretch starting in 1965 for refusing to join the military, it's described by its maker as "a kind of State of the Nation address, from the perspective of someone other than the President of the United States, circa 1972-4."
Check out the cool trailer Cathcart assembled (posted above), as well as Jay Shaw's Super ’70s poster art for the screening (below). And make sure you arrive for the opening film, 1976's cinematic IQ test "New Improved Institutional Quality: In the Environment of Liquids and Nasals a Parasitic Vowel Sometimes Develops" — your chance to see the work of the late George Landow, aka Owen Land, maker of some of the funniest experimental shorts I've ever seen.
Oct. 12's selection is a must-see: the return of the marvelous Alloy Orchestra performing live accompaniment to Dziga Vertov's careening Soviet silent Man With a Movie Camera (reportedly being recorded live to acetate). The series wraps for the year in December with Differently, Molussia, Nicolas Rey's "imagined documentary" about a dystopian state, consisting of nine 16mm segments shown in different order at every screening.