Courtisane 2017: Akerman | Dick | Green | Lertxundi

Saturday, April 1, 2017 - 13:30 to 14:45
Sphinx Cinema, Ghent


Saute ma ville (Chantal Akerman, 1968) - 13’

“Akerman has described her first film, Saute ma ville, made when she was only 18, as her attempt to do something Chaplinesque. I strongly suspect that she was thinking about Chaplin’s fourth comedy short made at Mutual, his justly celebrated One A.M. (1916), where, apart from a cab driver glimpsed briefly at the very beginning, Chaplin is the only actor in sight, his character arriving at his own home and proceeding to interact catastrophically with the various props he encounters as he tries to get upstairs and go to bed. Chaplin’s narrative pretext for all the comic chaos engendered is his character’s extreme drunkenness. Akerman – whom we hear manically and wordlessly singing offscreen from the very outset, and is also the only character we see, arriving home and in her case restricting her activities there to a kitchen – provides no narrative context of any kind beyond a certain punklike rebellion against the various domestic rituals that she performs or pretends to perform. These are the same sort of rituals, such as cooking, eating, cleaning up, and polishing shoes that, seven years later, Jeanne Dielman will compulsively embrace, although in this case Akerman’s own frenzied and parodic enactments eventually culminate in a series of offscreen explosions from a gas stove that fulfill the film’s apocalyptic title.” (Jonathan Rosenbaum in LOLA)


Guerrillere Talks (Vivienne Dick, 1978) - 24’

“Super-8 appealed to the No Wave filmmakers because of its accessibility and its long association with home movies. In the mid-1970s it also became possible to record sync sound and the 'anti-aesthetic' of Super-8 became associated with Punk. The No Wave featured a number of prominent women performers and this is was highlighted in Vivienne Dick's first completed film, Guérillière Talks(1978), which consists of a series of 'interviews', each running for the length of a three minute reel. Despite this 'structuralist' approach, however, Guérillière Talks is clearly less concerned with the specificity of film than with issues of gender.” (Maeve Connolly in ‘From No Wave to National Cinema: The Cultural Landscape of Vivienne Dick’s Early Films (1978-1985)’, read it here)


Saddle Sores (Vanalyne Green, 1999) - 20’

“Saddle Sores (1999) is an anti-western about a comely cowboy, the proverbial roll-in-the-hay, and getting hog-tied with herpes. Refusing to be corralled by cliché, Green finds greener pastures: for her, sexually transmitted disease becomes an agent of history, its denial a prairie fire of provocative proportion. In the end our cowgirl's got both feet in the stirrups.” (Berkeley Art Museum - Pacific Film Archive)


025 Sunset Red (Laida Lertxundi, 2016) - 14’

025 Sunset Red is a kind of quasi-autobiographical reckoning. An indiscernibility of then and now. Recollection and immediacy. Delicacy and virility. The elusive and the haptic. The Basque Country and California. It’s a set of echoes of an upbringing by communist radicals, not as nostalgia but as a way of making sense, of finding practical applications of the past in the present. Within the film, blood is collected and poured, red filters cover landscapes, and images of desire are both produced and observed. The film is a diaphanous, psychedelic foray into the domestic and the political, looking at ways that politics may erupt, shape a life, form a sensibility, and become inscribed upon a body.” (Laida Lertxundi)


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