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AGAINST SCHOOL by John Taylor Gatto: https://www.wesjones.com/gatto1.htm

“While he does have many fans, Reg Hartt is not always viewed in the best light. Reg Hartt experience isn’t perfect, but it’s clear by looking around the room that he is very passionate about movies and that he wants to share that passion with others.”– http://theinnisherald.com/the-cineforum-reg-hartt-and-torontos-alternative-film-scene#comment-3905

Over the years since I began my work in Toronto in the late 1960s one of the constants has been that local film teachers and their students devalue that work. One day I got an invitation from one of Canada’s major universities inviting me to teach there. The caller said, “You will like it here. We get the cream of the crop. We get the ones with money.”

I went over solely to see if they looked as silly as they sounded. They did. As I left I was told, “Of course, you realize your name is mud on this campus.” I replied, “I could not wear it with pride if it were any other color.”

In 1968 I began studying The Wilhelm/Baynes edition of THE I CHING. One of the things The I Ching teaches is that if learning and doing are separated both become sterile. The same idea in Judeo/Christian terms is, “Faith without works is dead, works without faith are dead.”

When I first read THE I CHING in 1968 I said to myself, “If these ideas are true they are all that matters. If they are not true nothing matters.” The only way I know to know the truth of an idea is to live it.

I came to Toronto in the middle of my last year of High School after my principal told me I had entirely the wrong idea and would starve in two weeks if I left school that day. That was in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. The night I arrived in Toronto. I thought I had a friend here. Turns out the friend I thought I had I didn’t.

I used to believe in the value of a university education.

I no longer do. Nor am I alone.

Behind The Punisher are posters for The Reg Hartt Film Fest. Cover artist Tim Bradstreet told me he had been in Toronto for a signing, had seen a display of my street flyers, liked it , took a picture and looked for a moment when he could use it as a background. ” I changed the names on the other flyers. I kept your name on your flyers,” he said. Doing that Bradstreet made me a part of the Marvel Universe.

“School is an institution built on the axiom that learning is the result of teaching. And institutional wisdom continues to accept this axiom, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary,”–Ivan Illich.

When someone of the caliber of Chuck Jones says he appreciates our thoughts it makes it very easy to ignore those who do not.

“Most teachers say you should go to school to get your degree to have something to fall back on. Aside from being a huge lie, that also creates a very high level of mediocrity, because nobody who really believes that is going to take the leap of faith required to be a serious artist. Stay out of school.”–Ellis Marsalis to his sons Branford, Delfeayo and Wynton.

“I had wonderful teachers in the first and second grades who taught me everything I know. After that, I’m afraid, the teachers were nice, but they were dopes…I have a lack of ideology, and not because I have an animus against any particular ideology; it’s just that they don’t make sense to me…they get in the way of thinking. I don’t see what use they are…University and uniformity, as ideals, have subtly influenced how people thought about education, politics, economics, government, everything…We are misled by universities and other intellectual institutions to believe that there are separate fields of knowledge. But it’s clear there are no separate fields of knowledge. It is a seamless web.”-Jane Jacobs whose books, from her first, THE DEATH AND LIFE OF THE GREAT AMERICAN CITIES to her last, DARK AGE AHEAD, are must reading.

That’s damned high praise. It does not get better.

Jane Jacobs and her family first came to my programs the week they arrived in Toronto in 1968. When I meet them on the street her children constantly say, “Our mother loved you.” Jane Jacobs’ ideas when first expressed in her book THE DEATH AND LIFE OF GREAT AMERICAN CITIES outraged academia because they went against the grain of what academia chooses to believe. Jane’s last book DARK AGE AHEAD is a prescient warning that was and is being ignored. “I had wonderful teachers in the first and second grades who taught me
everything I know. After that, I’m afraid, the teachers were nice, but
they were dopes…I have a lack of ideology, and not because I have an
animus against any particular ideology; it’s just that they don’t make
sense to me…they get in the way of thinking. I don’t see what use they
are…University and uniformity, as ideals, have subtly influenced how
people thought about education, politics, economics, government,
everything…We are misled by universities and other intellectual
institutions to believe that there are separate fields of knowledge.
But it’s clear there are no separate fields of knowledge. It is a
seamless web.”-Jane Jacobs.

