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Ernie Gehr (March 8, 1995)01:57:12

After being introduced by Richard Kelly, Ernie Gehr gives a brief background on the three films being screened: Eureka, Side/Walk/Shuttle, and This Side of Paradise.

Gehr screens his 1974 film Eureka which rephotographed in slow motion 1903 footage from a camera looking out of the front of a trolley onto the busy streets of the San Francisco. People crossing in front of the camera are narrowly missed by trollies, horses, and cars. The camera stops to allow a cable car to pass just as it reaches the top of a hill. As the trolley comes down the hill a tower at the end of the street becomes more and more visible through the fog. The car continues toward what turns out to be the clock tower on the Ferry Building and finally stops just at the entrance.

Next, Gehr screens his 1991 film Side/Walk/Shuttle showing views of San Francisco as seen from a glass elevator. The film begins with a black screen and the clatter of unintelligible conversations. An upside-down view of the city appears as the sound cuts out, and the camera beings moves. Buildings appear to grow and slowly float past each other. Sound resumes as the camera turns its focus toward the street and its cars.Birds chirp on the soundtrack while a seemingly endless tower of apartments appears to slowly grow. A skyline of buildings falls from above and ominously drifts downward. The water tanks and mechanical systems on a building’s roof rotate down, revealing the facade which itself drops down like a curtain.

Lastly, This Side of Paradise is composed of film taken by Gehr at a Polish flea market during a trip to West Berlin.

Gehr answers questions following a screening of his films Eureka, Side/Walk/Shuttle, and This Side of Paradise. He discusses the type of film he used for Side/Walk/Shuttle and describes how he wanted the color to shift from one shot to the next. He feels that This Side of Paradise was a kind of re-staging of the 1930s with which he thought the rough camera work was appropriate. He also talks about his interest in objects of the past that was sparked during a 1974 trip to Switzerland where a friend showed him the film that he used to make Eureka.

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