Cinema

Iris | Lie Back and Enjoy It | Cycles | I Don’t Know | Jennifer, Where Are You?

Sun, Jun 26–Sun, Aug 28, 2022
Sun, Jun 19, 2022
Lecture Hall
5.15 pm
Admission included in exhibition ticket
Sun, Jun 26, 2022
Lecture Hall
5.15 pm
Admission included in exhibition ticket
Sun, Jul 3, 2022
Lecture Hall
5.15 pm
Admission included in exhibition ticket
Sun, Jul 10, 2022
Lecture Hall
5.15 pm
Admission included in exhibition ticket
Sun, Jul 17, 2022
Lecture Hall
5.15 pm
Admission included in exhibition ticket
Sun, Jul 24, 2022
Lecture Hall
5.15 pm
Admission included in exhibition ticket
Sun, Jul 31, 2022
Lecture Hall
5.15 pm
Admission included in exhibition ticket
Sun, Aug 7, 2022
Lecture Hall
5.15 pm
Admission included in exhibition ticket
Sun, Aug 14, 2022
Lecture Hall
5.15 pm
Admission included in exhibition ticket
Sun, Aug 21, 2022
Lecture Hall
5.15 pm
Admission included in exhibition ticket
Sun, Aug 28, 2022
Lecture Hall
5.15 pm
Admission included in exhibition ticket

Every Sunday

5.15 pm

Admission with exhibition ticket

Courtesy of Sixpackfilm

Iris

D: Maria Lassnig, USA 1971, 11 min, English OV

Iris is the first of four portraits comprising Soul Sisters, a series of films Maria Lassnig made while living in New York. Using an array of techniques including superimposition, stop-motion photography, distorting mirrors, and unconventional camera angles, the Austrian artist crafts an undulating and unfamiliar representation of the female nude, with her friend Iris Vaughan as subject. Best known for her work as a painter, Lassnig employed the term Körperbewusstsein or “body awareness” to describe her practice. Here, she carries over this approach into film, leaving behind a realistic depiction of the human form to better communicate corporeal sensation.

Copyright of Chicago Film Archives

Lie Back and Enjoy It

D: JoAnn Elam, USA 1982, 8 min, English OV

“I don’t like your idea for this film”—so begins Lie Back and Enjoy It, in which a woman talks back to a male director who plans to make a “personal film” about the two of them. These disembodied voices discuss sexism, power, and the politics of representation as images of a woman’s face flicker and fill the screen, occasionally interrupted by fragments of text. JoAnn Elam uses optical printing to rupture cinematic illusion, increasingly disfiguring and obscuring the woman’s image as the film progresses. Does this intervention offer the woman salvation from the objectification to which she is subject? Or is it an allegory of her true invisibility in patriarchal visual culture?

Courtesy of Women Make Movies and Zeinabu irene Davis

Cycles

D: Zeinabu irene Davis, USA 1989, 16 min, English OV

In Cycles, a woman awaits the arrival of her period, filling the intervening time with household chores and care for herself. Zeinabu irene Davis renders the routines and pleasures of her protagonist’s life with a poetic sensuality, drawing on Afro-Caribbean forms of spirituality and song. In the filmmaker’s words, “The cool thing is, people can watch the film and not have a clue, but for others I’m able to express background about culture and history that hopefully gives them a greater appreciation and understanding of Black culture and how it’s tied to Black womanhood and celebrations of Black women.” Rather than a “feminist,” Davis considers herself a “womanist,” explaining, “There are problems with some of the ideals of feminism that do not encompass all of what I am as a Black woman, mother, daughter, wife, etcetera.”

Courtesy of Avatar Films

I Don’t Know

D: Penelope Spheeris, USA 1970, 20 min, English OV

Penelope Spheeris, I Don’t Know (1970), 16 mm, 20 min., USA I Don’t Know is the first of two short films featuring Jimmie – a femme sometimes referred to as “he” and other times as “she” – that Penelope Spheeris made during her time as a graduate student at the University of California, Los Angeles. The film refuses not only the binary of male/female but also that of documentary/ fiction: it entangles interview and verité footage with reenactments of real events and fantasy sequences to explore friendship, violence, love, and money in the lives of Jimmie and Linda, Spheeris’s lesbian sister.

Jennifer, Where Are You?

D: Leslie Thornton USA 1981, 11 min, English OV

A little girl gazes into a handheld mirror, applying red lipstick. Her rehearsal of the affectations of womanhood goes awry from the outset: she colors outside the lines, smearing the makeup such that her mouth resembles a clown’s rictus. A paternal voice, sinister and insistent, echoes on the soundtrack, calling out the film’s title repeatedly to no answer. Images of a house and adults appear inverted along the horizontal axis, emblems of reproductive futurity literally upended. By the end, the girl’s once pleasant countenance has soured into sullenness. Glowering, she refuses to blow out the match held in front of her from off-screen, watching it burn as the voice continues to call her name.