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Avant-garde, Underground, and Experimental Cinema: A Selected Bibliography/Videography of Materials in the UC Berkeley

The Media Resources Center (MRC) is the UC Berkeley Library's primary collection of materials in electronic non-print (audio and visual) formats. These formats include: videocassettes, DVDs (Digital Versatile Discs), and laser discs; compact audio discs; audiocassettes; slides; and interactive multimedia materials. The MRC collection is intended to support the broad range of study and research interests on campus. There are particularly strong holdings in humanities and social sciences materials, as well as a broad range of general interest materials in the fields of science and technology. --http://www.lib.berkeley.edu/MRC/avantbib.html [Oct 2004]

Art house cinema

Those of us who lived in Berkeley in the 50s and 60s thought that Pauline Kael invented the Art House Cinema. In the side-by-side Studio and Guild, she ran four different "classic" movies, changing the program every three days, putting out a delightful monthly program to explain what we were getting. -- http://www.ralphmag.org/AR/briefs.html

Cinema-Guild and Studio Berkeley, CA

The Cinema-Guild was opened in a duplex storefront on the corner of Telegraph Avenue and Haste Street in 1952 by Ed Landberg and, according to an East Bay Express article (12/28/84) was said to be "the first repertory cinema in America". Within a year Landberg opened a second theater, the Studio, adjacent to the Cinema-Guild, resulting in "the country's first-ever 'twin cinema'".

It was at the Cinema-Guild and Studio that the "program guide" which included film reviews and essays on film, was introduced and became extremely popular with patrons of the theaters.

For a time Pauline Kael (who was married for a few years to Landberg) worked there as a manager before heading to the East Coast to become a legend in her own right.

Landberg expanded his operations in 1960 when he converted a recently-closed restaurant several blocks down Haste Street (at Shattuck Avenue) into the Cinema, which would years later be known as the Fine Arts(q.v). He would also go on to open the Gateway in San Francisco (q.v.). But in 1967, he closed the by-now legendary Cinema-Guild and Studio. The storefront that housed the two theaters was subsequently converted into a bar and grill.

Contributed at http://cinematreasures.org/theater/6363/ by Garrett Murphy [Oct 2004]

Edward Landberg

Pauline Kael's third husband, Edward Landberg, was the owner of a small art theater which she managed, and turned into the first -- and prototype for later -- twin screen movie house.

Fine Arts Cinema

Death of Fine Arts Cinema Ends a Legendary Tradition

The Fine Arts Cinema is officially dead, and Patrick Kennedy, the owner of the massive apartment and commercial complex rising on its former site, doesn’t hold out much hope for a new theater on the site—spelling the end of repertory cinema in the city that first raised it to an art form. --http://www.berkeleydaily.org/article.cfm?issue=07-02-04&storyID=19167 [Oct 2004]

Landberg's theater has the same kind of importance as Lawrence Ferlinghetti's City Lights Book Store in San Francisco, recently declared an historical landmark. The city of Berkeley would be displaying considerable wisdom in granting the Fine Arts Theater the status of historical landmark as well. Please “save the Fine Arts Cinema.” -- Jack Foley http://www.alsopreview.com/foley/jflandberg.html [Oct 2004]

Repertory theater

In 1951, Landberg had opened the Cinema Guild and Studio in a small storefront at 2436 Telegraph Ave. Two years later he met and married fellow film fanatic Kael, then a single mother struggling to make her mark in c riticism.

The Cinema Guild became America’s first repertory theater, showcasing foreign films with a much sharper edge than the cinematic treacle being dished out by American filmmakers caught in the paranoid grip of Senator Joseph McCarthy and his Red-b aiting goon squads.

Their movie house, coupled with their incisive essays in program notes handed out at the theater and mailed to an eventual audience 50,000, sparked a revolution, elevating the tastes of American audiences and inspiring young directors to reach beyond the narrow confines of Hollywood commercialism.

Repertory houses sprung up across the country, turning directors like Akiro Kurosawa and Ingmar Bergman into icons for a new generation.

Frustrated by the limited space and poor sight-line s at their Telegraph Avenue theater, Kael and Landberg first gave serious consideration to the Shattuck Avenue building in 1957, on the closing of Glady’s, the restaurant which had occupied the site for the previous six years.

By Nov. 3, 1961, when the building opened after a radical renovation and conversion to theatrical space, Landberg and Kael had divorced, but the traditions forged at the Cinema Guild were transplanted intact into a new setting much friendlier to viewers and films.

The interior of the new Cinema Theater—which later became the Fine Arts Cinema—was far more spectacular than the relatively nondescript exterior, an Art Deco extravaganza featuring walls of glass, wrap-around mosaic panels, cathedral ceilings, six massive oak chairs desi gned by renowned Berkeley architect Bernard Maybeck, and a large bronze Tiffany chandelier in the lobby. --http://www.berkeleydaily.org/article.cfm?issue=07-02-04&storyID=19167 [Oct 2004]

Susan Sontag

Susan Sontag was born in New York, N.Y. Sontag's father, Jack Rosenblatt, had a fur trading business in China - he died of pulmonary tuberculosis when she was five. Her mother, Mildred, married Capt. Nathan Sontag seven years later. Sontag grew up in Tucson, Arizona, and Los Angeles California, and entered at the age of fifteen (1948) the University of California at Berkeley. After a year she transferred to the University of Chicago, and graduated in 1951. Sontag married in her sophomore year the 28-year-old Philip Rieff, a sociology instructor; they divorced in the late 1950s. Sontag moved with Rieff to Boston and continued her studies at Harvard, where she was a Ph.D. candidate from 1955-1957. -- http://www.kirjasto.sci.fi/sontag.htm

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