Thom Andersen’s Reconversão At Filmforum


On Sunday March 10th, Filmforum is proud to present Thom Andersen’s most recent work, Reconversão (Reconversion), an essay on the architecture of Eduardo Souto de Moura.  Thom Andersen will be present for a Q&A!
“… an elegiac quest into the essence of Eduardo Souto de Moura’s architecture.” — Celluloid Liberation Front

Reconversão portrays 17 buildings and projects by the Porto architect Eduardo Souto Moura, accompanied usually by his own writings. It is a search for his architecture, without critical commentary. Only the tour guide at Braga Stadium offers generalizations, which fit that work well enough, but it may be the exception, not the rule. Souto Moura has the last word: “If there is nothing there, I invent a preexistence.”
Technically, Reconversão combines the crudeness of proto-cinema with the hyperrealism of digital cinema, bringing us back to the ideals of Dziga Vertov.Shooting only one or two frames per second and animating the images, in the manner of Muybridge, produces greater resolution, although not necessarily a greater sense of reality, and brings attention to the movements of water and vegetation that generally pass unnoticed.

Renowned filmmaker and teacher Thom Anderson teaches film theory and history at the California Institute of the Arts. In the 90’s, he served as programmer for LA Filmforum.

His formalist multi-awarded “Los Angeles Plays Itself” was voted best documentary of 2004 by the Village Voice Critic’s Poll. “Get Out Of The Car” (2010) another palimsestic work of billboards and signage, which with “Los Angeles Plays Itself”, form a “militant nostalgia…a complex recuperation of a city’s vanished history” was part of the three month exposition of Whitney Biennial, 2012.

Los Angeles Filmforum presents: Thom Andersen: Reconversão (Reconversion) 
With filmmaker Thom Andersen in person
Sunday March 10, 7:30 pm
At the Spielberg Theatre at the Egyptian, 6712 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles CA 90028

“Reconversão not only establishes an affectionate relationship with the work of Souto Moura, but also reframes it through a political journey over the last three decades of history of the north of the country. In Vila do Conde Festival, from all the films we saw, no other was superior to it.” — Francisco Ferreira, Expresso-Atual


Although Andersen was invited specifically to make the film in Portugal on the occasion of the Vila do Conde festival’s 20th anniversary, his attentiveness to the Pritzker prize winning architect’s buildings and unbuilt projects is equal to the revered contemplation of his hometown in 2003’s Los Angeles Plays Itself. — Experimenta Weekend – Artists Films and Videos at the BFI London Film Festival


“Over a 45-year career that has combined filmmaking, criticism, and teaching, Thom Andersen has completed a handful of carefully crafted documentaries that demonstrate an exquisite regard for both intellectual and aesthetic rigor. Comprised primarily of found images and video clips, unified by voiceover, Edward Muybridge, “Zoopraxographer” (1974), “Red Hollywood” (1995 – co-directed with Noël Burch) and “Los Angeles Plays Itself” (2003) analyze the production of images and their theoretical, social, and political consequences.

“Get Out of the Car” (2010), which premiered in Locarno and has been screened in dozens of festivals is a direct response to Los Angeles Plays Itself. However, it also returns him to his unself-conscious roots. This is Andersen’s other side, last heard from in the ‘60s with “Melting” (1964-65, a time lapse shot of an ice cream sundae), the ‘deliberately unpronounceable’ (1966-67, with Malcolm Brodwick, a sensory exploration of rock and roll subculture in Los Angeles) and “Olivia’s Place” (1966/74, a portrait of a Santa Monica coffee shop and its patrons). These short 16mm films reveal an artist with an original take on film as document, who is energized by popular music and an idiosyncratic sense of humor.”   adapted from an article published in Cinema Scope

This program is supported by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors through the Los Angeles County Arts Commission; the Department of Cultural Affairs, City of Los Angeles; the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts; and the Mike Kelley Foundation for the Arts. Additional support generously provided by American Cinematheque. We also depend on our members, ticket buyers, and individual donors.

Los Angeles Filmforum is the city’s longest-running organization screening experimental and avant-garde film and video art, documentaries, and experimental animation.  2013 is our 38th year.
Memberships available, $70 single, $105 dual, or $50 single student

Tickets: $10 general, $6 students/seniors; free for Filmforum members.  Available by credit card in advance from Brown Paper Tickets at or by cash or check at the door.   More details:  


About Author

Robin Menken

Robin Menken Robin Menken lives in Los Angeles. She was the Artistic Director of the Second City Workshops, taught at UC Berkeley, USC, Barcelona\'s Ateneu and the Esalin Institute. She was Roberto Rossellini\'s assistant, and worked with Yevgeny Vevteshenku, Glauber Rocha and Eugene Ionesco. She sold numerous screenplays and wrote the OBIE winning The FTA SHow (touring with Jane Fonda, Donald Sutherland and Ben Vereen.) She was a programming consultant and Special Events co-ordinator for numerous film festivals, including the SF, Rio, Havana and N.Y Film Festivals. Her first news outlet was the historic East Village Other.

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