Session #5: Illustrated talk by Zoe Beloff, including screenings of three films, and conversation with Esther Leslie & Laura Mulvey

Photo © 2015 Zoe Beloff


Monday 27 March 2017

Birkbeck Cinema, 43 Gordon Square, London, WC1H 0PD

1:30–4:30 |  [Free event: Book here]


In these three recent films, A Model Family in a Model Home, Two Marxists in Hollywood, and A Glass House, Zoe Beloff returns to and resurrects the greatest exponents of dialogue between radical politics and radical aesthetics: Bertolt Brecht and Sergei Eisenstein.

The pair come together in Two Marxists in Hollywood, which tells the very different stories of their paradoxical, and ultimately unsuccessful, aspirations to collaborate with the Hollywood film industry. But, as Beloff, points out: if their utopian projects ended in failure, “what if they did not [fail], what if their ideas were merely lying in wait for us?” As she interweaves the two men’s histories, anecdotes of their Hollywood experiences, with their theoretical principles, Beloff also interweaves visually and cinematically different levels of time. The film is shot in its Hollywood ‘now’ of 2015, emphasised by the presence of DJ Rapture in the soundtrack, but the ‘interviews’ with the two characters are played out against Beloff’s exquisitely painted backdrops of Hollywood ‘then’, also juxtaposing theatricality with the actuality of the locations. These distanciation-effects are accentuated by the casting of Brecht and Eisenstein as twelve-year-old boys.

In Two Marxists in Hollywood, both Eisenstein and Brecht mention projects that were inspired by their time in the USA: Brecht describes ‘A Model Family in a Model Home’; Eisenstein describes ‘A Glass House’. Beloff’s film reconstructions of these ‘failed’ projects will also be screened as part of this special event. Both projects revolved around very different mediations of the politics of architecture, but, through Beloff’s films, they have found a dialectical relation to each other.

Two Marxists in Hollywood, Zoe Beloff, USA 2015, HD video, 26 mins, with Bryan Yoshi Brown, Ben Taylor
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A Model Family in a Model Home, Zoe Beloff, USA 2015, HD video, 22 mins
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A Glass House, Zoe Beloff, USA 2015, HD video, 21 mins, with Kate Valk, Jim Fletcher


Two Marxists in Hollywood, Zoe Beloff, USA 2015, HD video, 26 mins, with Bryan Yoshi Brown, Ben Taylor

In 1930 Russian avant-garde filmmaker Sergei Eisenstein spent six months in Los Angeles under contract with Paramount. A decade later German playwright and theatre director Bertolt Brecht, a refugee from Nazi Germany, lived there from 1941 to 1947. Both set out to make films in Hollywood on their own terms. Working in the world’s most famous factory of dreams, they believed that artists must call into question the way we understand our world. They wanted to make art that was both radical and popular.

A Model Family in a Model Home, Zoe Beloff, USA 2015, HD video, 22 mins

Fleeing from the Nazis, Bertolt Brecht arrived in Los Angeles in 1941. This film is inspired by notes for movie that he based on an article in Life magazine called A Model Family in a Model Home. It explores Brecht’s ideas about working people and the home as a stage upon which larger political and social forces are played out.

A Glass House, Zoe Beloff, USA 2015, HD video, 21 mins, with Kate Valk, Jim Fletcher

A film based on Sergei Eisenstein’s notes and drawings for a science fiction movie that he pitched to Paramount Studios in 1930. Its theme is the architecture of surveillance.

