If you’re at all interested in avant-garde cinema or video art, you need to check out Ubu Films, which features works, both rare and well-known, by everyone from Vito Acconci to Agnes Varda. In a perfect world, YouTube would look more like this.
Of course, if you’re aghast at the idea of watching experimental films on your computer monitor, consider this justification from the Ubu website:
UbuWeb is pleased to present dozens of avant-garde films & videos for your viewing pleasure. However, it is important to us that you realize that what you will see is in no way comparable to the experience of seeing these gems as they were intended to be seen: in a dark room, on a large screen, with a good sound system and, most importantly, with a roomful of warm, like-minded bodies.
However, we realize that the real thing isn’t very easy to get to. Most of us don’t live anywhere near theatres that show this kind of fare and very few of us can afford the hefty rental fees, not to mention the cumbersome equipment, to show these films. Thankfully, there is the internet which allows you to get a whiff of these films regardless of your geographical location.
We realize that the films we are presenting are of poor quality. It’s not a bad thing; in fact, the best thing that can happen is that seeing a crummy .avi will make you want to make a trip to New York to the Anthology Film Archives or the Lux Cinema in London (or other places around the world showing similar fare). Next best case scenario will be that you will be enticed to purchase a high quality DVD from the noble folks trying to get these works out into the world. Believe me, they’re not doing it for the money.
Well said. Now, go check it out…
UPDATE (May 12, 2016): If you do get turned onto Vito Acconci’s work (or were already a fan), check out his Artsy page, which an alert reader just pointed us towards.