International Women’s Day: Fantastic Films by Women
We celebrate International Women’s Day with a screening showcasing both new and classic films by women filmmakers. Each of the films shown present their own vision of the fantastic: otherworldly, sci-fi imagery; surrealist, dream-like atmosphere; or the incomprehensible beauty of the natural world. Legendary filmmakers Maya Deren and Germaine Dulac are showcased in their most-loved and discussed films. Beatrice Gibson, Rosa Barba and Laida Lertxundi are each blazing their own trails, taking film and video to new and exciting places. The exciting films shown tonight by these three contemporary filmmakers have been screened at the International Film Festival Rotterdam, The Images Festival and the Whitney Biennial.
Meshes of the Afternoon
dir. Maya Deren, Alexander Hammid, US, 1943, 16mm ,b/w, 14 min.
Meshes of the Afternoon is one of the most influential works in American experimental cinema. The central figure in the film, played by Deren, is attuned to her unconscious mind and caught in a web of dream events that spill over into reality. Symbolic objects, such as a key and a knife, recur throughout; events are open-ended and interrupted. Deren explained that she wanted “to put on film the feeling which a human being experiences about an incident, rather than to record the incident accurately.”
Made by Deren with her husband, cinematographer Alexander Hammid, Meshes of the Afternoon established the independent avant-garde movement in film in the United States, which is known as the New American Cinema. It directly inspired early works by Kenneth Anger, Stan Brakhage, and other major experimental filmmakers. – MoMA
dir. Beatrice Gibson, UK, 2012, HD, color, 14 min.
Beatrice Gibson’s latest film Agatha is a psychosexual sci-fi about a planet without speech. Its narrator, ambiguous in gender and function, weaves us slowly through a mental and physical landscape, observing and chronicling a space beyond words. Based on a dream had by the radical British composer Cornelius Cardew.
Cry When it Happens
dir. Laida Lertxundi, US, 2010, 16mm, color, 14 min.
Los Angeles City Hall is reflected onto the window of the Paradise Motel. It serves as an anchor for this traversal through the natural expanse of California. Here, we discover a restrained psychodrama of play, loss, and the transformation of everyday habitats. Music appears across the interiors and exteriors and speaks of limitlessness and longing.
dir. Rosa Barba, Germany/Netherlands, 2011, HD, color, 19 min.
Rosa Barba produced a science fiction film based on interviews with local residents and individuals involved in the land suppletion project for Maasvlakte 2. Barba asked the interviewees to imagine what this new land could look like in the future. While we see images of the new land, the slufter: a storage reservoir for heavily contaminated sludge from the new Meuse river, the construction of the huge docksides, basalt blocks, empty containers and the mechanical movements of the transhipment process, we listen to a story apparently taking place in the future. The main character is a beekeeper who started with his first hive on the Maasvlakte, 30 years ago, and is now surrounded by silos for oil storage. Combined with archive pictures of the port, the images form a mechanical ballet of man and machine, set against a futuristic landscape. – SKOR | Foundation for Art and Public Domain
The Seashell and the Clergyman
dir. Germaine Dulac, France, 1928, 16mm, b/w, 29 min.
A clergyman experiences a bizarre sequence of fantasies that torment him and test his faith to the limit. He has fallen for a beautiful woman, the wife of a proud general, and this obsession provokes image after image in his increasingly heated brain. He sees himself kill the general; he sees himself chase after the beautiful woman. The dream becomes ever more fantastic and terrifying, until, at its climax, the clergyman seizes a giant shell and thirstily drains its contents… — filmsdefrance.com