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Henry Hills

Link to Henry Hills experimental film website

photo © 2008 Charles Bernstein/PennSound

Close Listening: Hills in conversation with Charles Bernstein, January 10, 2008

Complete recording (30:41): MP3

Astronome: A Night at the Opera, 2010

Media.SAS mirror URL: MP4

Richard Foreman's dynamic staging of John Zorn's opera Astronome premiered in February of 2009 at his Ontological-Hysteric Theatre in New York. For this video, ten performances were captured on film from hundreds of angles and edited by filmmaker Henry Hills.

Selected Films (1977–2008) DVD anthology, May 2009

Tzadik DVD Cover

Released by Tzadik.

From Charles Bernstein's Portraits Series: Henry's Dilemma, July 26, 2006

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Henry Hills
I turned the tables on Henry, who has been filming me for thirty years. He was briefly in New York, on his way back to Prague, where he has been living for the past year.
(mp4, 30 sec., 4 mb)

Emma's Dilemma, 1997-2004

Selections from Henry Hills' unfinished project featuring Emma Bee Bernstein, Susan Howe, Ken Jacobs, Richard Foreman, Kenneth Goldsmith, Julie Patton, Lee Ann Brown, and many more.

Little Lieutenant, collaboration with Sally Silvers, 1994

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A New Life, 1988-1998

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A New Life (1988-98). "In 1988, under the inspiration of George Kuchar, I bought an 8mm camcorder. The single-system 16mm camera on which I had shot PLAGIARISM, RADIO ADIOS, & MONEY had died of stress and I thought this would allow me to pursue synch ideas. Unfortunately video editing at that time involved bumping the footage up to 3/4" U-matic and paying $12.50/hour to work on 2 decks with a controller; it was cheaper to shoot 16mm and get a workprint. The conceit of the abandoned project was to create artist couples (people that had never before met) and have them discuss relationship issues and love. Participating artists include Joe Gibbons, Lee Katz, Emily Breer, Robert Hilferty, Eve Heller, and Roberto Juarez. Alongside this footage was an ongoing discussion with Charles Bernstein on the implications of working in video as opposed to film. Plus, one cold morning when nothing was working out, I addressed the camera directly in a (what seemed at the time desperate and harrowing but now seems Woody-Allen-ish) scene that is central to the final edit. The footage sat on my shelf haunting me for a decade and I decided in 1998 to use it to free myself from the past while at the same time learning to use home computer editing software. As my major appearance in my own work, it's perhaps endearing. The edit is punctuated with 3/4" footage recording the December 1985 "live reenactment" of MONEY at Roulette, with John Zorn on birdcalls and alto, Cyro Baptiste on Brazilian percussion, the late Tom Cora on cello, Charles Noyes and Ikue Mori on drums, Jim Staley on trumbone, Butch Morris on cornet, Christian Marclay on turntables, and Alan Davies and Diane Ward on vocals, with movement by Pooh Kaye and Sally Silvers." -Henry Hills

Gotham, 1990

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Gotham (1990), a music video for John Zorn's Naked City. "120 Minutes", MTV, June 1990; ALIVE TV (Alive From Off Center), PBS, summer 1992.

Money 1982

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Money (1985) is a manic collage film from the mid-80s when it still seemed that Reaganism of the soul could be defeated. Filmed primarily on the streets of Manhattan for the ambient sounds and movements and occasional pedestrian interaction to create a rich tapestry of swirling colors and juxtaposed architectural spaces in deep focus and present the intense urban overflowing energy that is experience living here. MONEY is thematically centered around a discussion of economic problems facing avant-garde artists. Discussion, however, is fragmented into words and phrases and reassembled into writing. Musical and movement phrases are woven through this conversation to create an almost operatic composition. Give me money! Starring: John Zorn, Diane Ward, Carmen Vigil, Susie Timmons, Sally Silvers, Ron Silliman, James Sherry, Peter Hall, David Moss, Mark Miller, Christian Marclay, Arto Lindsay, Pooh Kaye, Fred Frith, Alan Davies, Tom Cora, Jack Collom, Yoshiko Chuma, Abigail Child, Charles Bernstein, Derek Bailey, and Bruce Andrews.