Liora Lind wrote in 1992, “Reg Hartt’s Cineforum is everything Jane Jacobs wrote about in THE DEATH AND LIFE OF GREAT AMERICAN CITIES.” What makes that statement particularly true is that my work in this city has never been valued by the people who run this city. I have been under attack from the moment I started in 1968. Said David Beard in a Toronto Star piece from 1980, “Reg Hartt is overworked, under-financed and snubbed. We should be paying tribute to him”

“It is, in fact, nothing short of a miracle that the modern methods of instruction have not entirely strangled the holy curiosity of inquiry; for this delicate little plant, aside from stimulation, stands mainly in need of freedom; without this it goes to wrack and ruin without fail. It is a very great mistake to think that the enjoyment of seeing and searching can be promoted by means of coercion and a sense of duty.”—Albert Einstein.

“My schooling not only failed to teach me what it professed to be teaching, but prevented me from being educated to an extent which infuriates me when I think of all I might have learned at home by myself,” writes the great playwright George Bernard Shaw.
“Men are born ignorant, not stupid. They are made stupid by education,” adds Bertrand Russell.

“You have no need that any man should teach you.”-1 John 2:27.

“Film students should stay as far away from film schools and film teachers as possible. The only school for the cinema is the cinema.”- Bernardo Bertolucci.

“Admit, assume, because, believe, could, doubt, end, expect, faith, forget, forgive, guilt, how, it, mercy, pest, promise, should, sorry, storm, them, us, waste, we, weed-neither these words nor the conceptions for which they stand appear in this book; they are the whiteman’s import to the New World, the newcomer’s contribution to the
vocabulary of the man he called Indian. Truly, the parent Indian families possessed neither these terms nor their equivalents.”-Ruth Beebe Hill, HANTA YO.

“He who without the Muse’s madness in his soul comes knocking at the door of poesy and thinks that art will make him anything fit to be called a poet, finds that the poetry which he indites in his sober senses is beaten hollow by the poetry of madmen.”-Plato.

“It is good taste not bad taste which is the enemy.”-Salvador Dali.

“The function of the artist is to disturb. His duty is to arouse the sleeper, to shake the complacent pillars of the world. He reminds the world of its dark ancestry, and shows the world its present and points the way to its new birth. He is at once the product and preceptor of his times.”-Norman Bethune.

“You have no need that any man should teach you.”-1 John 2:27.

“Film students should stay as far away from film schools and film teachers as possible. The only school for the cinema is the cinema.”- Bernardo Bertolucci.

“We get three educations. The first is from our parents; the second is from our schoolmasters. The third is from life. The last makes liars of the first two.”—Montesquieu.

Why Producers Hate Hiring Film School Grads

https://filmschoolsecrets.com/why-producers-hate-hiring-film-school-grads/

Film teachers warn their students to stay away from my programs.

Reg Hartt has a feel for film unique in this country…genius level.”—Elwy Yost.

“Reg Hartt has had an amazing impact given the size of the venue and the esoteric nature of the programming. He’s had an incredible impact on the city. No one else is doing it. No one else has ever done it.”–Rob Salem.

“Reg Hartt teaches like Neal Cassady drove a bus.”—Joe Fiorito, Toronto Star.

Q: Did growing up in Toronto influence your obsession?

A: My knowledge of silent films, German and French cinema, came an awful lot from Reg Hartt’s Cineforum. At first he showed films at Innis College, then he had a place on Mercer St. for a while. Reg showed some really incredible silent films, from Phantom of the Opera to D.W. Griffith’s films. His strength was putting incredibly good soundtracks on the films. He has a really good ear for movie music and back in the good old days when it was all analog, he would splice them together himself.

https://www.thestar.com/life/food_wine/2013/04/05/a_drink_with_shirley_hughes_director_toronto_silent_film_festival.html

https://www.throwdown815.com/single-post/INTERVIEW/Shirley-Hughes

A city that sees value in rules, but no value in letting Reg Hartt bend them, has no right to claim Jane Jacobs’ legacy, writes Edward Keenan. https://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2016/06/27/cineforum-deserves-a-happy-ending-to-its-saga-keenan.html

The city should drop its misguided fight against Reg Hartt…                                                                                          https://www.thestar.com/opinion/editorials/2016/06/28/the-city-should-leave-cineforum-alone-editorial.html

https://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2010/09/15/fiorito_we_gotta_have_hartt.html

“I am a friend of Reg Hartt.

