Queer Moves at International Festival of Contemporary Arts – City of Women XXIII

Screening of Shorts / 60′


Five experimental feminist and queer films made over a period spanning 90 years. The films selected here by Anna Linder were chosen for their compelling work with moving images, movement and music. Read more at http://www.cityofwomen.org/en/content/2017/project/queer-moves
Selection: Anna Linder

Germaine Dulac: Themes of Variations, 1928
Marcelle Thirache: S………….ELLE, 1990
Klara Lidén: Warm Up: Hermitage State Theatre, 2014
Maja Borg: MAN, 2016
Marie Losier: L ́Oiseau de la nuit, 2016

The programme Queer Moves screened the first time at Göteborgs konsthall during the exhibition Queer Moving Images February 4th 2017.

Anne Linder about the selection:
“In the case of moving images, movement and music are two things that interest me a lot. I have taken Germaine Dulac’s three experimental short films as my starting point in this programme, especially the newly restored Themes of Variations. The short films that Dulac made at the end of the 1920s should be shown without sound; the movements in the films are able to stand alone. In Themes of Variations, she cross clips between fragility and hardness. Always with an incredibly sensual gaze, where the lighting, movement and dance lead us further into what she called ‘a visual symphony’. Inspired by dancers like Loïe Fuller and Isadora Duncan, Dulac liberated her films from the figurative and created several abstract and surrealist films. Dulac was the pioneer of personal films during her era, and she viewed cinematography as a social tool, with life and truth being its most self-evident ingredients. Dulac, the activist, as a lesbian feminist experimental filmmaker. Fighting, at that time, for her own independent creative space makes her one of the most radical and exciting personalities in the history of film. Dulac on her abstract films: “With variations of diagonal movements, slow-motion, overlayings and blurrings, abstraction is created, and, in combination with the rhythm, a suggestive perspective which stretches beyond the form is attained.”

Klara Lidén often relates to movement and music in their videos. In contrast to Dulac’s visual experiments, their videos are simple and straightforward in their form; however, both Lidén and Dulac utilise fixed camera positions, where the movement takes place in front of the lens. In Warm Up, it is the ballet dancers’ movements that fascinate Lidén, and, like so many times before, the artist puts themselves into the vulnerable position in front of the camera. During a warm up at the St. Petersburg State Ballet, they do their best to follow the ballerinas’ movements. When Lidén sent me the film, accompanied by the desire for an understanding of its queerness and the longing for affinity, it felt clear that Warm Up should be connected to Dulac’s early experiments, which also use dancers’ movements as their point of reference.

Identity and the changing queer body during pregnancy is something that Maja Borg’s film MAN is quite alone in showcasing. Here, Borg plays with the clichés of gay icons and typical male roles, shining a new light on the image of the pregnant body. From Lidén’s experiments involving their own body movements to Borg’s departure from stereotypes, we travel onwards to a lesbian romantic relationship that is on the verge of ending in Marcelle Thirache’s unknown film S………….ELLE. Thirache is a painter to begin with, and was inspired to make films after seeing the works of Germaine Dulac and Marguerite Duras. Thirache is a very established experimental filmmaker, hand-painted film art and nature being her hallmarks. S………….ELLE is directly related to Borg’s film MAN, a hand-processed Super 8 film focusing on the female body and featuring time-lapse recordings and inked filmstrips. Thirache invites us into an erotic game with stills, or as she puts it herself: “I was very in love with the person, but the relationship was heading towards its end and I wanted to explain my relationship to the female body. I wanted to show eroticism without showing sexual relations. It was so much more poetic to me.” The film has only been shown in lesbian contexts in France, and in Anna Linder’s film programme for Göteborgs Konsthall.

Connecting the installation of Spermwhore with Queer Moves has been important, and further links get tied together with the last film, by Marie Losier, L´Oiseau de la nuit. Losier’s film, filled with colourful costume orgies of textile materials and associated tools like scissors and buttons, fits, of course, well with my own textile references in Spermwhore. Losier depicts a world of mysticism, creatures and animals, but above all an artistic portrait of the performance artist Fernando, aka Deborah Krystal. The film closes with dance and happiness, taking us further into the night.”

(translated from Swedish by Alex Alvina Chamberland)

Free entry. In frame of the project Performing Gender – Dance makes differences.

Organization: City of Women. In cooperation with Alkatraz Gallery.
Supported by The Swedish Arts Council.

