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Super Up (1966) and Capitulation (1965)

Super Up

The National Film Preservation Foundation awarded CFA a grant to photochemically preserve Kenji Kanesaka’s film Super Up (1968) and Robert Stiegler’s Capitulation (1965), two short films that are conceptually and technically innovative explorations of the urban landscape of the city of Chicago. The preservation process began in 2018, and was completed in the fall of 2019. CFA used original production elements for the photochemical preservation of these films – A and B positive elements for Super Up from the Sue and Marv Gold Collection, and A, B, and C positive intermediate printing elements for Capitulation in the Robert Stiegler Collection.

Kenji Kanesaka was one of the founding members of the Film Independent Group and the Japan Filmmakers Co-op in Tokyo. He arrived in Chicago in 1965 with the intention of making a short experimental film about “screaming, high-velocity advertising.” This compelled Kanesaka to approach Chicago-based producer and director Marv Gold for assistance, who subsequently assembled a local crew to work on the film.

Super Up is an experimental work that features a young African-American resident of Cabrini-Green, James Taylor, in an exceptionally vivid critique of racial and class inequities. It is a clever exploration of consumerism, lust, sexual energy and desire, and the implicit links between advertising, consumption, sexuality, and the police. The new preservation print of Super Up includes a brief, previously missing sequence from the film’s beginning, which was found in one of the elements found in the Sue and Marv Gold Collection.

Robert Stiegler described his film Capitulation as “a guided voyage through a negative world. A subjective view of the world and the self.” The stunning film utilizes negative film stock, multiple exposures, and sequences of rapid edits to construct fluid layers of movement through the urban space in the city of Chicago.

Stiegler, a Chicago native, received bachelors and masters degrees at the Institute of Design at the Illinois Institute of Technology. He received multiple grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Illinois Arts Council for his work, amongst other prestigious honors. His photographs are featured in several museum collections across the nation, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Art Institute of Chicago.

Capitulation serves a striking portrait of Stiegler’s city, merging abstraction with the documentation of everyday experience, which transforms into a work that stunningly explores the materiality of film itself.

Both Super Up and Capitulation are conceptually and technically innovative explorations of the urban landscape of the city of Chicago, blending narrative, documentary, and experimental forms of practice.

N.B. The newly digitized version of Super Up will be posted here soon.