“So is anyone who can appreciate a man who teaches film the way Neal Cassady drove a bus.

“I mean that, where you have style wrapped around content and tied with a ribbon of beat improvisation, there you have angels.

“Harvey Pekar was an angel.

“And I’ve never met anyone with wings who did not have an ego. Nor is this an easy town for a man who is larger than life, and does not to suffer fools.

“You might like to know that the friends of Reg Hartt included the non-fool-suffering Jane Jacobs, who knew a thing or two about what, and who, makes life worth living in the city; that’s good enough for me.”

https://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2010/09/15/fiorito_we_gotta_have_hartt.html

MICHAEL VALPY, GLOBE AND MAIL.
“REG HARTT is what living in a metropolis is all about. He personifies the city as a meeting place of ideas, as a feast of experience and discussion and debate, as a triumph of the original and provoking over the banal and soporific.”

Paul McGrath, THE GLOBE AND MAIL
Some audience members were visibly distressed by the frequency and force of Hartt’s interjections into the program but it is clearly his chosen way of doing things, and the payoff in information is worth it. He has many good stories to tell: about Oswald the Lucky Rabbit’s transformation into Mickey Mouse, Disney’s most enduring character; about the furor that greeted the creation of Tweety Pie, which subsided only when the artists painted him yellow; and much valuable technical information for the animation students. He has some interesting tales about Mel Blanc, Warners’ resident genius of voice characterization, as he continues the series with a full scale look at the Warner work of Chuck Jones, Bob Clampett, Friz Freleng, and others. It’s the best work of its kind you will see anywhere because, except in rare oases in the United States and Eastern-Europe, they don’t make them like that anymore.

JULIA SCUTARU, retired journalist, Bucharest, Romania, 2000: “In Toronto, I discovered by chance, Cineforum. Pure chance but a fortunate one. In that small room exhaling culture, passion and dedication, I watched the movie TRIUMPH OF THE WILL, an important historical, political and social document., and real artistic achievement….As a journalist (in Romania) I worked in the cultural field, including film reviews. Therefore I came to the Cineforum not just as a movie lover, but as a knowledgeable professional…We live in an era authoritatively dominated by brainwashing and political correctness…I admired Reg Hartt’s courage and passion put in searching out and defending the human truth, the artistic truth, the historical truth; the Truth and unveiling it…Discovering Reg Hartt and his Cineforum was one of the most important events of my visit in Toronto.”

DAVID BEARD, owner CINEBOOKS, quoted in THE TORONTO STAR, Nov. l, l979
“This man has devoted his whole life to bringing the film classics to the public. He treats animation-cartoons, if you will-as art. He is underfinanced, overworked and snubbed. I think we should pay tribute to him.

GREG WILLIAMS, MA (Ph, D. Candidate), President, University College Film Society, and Chairman of the Subcommittee for film, U. C. Symposium: I wish we had more time to chat together last night about our respective (and mutual) interests in film.
‘Cineforum’ has attained the status of an institution; it represents an achievement of which you should rightly feel proud.

“I can only hope the ‘University College Film Society’ will someday approximate its success and that I will, personally, match your inspired delivery as a master of ceremonies.

“As a newcomer to the business of arranging film programs, so far I am your equal perhaps only in enthusiasm. Thus I find your presentations to be not only exceptional in their content but also edifying in their execution. As an academic (in the field of English) I am also impressed by the high scholarly standard that pervades your informed and witty introductions,

“I frequently wonder if you have ever considered writing a history…some very good books have been written…but no text has dealt with it in a definitive way. A marshalling of your knowledge would, I am certain, produce a very fine volume indeed.”

I came to Toronto from Hollywood in 1970 to become part of the most reviled place in the city, Rochdale College, where I became Director of Cinema Studies. Rochdale had no money to pay me. That was fine because I was standing on Faith. I am still standing on Faith.

DOUGLAS ELIUK, education officer NATIONAL FILM BOARD OF CANADA, formerly Canada’s Cultural Attache to America, .
“(REG) Hartt is acknowledged as a phenomenon in the film community. He is someone who does not rely on government grants, subsidies or institutional protection to generate his film activities. He depends entirely on his intelligence, talent and resourcefulness. His events are produced with care and good sense, in a clean and friendly atmosphere and with an almost avuncular consideration for his fans, As a film officer for the National Film Board of Canada for 30 years, I have seldom seen anyone who added so much substance and passion to the cultural fabric of our society as he has done with his lectures and presentations.”

