Category Archives: films

There She Goes: Feminist Filmmaking and Beyond

There She Goes

  
Following in the footsteps of the filmmakers whose work it features — including Miranda July, Janie Geiser, Tracey Moffatt, Sally Potter, Cindy Sherman, Samira Makhmalbaf, Sadie Benning, Agnès Varda, Kim Longinotto, and Michelle Citron — There She Goes: Feminist Filmmaking and Beyond seeks to make trouble not only in the archives but also at the boundaries between artistic, industrial, political, critical, and disciplinary practices. Editors Corinn Columpar and Sophie Mayer have assembled scholarship that responds to women’s work in the interstices between different branches of the film industry, modes of filmmaking, national or transnational contexts, exhibition media, and varieties of visual representation in order to assess the exchanges such work enables.
  
Essays in the first three sections of There She Goes explore connections at the level of curation and exhibition, while the subsequent four consider local connections such as those between the film and the audience or between works within an oeuvre, down to those occurring on the surface of the film. Contributors reach beyond traditional screen cinema to interact with a larger field of artistic production, including still photography, music videos, installation art, digital media, performance art, and dance. Essays also pay particular attention to a variety of contextual factors that have shaped women’s filmmaking, from the conditions of production and circulation to engagement with various social movements and critical traditions, including, but not limited to, feminism.
  
By foregrounding fluidity, There She Goes presents a an exciting new appraisal of feminist film culture, as well as the intellectual and affective potential it holds for filmmakers and filmgoers alike. Scholars of film and television studies and gender studies will appreciate the fresh outlook of There She Goes
  
  
“The agenda of this volume is to examine the flows within and through feminist film culture by both foregrounding contemporary figures that embody the polymorphous potential of the present and revisiting, in order to re-vision, the past through a newly ground lens. The result is a collection of essays that draws attention to practices, texts, and producers whose interstitial nature makes them difficult to recognize in a discursive field conditioned by disciplinary divisions. Following in the footsteps of the filmmakers whose work it features, There She Goes seeks to make trouble not only in the archives but also at the boundaries — be they drawn around artistic, industrial, political, or critical practices. When Rachel Kushner asked Miranda July what kind of project she intended to tackle in the wake of the success of her first feature-length film, Me and You and Everyone We Know (2005), July replied, with characteristic whimsy and sharp insight, “I have a gigantic plan, Rachel, and it involves performance, and fiction, and radio, and the WWW, and TV and features that are both ‘conventional’ and totally not. And when I’m done with my plan, when I’m very old, hopefully there will be a little more space for people living with profound doubt to tell their stories in all different mediums. Also Hollywood won’t be so sexist.” Locating her work as a commercial filmmaker within a much larger field of cultural production and social change, July functions as exemplar of a contemporary film culture wherein people and products are moving with increasing frequency among venues (gallery, theater, festival, and online), materials (celluloid and digital video), locales (including those in both the “First” and “Third” Worlds), modes of production (studio-financed and “independent,” auteurist and collaborative), and artistic roles (actor, director, producer, and writer) … There She Goes announces a new appraisal of filmmaking that is tied to and celebratory of feminist notions of fluidity and reinvention, as well as their intellectual and affective potential for filmmakers and filmgoers alike.”
   
from There She Goes: Feminist Filmmaking and Beyond, Editors: Sophie Mayer and Corinn Columpar (Wayne State University Press, 2009)
  
Buy There She Goes: Feminist Filmmaking and Beyond.

The Cinema of Sally Potter: A Politics of Love

The Cinema of Sally Potter

     
Internationally renowned as a filmmaker, writer and composer, Sally Potter has always been a provocateur: as a feminist filmmaker and performer, a leading light of the BFI Production Board generation, a British filmmaker Oscar-nominated for a low-budget costume drama, and a pioneer of digital cinema. Drawing on exclusive access to archival materials and in-depth interviews with Britain’s most independent director, The Cinema of Sally Potter: A Politics of Love opens up vivid historical, political, and cultural vistas to give the first full account of this extraordinary career.
            
“It seems only fitting that Sally Potter’s interactive digital archive is called SP-ARK. Fire is at the heart of her work, both visually and metaphysically. Onscreen, it signals the intensity of artistic labour that her films record, metaphorising both the ‘spark’ of inspiration and the energy of work. Fire’s meaning alters to trace the progress of empire in Orlando, from the burning torches that herald Elizabeth I to the burning trenches that mark Orlando’s passage into the reign of Elizabeth II. Fire burns on ice in the reign of King James, as Orlando falls in love. Fire makes steam in the hammam in Khiva. It burns in the hearths of the Great House in contrast to the damp green of the Victorian era as Orlando tends to Shelmerdine’s ankle. In early drafts of the screenplay, fire burnt the house to the ground as Orlando’s class rage turned her into the first Mrs. Rochester. In the finished film, torches burn in the Khan’s courtyard just before war breaks out, but fire is never simply associated with danger or madness. It marks moments of transformation. When fire meets ice, it is an elemental reflection of Orlando’s divided self. Flames burn on water at the opening of The Man Who Cried. They are like a screen of ‘reverie’ in which Suzie sees her memories unfolding.”
    
