The 14th annual and newly expanded Views from the Avant-Garde opened and closed this year in the Furman Gallery, a smallish room off to the side of the Walter Reade Theater, where the bulk of the program’s experimental films were shown. Repurposed for 8mm projectors and outfitted with folding chairs and free beer, the gallery invited a looser, more casual encounter with the films shown there, a kind of rec room to unwind in the after-hours of the festival-within-a-festival. Different films demand different kinds of viewing situations, and for the psychedelic Pierre Clémenti film journals discovered after languishing in a dusty corner of the Pompidou Center for twenty years, the taut, urban superimpositions of Paul Clipson, or Bruce McClure’s aggressive, minimalist projection-performances, the gallery space offered a comfortable closeness, both in terms of intimacy and proximity to the screen. It also helped being seated cross-legged on the floor next to filmmakers, festivalgoers, and all the other faces that had become welcomingly familiar by the weekend’s final program.
The expanse of the 268-seat Walter Reade, however, did not diminish the possibilities of experiencing closeness onscreen . . . Read all of Genevieve Yue’s article on this year’s edition of the NYFF Views from the Avant-Garde.