THE POTTED PSALM

Sidney Peterson, James Broughton

Int.: Beatrix Perry, Harry Honing, Joyce M. Geary, Donald Nelson, Ann Whittington, Bernice Van Gelder, Janice Dieckman, Victoria Vinugo 16mm. D.: 24’. Bn 

info_outline
T. it.: Italian title. T. int.: International title. T. alt.: Alternative title. Sog.: Story. Scen.: Screenplay. F.: Cinematography. M.: Editing. Scgf.: Set Design. Mus.: Music. Int.: Cast. Prod.: Production Company. L.: Length. D.: Running Time. f/s: Frames per second. Bn.: Black e White. Col.: Color. Da: Print source

Film Notes

Before making The Potted Psalm, Sidney Peterson (November 15, 1905, Oakland, California-April 24, 2000, New York City) had studied medicine for three years, as well as working as a journalist, sculptor, illustrator and sailor. Between 1946 and 1949 he made experimental films at his Workshop20 at the San Francisco Institute of Art where he taught. Then in 1950 he left San Francisco and avant-garde cinema in order to concentrate on writing, publishing The Fly in the Pigment in 1961. In the meantime he made anthropological films, films about art and script-edited for animation films. However in 1980 he returned to experimental film-making and published a book on ‘visionary’ film (a term he preferred to that of ‘avant-garde’ and ‘experimental’) The Dark of the Screen and in 1981 he made Man in a Bubble, his last film to date. For P.A. Sitney, Sidney Peterson was the one of most cultured of filmmakers and Stan Brakhage described him thus: “Amongst the most brilliant people in film I have met or heard, there is no one as intelligent as Sidney Peterson…”.

Claudine Eizykman in Sidney Peterson & Les Anamorphoses au cinéma. Un Cabinet d’amateurs, Cinémathèque française, Paris 1994

The Potted Psalm is a disjunctive, Surrealist narrative, which progresses from the site of a graveyard, to a strange indoor social gathering, and finally back to the original locale. A coherent dramatic structure is avoided.

MoMA Circulating Film Library Catalog

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Preserved by Anthology Film Archives through Avant- Garde Masters program funded by The Film Foundation and administered by National Film Preservation Foundation