from The Cinema of Sally Potter: A Politics of Love by Sophie Mayer (Wallflower Press, 2009)
      

Sally Potter

Sally Potter

  
More about Sally Potter
  
Sally Potter’s work has, from the early 1970’s, embraced dance, performance, theatre, music and film. Since her first cult hit with Thriller (1979), Potter has concentrated on film and directed her first feature, The Gold Diggers, starring Julie Christie, in 1983. Potter then made a short, The London Story, and several documentaries before the internationally acclaimed and multi-award winning Orlando, starring Tilda Swinton. This was followed by The Tango Lesson (1996) and The Man Who Cried (2000), starring Christina Ricci, Johnny Depp, Cate Blanchett and John Turturro. In 2004 Potter made Yes, starring Joan Allen, Simon Abkarian, and Sam Neill. Potter then directed Carmen for English National Opera in Autumn 2007. Potter’s new film, Rage, starring Judi Dench, Jude Law, Steve Buscemi, Simon Abkarian and Dianne Wiest is released in 2009.
  
Visit Sally’s website and blog.
   
Book for the forthcoming Sally Potter showcase at the
British Film Institute.

Sharks, Poets and other Endangered Species

 
 
On Thursday, 30 July 2009, the Two Oceans Aquarium, in collaboration with the UCT Writers Series, will present DEEP: A Night of Creative Currents featuring Sharks, Poets and other Endangered Species.  The event is in support of the Aquarium’s Adopt-a-School Programme.
   
Tickets cost R40.00 and include entrance to the Two Oceans Aquarium and a free glass of wine on arrival.  Fairview will present cheese and wine and a cash bar will be available. Art, and books from the Book Lounge, will be on sale.  Doors open at 18h30 with performances starting at 19h00.
   
*
   
Writers and poets have been inspired to speak and write in celebration and defence of the oceans.  In today’s rushed world there are fewer and fewer places available for contemplation and creativity, especially in cities.  Just as our creative spaces and practitioners are under threat, so too are our oceans and their creatures.  DEEP is an opportunity to celebrate the oceans and some of South Africa’s most creative artists.
  
Central to DEEP is the launch of Hyphen, a debut collection of poems by Tania van Schalkwyk, which is published by the UCT Writers Series.  Included in this collection are a number of poems inspired by the sea including ‘Siren Song’, ‘Abyss’, ‘Lionfish’ and ‘Water’.  Lindsey Collen, author of The Rape of Sita, Mutiny and Boy, and twice winner of the Commonwealth Writer’s Prize, Africa, said, “Tania van Schalkwyk’s poems are warm, sensuous memories that often shock and surprise at the same time … They are not just on inner space, but are poems of place, as they move from islands to the veld, from cities to the desert”.  No stranger to the Aquarium, having assisted with the launch of Shoreline Café, van Schalkwyk also curated DEEP in collaboration with Michelle Matthews of Electric Book Works.
  
The launch of Hyphen will be supported by a collection of three minute sea-inspired flash readings and performances by select poets and writers, including Gus Ferguson, Justin Fox, Sarah Lotz, Helen Moffett, Malika Lueen Ndlovu, Henrietta Rose-Innes and a collaborative piece by Toni Stuart, Michael Mwila Mambwe & James Jamala Safari.  The MC for the evening is the inimitable Suzy Bell; writer, columnist and pop culture aficionado.
  
Ferguson has had seven collections of poems and two books of cartoons published; Fox is deputy editor and senior photographer at Getaway magazine; Lotz is a scriptwriter-cum-krimi author with an insatiable greed for the macabre; Moffett has recently published her first collection of poems; Ndlovu is dedicated to creating indigenous multi-media works in line with her personal motto ” healing through creativity”; Rose-Innes won the Caine Prize for African Writing in 2008; Stuart works with young people, using poetry as a means of self-expression; DRC born Mambwe’s has performed on various stages from the Cape Town Book Fair to the Africa Centre’s Badilisha Poetry Exchange and Jamala Safari’s earliest artistic exposure came in the form of theatre at a young age in Bukavu, South Kivu in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
  
These well-known word-artists have a wealth of performance experience and publications behind their names and will give voice to the ocean’s deepest secrets.
  
Word art by Gabeba Baderoon, Gus Ferguson, Tania van Schalkwyk and others in The Vinyl Collection, will come to life against the backdrop of smaller exhibits in the Aquarium.  Baderoon is the author of three collections of poetry and was the recipient of the DaimlerChrysler Award for South African Poetry in 2005.
  