From a letter to Ottawa’s Towne Cinema;
“Last week I finally got a chance to see a film I have been trying to see for literally years. That film is METROPOLIS, and I don’t mean Giorgio Moroder’s head-banger version. No, I’m talking about the most complete version of the film as it was meant to be seen in a l6mm print so clear, so clean you’d think the film was made a year ago. Wow. I mean I have been hearing stories about METROPOLIS for a long time, but I never thought my expectations would be met let alone far
surpassed. And this without the “help” of Mr. Moroder. Does this mean there wasn’t a soundtrack?

“Far from it. Accompanying the film was a brilliant (and I mean brilliant) soundtrack combining both modern music and classical pieces. This soundtrack suited the film when we all know Moroder’s didn’t. So who has this print of the film? Reg Hartt….If you know anything about Reg Hartt you know his lectures are anything but boring. He’s thrown chairs at people, kicked non-believers out, slandered near everyone under the sun (who usually deserves it) and started near riots. In other words, a real entertaining guy. Honestly. Reg is a lot of fun, he knows more about film (and the politics of film) than all of my teachers combined. And his soundtracks!”

DOUGLAS ELIUK, education officer National Film Board of Canada; Canadian Cultural Attache to America: “I have left so many cinemas looking like I’ve been smelling onions for two hours that it is a pleasure and a catharsis to alert you to a redeeming film experience I enjoyed recently. It was not exactly an epiphany, but when something brilliant comes along, it deserves comment beyond self congratulations on managing to stay awake.

“What I’m referring to is a recent screening of Fritz Lang’s METROPOLIS I attended at Reg Hartt’s Cineforum. I’ve seen the film with every sort of accompaniment except organ grinder and a monkey. When organ and even the now rare orchestral accompaniments have been attached to one of the “silent” classics, it is still hard to avoid the giggle factor what with all the usual silent movie grand overwrought gestural school of acting methods. However, Reg Hartt has completely transcended the predictable approach and has presented a classic film with a brilliant multi-layered sound track that forgives the histrionic giggle factor. Hartt allows us to see a great film with a fresh perspective.

“I am not Mr. Hartt’s P. R. council but as someone who has been in the film industry for decades and who celebrates cinematic excellence,I hope you will take the opportunity to experience this superb revitalization of METROPOLIS with its innovative music track.”

Ren & Stimpy Creator John Kricfalusi lived in my house. He looked after my dogs when I went to Europe.

PETER MOORE, British Artist.

“I am a Brit artist. I love Toronto. I have sometimes heard it said that Toronto is boring. It is a comparatively well ordered city. Maybe that is why some imperceptive people think it boring. The thing is I keep having amazing successes in Toronto. My friend Bob Welton who decided he was much happier in Warsaw than in London used to say in London everything is possible and nothing is probable. I just find in Toronto not everything is possible but lots of things, important things, are quite probable. Does this make sense?

“ANYWAY, a wonderful surprise in Toronto is Reg Hartt’s Cineforum. I was walking down Bloor Street with my friend Alan, a composer, a Torontonian who, searching for fulfillment in London, has realized that everything he wanted existed in his original home, Toronto. It was my birthday. He said, “What do you want to do for your birthday?” I said, “I want to go and see that!”

“I was pointing at a mysterious poster for TRIUMPH OF THE WILL, (the film of Hitler’s l934 Nuremberg rally). I’d always wanted to see that.

“So we went and I found myself in the most perfect place on earth to watch a film. With the film was an unexpected treat….a brilliant, unbiased, sensible and stimulating introduction by the amazing Reg Hartt.

“So once again, in German mode, we went to see Fritz Lang’s METROPOLIS. Reg had somehow spliced on to the film his own soundtrack. Now this was interesting because a while later we went to the Art Gallery of Ontatio where the same film was shown-much bigger screen-and with piano accompaniment. It was interesting to compare the two showings. Reg’s came out winning.”
https://nofilmschool.com/2014/11/10-reasons-not-to-go-film-school-practical-guide-impractical-decision-jason-b-kohl

Come to The Cineforum. It has been and continues to be a very special place for myself and many others.–Reg Hartt

 

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