PDF for Making Money, the book of the movie.


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RADIO ADIOS (1982) is a monologue in 12 plaited strands; an extremely precise, condensed and intensely rhythmic Busby Berkeleyish spectacle of an examination of conversational and literary language over a fair range of vocal timbre, microphones, volume settings and single-system sync peculiarities and its dissolution into music to the accompaniment of simultaneous Manhattan ambiances punctuated by fragments of jazz, personalized handheld camera movement, movement from cut to cut--juxtapositions of scale, pulsating changes in light intensity, a varying pallette of various filmstocks, generations, etc., at an appropriately furious pace and in strict one-track sync,.offering simultaneously several levels of apprehension or interpretation to encourage multiple viewings.

Starring Hannah Weiner, Diane Ward, Sally Silvers, Jemeel Moondoc & Muntu, Aline Mayer, Jackson MacLow, Abigail Child, Charles Bernstein , Bruce Andrews and Rashied Ali on drums, with George Kuchar as a Maoist revolutionary.

KINO DA!, 1981 (featuring Jack Hirschman)

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KINO DA! (ah, key, key) KINO DA!/The Dead die die dada low king quanto zhong/MOVE! (ur, ur)/Grey todays it-a clear to the quick ear, quicker z'heels/The Poe (pay, po, pee, pick-pick), nuf of "D" yet/Call Vertov/(beep, beep)/Eisenstein even/& viterulably cheeness of a ram innerwear/(airs; when)/Time, Time, Money/d-d-d/ junk rock did travel & falls/(spring)/Fall/Spring is the simplest inflationary dime.///Be in everything Joy, in experimental & proletarian & wwea air of airs/at this school of poetry-painting/CUT! "To know/toe/no! no! MONTAGE (nadazha), in any instant (instant) of the writing of Stein & the facts of that (tle) kind./FEEL (the steak)/yes, ache, in trends & whatevers./Mmmm-pah-ah, Cops, man, in case (nnn), man (nnn)./(KO) be-a mayu po pony; (KO) be-a what?) o-long kind.//GO! (be what) OM, prose, Pentacost; be what this there the (pause) & (serious pause) the neb with a gram of ire illia-it's still justs Jah.//Viparko r-rrr re ad adici, yes!/YES!//ssssssssssane! /mmmm vidda pot re-a-uschious of a ship. Viparko Roma Schoma Schlav keybo z'Krushchev. (wink)

Plagiarism, 1981

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With Bruce Andrews, Charles Bernstein, James Sherry, and Hannah Weiner, reading from the notebooks that later became Little Books/Indians.
Begins jokingly proclaiming, “I’ll make my Ernie Gehr film,” a major preoccupation of my generation in the late 70s/early 80s, & then this very raw other thing proceeds to unfold, raw because I only had enough money (a loan from Abby Child) to do 4 shoots never having done sync & using outdated film stock from Rafik & an unfamiliar, undependable camera & trying to keep everything together & everything going wrong, yet determined to make concrete the ideas I had been abstractly developing over several years with whatever I got back from the lab no matter & so abandoning all caution to open a new area, I decided who could possibly talk better than poets? Edited in Times Square.
also on PennSound's YouTube channel

Henry Hills on PennSound Daily

April 16, 2008: "Films from Henry Hills' Emma's Dilemma"

January 10, 2008: "Henry Hills on Close Listening"

November 30, 2007: "Experimental Short Films by Henry Hills"

These recordings are available for noncommercial and educational use only. All rights to this recorded material belong to the author. ©Henry Hills. Recordings used with the permission of Henry Hills. Distributed by PennSound.