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What’s It All Mean: Films by William T. Wiley and Friends

Sunday, April 18, 2010
3:00 p.m. Wiley Selects
(U.S., 1968–70)

William T. Wiley in Person


For tonight’s program, Wiley has selected a number of imaginative, inventive films by his circle of friends and collaborators. Dufus!, Money, and The Last Supper are by Mike Henderson, who also worked with Robert Nelson on the portrait film King David. Henderson is a Bay Area painter and musician whose films were described by Nelson as “the first movies in the world to bring the authentic ‘talkin’ blues’ tradition into film.” In the homespun Dufus! Henderson repeatedly steps out of his closet trying on different personas, while The Last Supper is staged “as a hippie orgy . . . even more blasphemous than Luis Buñuel’s shattering recreation of it in Viridiana” (Stanley Eichelbaum, S.F. Examiner). Robert Nelson and artist William Allan collaborated on War Is Hell for KQED-TV. Featuring Bill Gourley, Bruce Nauman, Nelson, Allan, and others, it is an affecting depiction of war that draws on clichés while rendering troubling realities.

—Kathy Geritz

Dufus! (Mike Henderson, B&W, 1970, 8 mins, From Academy Film Archive). Money (Mike Henderson, 1970, 2.5 mins, B&W, From Academy Film Archive). Last Supper (Mike Henderson, 1970, 25 mins, Color, From Academy Film Archive). King David (Robert Nelson, with Mike Henderson, 1970/2003, 9 mins, Color, From Academy Film Archive). War Is Hell (Robert Nelson, William Allan, 1968, With Bill Gourley, Bruce Nauman, Nelson, Allan, et al., 29 mins, B&W, From Academy Film Archive)

• (Total running time: 75 mins, 16mm)