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Spring 2014 Film Series: Space, Body, Sound

Space, Body, Sound

Tuesdays, April 8, 15, 22, 29 and May 6, 2014, at 7:00pm
Northrop — Best Buy Theater
Free and open to the public

IAS Presents the Moving Image Studies film series for the Grand Opening of Northrop

The Tuesday night film series “Space, Body, Sound” showcases five films, selected by film studies faculty from five departments, chosen to reflect some aspect of Northrop’s primary focus on the performing arts. Each film will be introduced and framed by the faculty person who selected it. Curated by Verena Mund.

2014.4.8 Blood of a PoetApril 8: The Blood of a Poet
(France 1930; Jean Cocteau); programmed by Christophe Wall-Romana (French & Italian)

The Blood of a Poet (1930) is Jean Cocteau’s first film, and the first French avant-garde sound film. It is a dream-like series of biographical vignettes about the role of sexuality in poetic apprenticeship. It focuses on bodily transformations, such as a woman-statue (the photographer Lee Miller), a cross-dresser (Barbette), a hermaphrodite (Cocteau himself) and a half-angel and half-helicopter Senegalese dancer. Its trick spaces–such as a water-mirror and sets with 90-degree gravity–deploy special effects with an originality that links Georges Méliès and George Lucas. The Blood of a Poet remains a remarkably fresh, innovative and poetic film, and confounds some of our ideas about the evolution of the use of sound, body and space in cinema.

2014.4.15 Itam Hakim HopiitApril 15: Itam Hakim Hopiit
(US 1984; Victor Masayesva) documentary; programmed by Angelica Lawson (American Indian Studies); course: AMIN 3304 Indigenous Filmmakers

Victor Masayesva’s 1984 documentary Itam Hakim Hopiit is a poetic visualization of Hopi philosophy and prophesy. Masayesva’s lyrical imagery invites the viewer to “see through Hopi eyes” as they move through an Indigenous space narrated in the Hopi language. Masayesva’s cinematography seeks not to capture Hopi life for an audience, but instead to capture the audience and immerse them in an ancient landscape and philosophy poetically rendered by one of our most important American Indian filmmakers. This stunning work of art exemplifies Indigenous resilience and is a bench mark in the world of American Indian film making. The screening will be followed by a discussion with the director, who will also speak publicly on Wednesday, April 16.

2014.4.22 Reality

April 22: Reality
(Italy 2012; Matteo Garrone); programmed by Laurie Ouellette (Communication Studies); course: COMM 3231 Reality TV: History, Culture, and Economics

Reality (Italy 2012), Matteo Garrone’s story about a man’s desire to make it big on TV, explores the blurring between reality and its simulations. Italian neorealism meets the spectacle of reality TV in a tale of a fishmonger who reluctantly auditions for Big Brother only to get wholly caught up in the performance of ordinary personhood and the fame that being on TV promises. Reality offers a thought-provoking account of authenticity and everyday life in an increasingly mediated world.

2014.4.29 We Can't Go Home Again cropApril 29: We Can’t Go Home Again
(US 1973; Nicholas Ray) experimental film; programmed Alice Lovejoy (Cultural Studies & Comparative Literature); course: MIMS 8003 Historiography of the Moving Image

Nicholas Ray’s last film, We Can’t Go Home Again (1973), an experimental masterpiece made together with his students at the State University of New York at Binghamton, embodies Ray’s approach to filmmaking as a communal way of life. As a multi-channel projection, it makes special use of the principal cinematic space: the screen, bringing three or more moving images on to the screen at the same time. The film records Ray’s groundbreaking use of multiple image as a way of telling more than one story simultaneously, and of colorization as a way to heighten emotional expression. He called it a “journalistic” film, one that shares the anthropologists’ aim of recording the “history, progress, manners, morals, and mores of everyday life,” at a critical moment in American history. Ray plays himself in the film, serving as mentor, friend, and reference point around whom the students’ stories constellate.

2014.5.6 RiverMay 6: The River
(Taiwan 1997; Tsai Ming-liang); programmed by Jason McGrath (Asian Languages and Literatures); course: ALL 3356 Chinese Film

Tsai Ming-liang’s The River (1997) is the third and most devastating of his initial film trilogy (this one following Rebels of the Neon God and Vive L’Amour) focusing on lonely young Taipei resident Hsiao-Kang and his dysfunctional (to say the least) family. The film rigorously captures the nooks and crannies of urban Taipei, and its storyline, such as it is, is launched when Hsiao-Kang happens upon a film shoot in which Hong Kong director Ann Hui (playing herself) needs to film a corpse floating in the highly polluted Tamshui River. Hsiao-Kang volunteers for the role, and later he develops a chronic and worsening mysterious injury to his neck. The rest of the film traces his efforts to get physically healed as well as his and his parents’ desperate attempts to assuage their intimate desires with everything from anonymous sex and pornography to (accidental) incest. Here Tsai Ming-liang showed just how rigorous and uncompromising a director he would prove to be throughout is career, anticipating controversial masterpieces such as Goodbye Dragon Inn and Wayward Cloud.

The film series is cosponsored by the departments of Moving Image Studies, American Indian Studies, French and Italian, Communication Studies, Cultural Studies and Comparative Literature, and Asian Languages and Literatures.

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