SENSES AND SENSIBILITIES: CHICK STRAND Retrospective

 

Chick Strand

The Montreal-based Double Negative Collective is co-presenting the program SENSES AND SENSIBILITIES | CHICK STRAND RETROSPECTIVE, which will be part of this year’s Festival du nouveau cinema and will be presented by guest programmer Irina Leimbacher.

I’m a founding member of the DNC but I’ve recently taken a step back in order to focus on my music. One of the many reasons I’m proud to be a part of the collective is due to the unique and rare screenings that are organized, like this one on Chick Strand. The collective and its members have been embraced nationally and internationally and I truly hope that Montreal’s “independent” weeklies and local media start paying more attention to the collective’s activities (and other independent film happenings) rather than reviewing Hollywood industrial films and the occasional film festival. It’s not my style to complain so openly about this kind of thing, it’s just confounding to me that such a cool city continues to be so lame with regard to such exciting work. I understand the need to sell newspapers and don’t think that Hollywood film reviews should disappear  (I wouldn’t want them too- I love a good fiction film) but I don’t understand the complacency of journalists and/or editors who don’t support challenging new initiatives in their home town.

  • Double Negative Collective is a Montreal-based group of film, video and installation artists interested in creating, curating and disseminating experimental film. Founded in 2004, the collective seeks to locate cinema in human experience, in the eye, hand and heartbeat. Through experiments in form, voice and vision, they try to initiate a dialogue long-neglected in the independent artist-based filmmaking community; a benevolent conspiracy of ideas.”

Chick Strand, who died at age 77 in 2009, is one of the most important figures in U.S. experimental and poetic filmmaking.  Strand co-founded Canyon Cinema in northern California in the early 1960s, made almost twenty films, and nurtured a generation of experimental filmmakers with her teaching.  Her intimate, sensual camerawork and her profound exploration of women’s personal and domestic worlds, make her approach to poetic documentary absolutely unique.  Filmed in both the United States and Latin America, these works are provocative and lyrical explorations of what it means to be a woman, a worker, a wife, and most of all a human being.

Our first program includes the sensual shorts Waterfall (1967), Kristallnacht (1979), Fever Dream (1979), and the extraordinary, controversial Soft Fiction (1979) in which five women recount intense experiences of pleasure and/or pain from their pasts, ranging from sexual urges to incest and  heroin addiction. The second program includes Strand’s first released film, Angel Blue Sweet Wings (1966), as well as her first documentary Mosori Monika (1970), in which she examines the relationship between an indigenous woman and a “civilizing” nun in Venezuela, and several powerful films shot in Mexico (1967-1986) that explore creative and domestic lives, mainly of women.

– Irina Leimbacher, guest programmer

(Irina Leimbacher is a curator and film scholar of experimental and nonfiction film.  She teaches at Keene State College in New Hampshire, USA.)

  • Cinéma Parallèle
  • 3536, boul. St-Laurent
  • $10 / $8 (students 25- and seniors 65+)
  • Box Office : AGORA, 175, ave. du Président-Kennedy (corner of Jeanne-Mance) / EXCENTRIS, 3536, boul. St-Laurent
  • Info: 514 844 2172

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 15 – 9:00pm

PROGRAM 1 – 71 min.

  • Waterfall (16mm / colour / optical sound / 1967 / 3 min.) “A film poem . . . using visual relationships to invoke a feeling of flow and movement.” (Chick Strand)
  • Kristallnacht (16mm / black and white / optical sound / 1979 / 7 min.) “Dedicated to the memory of Anne Frank, and the tenacity of the human spirit.” (CS)
  • Fever Dream (16mm / black and white / optical sound / 1979 / 7 min.) “A wet hot dream about sensuality.” (CS)
  • Soft Fiction (16mm / black and white / optical sound / 1979 / 54 min.) “. . . a personal documentary that brilliantly portrays the survival power of female sensuality. (…) Strand focuses her camera on people talking about their own experience, capturing subtle nuances in facial expressions and gestures that are rarely seen in cinema.” (Marsha Kinder, Film Quarterly)

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 16 – 7:15pm

PROGRAM 2 – 76 min.

  • Angel Blue Sweet Wings (16mm / colour / optical sound / 1966 / 3 min.) “An experimental film poem in celebration of life and visions.” (CS)
  • Anselmo (16mm / colour / optical sound / 1967 / 3 min.) “An experimental documentary in the sense that it is a symbolic reenactment of a real event. (…) The film is a poetic interpretation of this event in celebration of wishes and tubas.” (CS)
  • Mujer de Milfuegos (16mm / colour / optical sound / 1976 / 15 min.) “An expressionistic, surrealistic portrait of a Latin American woman. (…) MUJER DE MILFUEGOS depicts in poetic, almost abstract terms, their daily repetitive tasks as a form of obsessive ritual.” (CS)
  • Mosori Monika (16mm / colour / optical sound / 1970 / 20 min.) “ … an ethnographic film (…). The Spanish Franciscan Missionaries went to Venezuela in 1945 to ‘civilize’ the Warao Indians, who live in the swamps on the Orinoco River Delta.” (Canyon Cinema)
  • Anselmo and the Women (16mm / colour / optical sound / 1986 / 35 min.)  archival print courtesy of the Academy Film Archive “Continuing the life of Anselmo, a Mexican street musician, and his life-long struggle to make a good life for his children.  This film focuses on his relationship with his wife Adela and his mistress, Cruz, and theirs with him. (…) It explores the division between the real and ideal.” (Canyon Cinema)

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