Previously at the ICA - Films

Chris Petit, The (Rudy) Wurlitzer Documentary, 1993

The (Rudy) Wurlitzer Documentary + Candy Mountain

27 Apr 2014

As part of Iain Sinclair's 70x70 film season, King Mob & the ICA present two very rare films introduced by Chris Petit.

The (Rudy) Wurlitzer Documentary 
(VHS), dir. Chris Petit, 1993.

Petit says of Wurlitzer: ‘An exemplary career of interstices and just missing out, from the Beckettian zen of the novels to the western (Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid) and the road to nowhere (Two Lane Blacktop), Max Frisch (Voyager), Robert Frank (Candy Mountain), to the furious Céline-like wonder of The Drop Edge of Yonder. Wurlitzer: “You are always waiting.”’

I read through a clutch of Wurlitzer novels with considerable interest, all in a burst, having kept them on the shelves untouched since my days as a used-book dealer. They really do manoeuvre in the crack on the floor, the outer zones of negative space. Not many books come with supportive quotes from Robert Coover, Jerome Charyn, Donald Barthelme and Robert Creeley. Creeley signals an affinity with such shadowy masters as Douglas Woolf and Ed Dorn. ‘What Mr Wurlitzer has managed to do,’ Creeley says, ‘is bring us to that place where intelligence confronts the contemporary facts of feeling – post history, post culture, post space and time… The first decisive writing to make adamantly clear what present experience of “people and places” is really all about.’ - Iain Sinclair

Candy Mountain
(35mm), dir. Robert Frank, Rudy Wurlitzer

Candy Mountain is here because I haven’t seen it and I want that experience. Frank is a notable (and independent-minded) collaborator: with Kerouac, Alfred Leslie, the Rolling Stones. Wurlitzer shaped a novel – Slow Fade – from his experiences with Peckinpah. It feels now as if both men worked hard at finding ways to stay outside the beast, to look for distance. To lose balance. To subvert the possible.

‘The narrow blacktop falls straight back until it disappears into a slight haze,’ Wurlitzer wrote. ‘I can see for miles on all sides. There is no car in sight. I waved the gun back and forth, covering the whole landscape. You can pick up a few tricks if you watch people and objects closely enough. A vulture rose slowly from a dead rabbit.’ This journey, described by Elaine Paterson, as ‘a witty anti-road movie’, concludes in Nova Scotia. - Iain Sinclair

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