Babette Mangolte: Camera Studies
Lives of Performers
dir. Yvonne Rainer, US, 1972, 16mm, b/w, 90 min.
After spending nearly a decade redefining modern dance, including co-founding New York’s Judson Dance Theater in 1962, dancer and choreographer Yvonne Rainer transitioned to filmmaking in the late 1960s. Her first feature length film Lives of Performers combines fiction and non-fiction in a fractured story of romantic entanglements. Originally part of a dance performance choreographed by Rainer, Lives of Performers eschews narrative convention preferring instead to conceal rather than reveal. The basic components of filmmaking are upended through the juxtaposition of sound/image, stillness/movement, and rehearsal/performance, making Lives of Performers a logical extension of Rainer’s pioneering dance and choreography of the previous decade.
Since relocating to New York from her native France in the early 1970s, Babette Mangolte has forged a singular path across the art and cinema worlds. As a director, cinematographer, and documentarian, Mangolte has amassed an extensive body of work that intersects with the worlds of dance, performance art, and experimental film. In her New York years, Mangolte documented some of the era’s most important performers and artists in both still and moving images. In these works, her collaborative partners include Chantal Akerman, Trisha Brown, Richard Foreman, and Yvonne Rainer. Her own films range from experimental narratives to artist documentaries, both short and featurelength.
Camera Studies, a collaboration with the Institute of Contemporary Art at the University of Pennsylvania, focuses primarily on Mangolte’s work in film, with several screenings culminating in a public conversation with the artist and special guests on April 1st.
Babette Mangolte: Camera Studies has been supported by a grant from the The Christian R. and Mary F. Lindback Foundation
Additional Support has been provided by the Cinema Studies program at the University of Pennsylvania.