Date and time of event:
Oct 09th 19:00
Place of event:
Galerija Alkatraz

More about the films and the artists:

Germaine Dulac – Themes of Variations
France, 1928, 11:13 min, Distribution: Light Cone (Restaurated version 2015)
I evoke a dancing woman. A woman? No. A bouncing line with harmonious rhythm. I evoke a luminous projection on veils! Precise matter! No. Fluid rhythms. Why should one disregard, on screen, the pleasure that movement brings us in the theatre? Harmony of lines. Harmony of light. Lines, surfaces, volumes evolving directly, without the artifice of evocation, in the logic of its forms, dispossessed of any overly human sense, allowing an elevation towards the abstract, thus giving more space to sensations and to dreams: integral cinema.
Since the original 35mm negative is lost, a 4K scan has been made by the laboratory Eclair Group using the best available sources: namely, nitrate 35mm print held by the Cinémathèque Française. The main focus of the restoration process has been the attenuation of signs of physical decay due to the passage of time, as well as color correction. Original flaws have been willfully preserved.
Germaine DULAC was the first feminist filmmaker and a key figure in the development of the French Avant Garde cinema of the ’20s. In the early 1900s, she had been a photographer and writer in two feminist journals, La Fronde and Le Francaise. After World War I there were more opportunities for women in post-War France, and she, intrigued with film, began Delia Film, her own production company. In 1917, she and theoretician Louis Delluc teamed up to begin the French avant-garde movement, which is also called French Impressionism. Dulac was the center of the French Impressionism comprised of intellectuals and filmmakers devoted to promoting film as the ‘seventh art.’ Dulac was fascinated with movement and her abstract films reflect this. She attempted to create a style that she dubbed ‘the integral film… a visual symphony made of rhythmic images.’
Distribution: Light Cone

Klara Lidén – Warm Up: Hermitage State Theatre
Sweden/Germany, 2014, 4:25 min, Color, Stereo, 4:3
Music: Tvillingarna. Camera: Grant Watkins
In the film created in 2014 for the Manifesta in St. Petersburg, Warm Up: Hermitage State Theatre, artist Klara Lidén shows herself taking part in the warm-up exercises of the St. Petersburg State Ballet. The artist herself takes the stage—in the midst of a row of almost marionette- like ballerinas. She tries to follow the rehearsed choreography of the dancers, but with obvious difficulty. The expanse of the stage and the bright light of the spotlights expose the dilettantish nature of Lidén’s movements, which make the artist all the more susceptible to the judging eye of the viewer.
Born in Stockholm, Sweden. Lives and work in Berlin, Germany.
Whether handling a saw or attempting an arabesque or a grand pas, Lidéns work always an improvisation starting at the level of her own bodily capacities. Her forms are also performances in relation to built environments, often mimicking existing structures in order to evade their policing function.

Maja Borg – MAN
Sweden, 2016, 13 min, Color, Stereo, 16:9
MAN is an expansion of gender and language, a journey of physical transformation through the wilderness of pregnancy echoed by the sole remaining recording of Virginia Woolf’s voice.
The film is a truly experimental expression of form – hand-processed super 8mm film combined with watercolour-negative animation; timelapses of a pregnancy shot frame by frame, day by day; bookended by a series of self-portraits where the filmmaker is satirising her own use of particular attire, generally read as masculine, becoming revelatory when posed in the context of the pregnant body.
For a decade Borg has been exploring the semantics of visual language in her work, experimented with form to push content beyond the limits of established thought. She uses the deconstruction of language to dismantle other systems – may they be political, sexual, economic or cultural. This is the second time she draws on the essay Craftsmanship by Virginia Woolf, this time to deconstruct gender identity during her own pregnancy.

Marcelle Thirache, S………….ELLE
France, 1990, 4 min, Color, Silent, 4:3, Distribution: Light Cone
The entire film was made by using slides. Images of bodies distorted by superimposing slides, filters …resulting in highly abstract shots…fantasy?…eroticism?
Born in 1946, in Ivry-Sur-Seine. She begins with the practice of photography and exhibits her work as soon as 1978. First, her discovery of Marguerite Duras with the dissociation between sounds and images, and then the films of Germaine Dulac, foster a growing interest for cinema and finally lead her to choose the Super-8 in 1982. In 1984, she develops a peculiar skill consisting in hand painting directly on a Super-8 filmstrip. To complete this cinematographic practice, she starts classical painting in 1999.
Distribution: Light Cone

Marie Losier – L´Oiseau de la nuit
Portugal/France, 2016, 20 min, Color, Stereo, 4:3, Distribution: Portugal Film
Mysterious portrait of Fernando, aka Deborah Krystal, the glittering and poetic performer of the Lisbon club Finalmente, where he has been performing every night over 30 years in golden dresses. Under the layers of his colorful fabrics, the many skins of Fernando are revealed, letting Lisbon’s legends come to life. Alternately woman mermaid, female birds, woman lion, we are taken into the desires and dreams of metamorphosis and myths.
Born in France, in 1972, she is a filmmaker and was a film curator based in New York. First, she studied literature at the University of Nanterre (France) and then Fine Arts in New York City. She has made a number of film portraits on avant-garde directors, musicians and composers. Distribution: Portugal Film