FIND OUT MORE ABOUT ZOE BELOFF


Zoe Beloff works with a wide range of media including film, projection performance, installation and drawing. She considers herself a medium, an interface between the living and the dead, the real and the imaginary. Each project aims to connect the present to past so that it might illuminate the future in new ways. Her most recent completed project is A World Redrawn: Eisenstein and Brecht in Hollywood. Through films, drawings, architectural models and archival documents, Beloff explores their unrealised film scenarios ‘Glass House’ and ‘A Model Family in a Model Home’ and reimagines their ideas for today.
http://www.zoebeloff.com

Session #4: Three Landscape Films by Babette Mangolte + Filmmaker in conversation

Photo © 1982 Babette Mangolte


Sunday 26 March 2017

Institute of Contemporary Arts, The Mall, London, SW1Y 5AH

2:30-6:00 | Cinema 1 | [Book here]

Filmmaker Babette Mangolte will be in conversation with Laura Mulvey and Lucy Reynolds


This second programme devoted to the work of Babette Mangolte focuses on her trilogy of films about landscape: There? Where?, The Sky on Location and Visible Cities. These essay films are both studies of specific locations and a sustained reflection about the art of landscape cinematography.

The filmmaker describes the first film, There? Where?, as “a naive look at Southern California by an outsider, and/or an essay on displacement through the disjunction of Californian images and off screen voices. Where is the location of these voices, here or there? Are the images near or far in relation to the voices? Are the images commenting on the images or vice versa?”

Documenting seasonal changes across the American West, from Wyoming to Oregon, the second film, The Sky on Location, is an affecting meditation on untamed nature and the atmospheric effects of climate on the landscape. Weather and ambiance, the wilderness and the Sublime, Mangolte articulates the shifting ways of looking at Nature, from the nineteenth to twentieth centuries, and her keen cinematographer’s eye captures an awe and reverence for the American wilderness. The Sky on Location confronts us with a vision of the natural world, translated into a palette of ambient colour and visceral mood.

Finally, in Visible Cities, two women looking for a home in Southern California realise, in Mangolte’s words, that “the single-family home [is] the locus of the exclusion of the other. It is also unaffordable. They both feel as if they are invisible citizens. They witness how the architectural landscape imposed on the California desert appears as a reversal of nature, where exclusive living, gated communities and segregation go hand in hand. They dream of escape.”

There? Where?, Babette Mangolte, USA 1979, 16mm, 8 mins
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The Sky on Location, Babette Mangolte, USA 1982, 16mm, 78 mins
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Visible Cities, Babette Mangolte, USA 1991, 16mm, 31 mins

FIND OUT MORE ABOUT BABETTE MANGOLTE

With the support of Open City Documentary Festival.

Session #3: The Camera: Je, or La Caméra: I, in the presence of Babette Mangolte

Photo © 1977 Babette Mangolte


Saturday 25 March 2017

Institute of Contemporary Arts, The Mall, London, SW1Y 5AH

6:00-8:30 | Cinema 1 | [Book here]

Filmmaker Babette Mangolte will be in conversation with Laura Mulvey


The first of two programmes devoted to the essay films of the great filmmaker, cinematographer and photographer Babette Mangolte, this session focuses on the act of looking through the camera, questioning the notion of “subjectivity”, the role of the spectator, and the relation between vision and power.

The Camera: Je, or La Caméra: I is a self-portrait about the process of taking photographs. Shifting from the artist’s studio to the streets of New York and back into the workshop, the film’s rhetorical structure acts as a form of self-portraiture of the artist during the years 1976-1977. Exploring the technique of “subjective camera”, the film offers a reflection on ways of seeing, and the interpersonal and power dynamics involved in producing images.

The short film Je, Nous, I or Eye, Us is, in Mangolte’s own words, “a mini essay that replies to a question about subjectivity in the 1970s while I was making my film The Camera: Je, or La Caméra: I about taking photographs. The new film from 2014 uses footage shot at the time of The Camera: Je but never used in 1976 and 1977 and adds to the 16mm film a series of titles about a photographer’s subjectivity then and now.”

The Camera: Je, or La Caméra : I , Babette Mangolte, USA 1977, 16mm (on HD video), 89 mins
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Je, Nous, I or Eye, Us, Babette Mangolte, USA 2014, HD video, 6 mins 30 secs 

FIND OUT MORE ABOUT BABETTE MANGOLTE

BABETTE MANGOLTE SIGHT AND SOUND ARTICLE

With the support of Open City Documentary Festival.