The evening will also feature seven short films including three from the City Breath ProjectWaitless, The Electrician and Omdat ek die stadsrumoer (Because I chose the city noise).  The writer of the latter film was blinded at age four, but at sixty-nine, still has vivid memories of visiting an aquarium.  A film, alpha, by Kai Lossgott, curator of the City Breath Project, will also be shown.  City Breath is an urban oral history video project which seeks to interrogate the official understandings of South African cities conveyed in television, film and other mass media.
  
Other film pieces include Umbilical Cord by poet/filmmaker Shelley Barry and Sea Orchestra and The Tale of How by the Blackheart Gang.  Barry’s films have been screened at major festivals and events around the world and The Tale of How has won numerous international awards, including “Best Independent Film” at the Bradford Animation Festival in London in 2006.
  
Artists Rebecca Townsend and Colwyn Thomas will show their work which will be available for purchase. Townsend works predominantly with glass and creates sculptural glass vessels that reveal the magic of the ordinary things we live with every day.  ‘Kelp’ by Thomas is a 12-part light-box installation which, according to Thomas, “is a rumination on some of the changes that take place when we grow up.”. Thomas is influenced by traditional and modern Japanese art and his works often show both humans and fish or animals in dreamscapes animated by trailing clouds, plants or jellyfish tendrils.
  
Local band Benguela will take to the stage against the spectacular backdrop of the I&J Predator Exhibit.  The trio, including Ross Campbell, Alex Bozas and Brydon Bolton, has played at many of the festivals around South Africa.  According to James Garner, “Benguela’s sound is an atmospheric, uncompromisingly adventurous fusion of constantly shifting elements…”  The name ‘Benguela’ is taken from the cold current running up the West Coast of southern Africa and reflects both the flowing nature of the music as well as being geographically representative of where the band came together and the climate in which they live.
  
Proceeds from DEEP will go towards the Aquarium’s Adopt-a-School Programme.  This programme provides the opportunity for children from previously disadvantaged schools to visit the Aquarium and to discover the wonders and beauty of the ocean and its inhabitants.  Such an opportunity can be a life-changing experience for these children and instill a deep and long-lasting appreciation for the oceans.
  
Tickets cost R40.00 and include entrance to the Two Oceans Aquarium and a free glass of wine on arrival.  Fairview will present cheese and wine and a cash bar will be available.  Art, and books from the Book Lounge, will be on sale.  Doors open at 18h30 with performances starting at 19h00.  For more information contact:
  
Helen Lockhart
Communications & Sustainability Manager
Two Oceans Aquarium
Tel: 021-418 3823
Email: helen.lockhart@aquarium.co.za
Website: www.aquarium.co.za

Tom & Viv

“I don’t keep a line that Viv hasn’t approved.  I rely on her completely.  She’s my first audience.”

– Willem Dafoe as TS (Tom) Eliot
 
 
“I gave Tom the title to The Waste Land.  We worked together side by side for years.  I am threaded through every line of poetry he has ever written.  And he has my undying love.  He will have it until the last breath leaves my body.  And he knows it.  And nobody can ever take that away.”

– Miranda Richardson as Vivienne Eliot
 
 
“Vivie was, of course, the strong one.  She made cowards of us all.  Well, me, certainly.  Terrible, really.  Can’t forget it.  It never mattered to Vivie what the world might think.  She’s a very honest person, you see.  She stuck by her beliefs.  She believed in Tom and his genius.  She loved him and she stuck by him.  Never left him.  Never ever left him.”

– Tim Dutton as Maurice Haigh-Wood (Vivienne’s brother)

*
   
“And last, the rending pain of re-enactment
Of all that you have done, and been; the shame
Of motives late revealed, and the awareness
Of things ill done and done to others’ harm
Which once you took for exercise of virtue.
Then fools’ approval stings, and honour stains.
From wrong to wrong the exasperated spirit
Proceeds, unless restored by that refining fire
Where you must move in measure, like a dancer.”

– TS Eliot, from “Little Gidding” (Four Quartets)

Sex, Drugs and Modern Art

“Everybody wants to get on the van Gogh boat.  There’s no trip so horrible that someone won’t take it.  The idea of the unrecognised genius slaving away in a garret is a deliciously foolish one.  We must credit the life of Vincent van Gogh for really sending this myth into orbit.  I mean how many pictures did he sell?  One?  He couldn’t give them away.  We are so ashamed of his life that the rest of art history will be retribution for van Gogh’s neglect.
 
In this town, one is at the mercy of the recognition factor.  One’s public appearance is absolute.   Part of the artist’s job is to get the work where I will see it.  I consider myself a metaphor of the public.  I am a public eye, a witness, a critic.  When you first see a new picture, you don’t want to miss the boat.  You have to be very careful because you may be staring at van Gogh’s ear.”
 
– art critic and poet, Rene Ricard, in Basquiat (1996)
  (written and directed by Julian Schnabel. 
  Based on a story by Lech J Majewski.)