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Canadian Film Encyclopedia

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Morley Markson

Director, Cinematographer

David Clandfield has observed that Morley Markson made films that “plunged into the visionary obsessions of the contemporary counter-culture.” A filmmaker, designer and photographer who typically writes, photographs and edits his own films, Markson is perhaps best known for two documentaries revolving around the trial of sixties radicals accused of conspiring to incite riots during the 1968 Democratic national convention in Chicago: Breathing Together: Revolution of the Electric Family (1971), which follows the trial as it takes place, and Growing Up in America (1988), which revisits the subjects of the first film, including Allen Ginsberg, William Kunstler, Jerry Rubin and Timothy Leary.

Markson’s other achievements include several visually arresting installations (including Kaleidoscope for Expo '67 and Kaleidoscope ’73 for Ontario Place), several remarkable experimental short films (including the 1968 minimalist flicker film Eyebang), and the highly personal and unique features The Tragic Diary of Zero the Fool (1969) and Monkeys in the Attic A Film of Exploding Dreams (1974).

Film and video work includes

Exploration, 1967 (director)
Kaleidoscope, 1967, series (director; producer)
America Simultaneous: The Electric Family, 1968 (director)
Electrocution of the World, 1968 (director)
Eyebang, 1968 (director)
Light Year, 1968 (director)
Retinal Capsule, 1968 (director)
Zero, 1968 (director)
The Tragic Diary of Zero the Fool, 1969 (director; writer; editor; producer)
Breathing Together: Revolution of the Electric Family, 1971 (director; writer; co-editor with John N. Smith)
Off Your Rocker, 1982 (co-director with Larry Pall, co-writer with Samuel Warren Joseph; TV)
Growing Up in America, 1988 (director; cinematographer; editor; producer with Don Haig)