Gartenberg Media Enterprises is pleased to announce a retrospective of Warren Sonbert’s films, for the first time extensively paired together with those of Hollywood filmmakers of the postwar years, including Douglas Sirk, Alfred Hitchcock, Vincente Minnelli, Nicholas Ray, and Michael Gordon.
Six programs will be screened at the Cinematheques in both Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. This series has been co-curated by Chen Sheinberg and Jon Gartenberg, and is presented by the Center for Contemporary Art in Tel Aviv, with the support of the Ostrovsky Family Fund. Before the first screenings (on February 14 and 15), Jon Gartenberg will give an introduction to Warren Sonbert’s work. Chen Sheinberg will introduce the screenings that follow in the coming months.
Sheinberg explains the genesis of this series:
“Two years ago, OFF 4 series explored various facets of the interrelations and mutual influences between Hollywood and the cinematic experimental avant-garde from the 1920s to our own time in terms of cinematic expression, visual aesthetics and themes. Following the success of that series, and as I kept researching this theme, Vivian Ostrovsky called my attention to one of the seminal figures in American experimental filmmaking – Warren Sonbert. Having discussed it, we decided to focus this time on this specific filmmaker and examine his relationship to classic postwar Hollywood cinema. Ostrovsky referred me to Jon Gartenberg, a world expert on Sonbert’s cinema, who served for 18 years as a curator in the film archive of The Museum of Modern Art in New York and as the experimental film programmer for the Tribeca Film Festival, and has been working for years on archiving and preserving the cineaste’s work and curating retrospectives of his films in many major museums and cinematheques all over the world.
For OFF 5, we came up with a program that connects Sonbert’s films with Hollywood cinema, and especially with innovative Hollywood auteurs who experimented with the medium and explored it, such as Douglas Sirk, Alfred Hitchcock, Vincente Minnelli and Nicholas Ray – all of them directors that also inspired European modernist cinema. Based on the films’ formal, stylistic and thematic elements, the connection we draw between them is also associative at times. It is important to mention right from the outset that Sonbert was influenced by these directors as well as wrote articles on some of them. In addition, we have included in the series other American experimental filmmakers like Kenneth Anger and Jeff Scher, as well as Soviet documentarist Dziga Vertov, in order to point to the influence these filmmakers and their avant-garde films had on Sonbert’s films.”
For further information about Warren Sonbert’s films, please see:
GME Programming & Curating: Warren Sonbert Retrospective
All Sonbert Photographs, © The Estate of Warren Sonbert