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PRISONER’S CINEMA

Mon, Nov 4 at 7pm, Anthology Film Archives

Maryam Tafakory* and Josh Solondz in person. Discussion moderated by Leo Goldsmith, writer and curator. Co-presented with Colgate University and UnionDocs.

This night of short films from Germany, Iran, Australia, and the U.S., advances the allegory of Plato’s Cave into contemporary geopolitics, to focus on all that is not clearly visible, including those who are denied access to public space. Manipulating the images with text, animation, and hand-processing techniques, the filmmakers reenact and exorcise situations of confusion, exclusion, and trauma. In this play of light and shadow, the works suggest that in the camera, as in life, all is not as it may appear. While artifice often becomes accepted reality, it is often by inquiring into this very metamorphosis that one may reflect on the nature of truth, transgression, and freedom.

FILMS:

Joshua Gen Solondz LUNA E SANTOR 2016, 10 min, 16mm-to-35mm
Maryam Tafakory ABSENT WOUND 2018, 10 min, digital
Maryam Tafakory I HAVE SINNED A RAPTUROUS SIN 2018, 8 min, digital
Gunvor Nelson TAKE OFF 1972, 10 min, 16 mm
Pia Borg SILICA 2016, 23 min, digital

Total running time: 61 min.

SYNOPSES:

Joshua Gen Solondz LUNA E SANTOR 2016, 10 min, 16mm-to-35mm
Lunda E Santor
is a recent film, finished on 35mm. It’s dedicated to my mother Yuriko and my wife Emma. It owes a debt to Peggy Ahwesh and Keith Sanborn’s Deadman, Michael Smith’s Secret Horror, Magritte’s Lovers, and a paranormal encounter I had in 2015.” — Joshua Gen Solondz

In this stroboscopic film, a variation of the flicker film or Brion Gyson’s dream machine, two masked lovers are engaged in a mysterious erotic ritual. Through a series of optical and hypnotic effects, Joshua Gen Solondz disrupts our voyeuristic pleasurein enacting a series of hooded rituals. Conjuring Platos allegory of the cave, we are both invited in and locked out of what is either occult sex or childish play or both. (adapted from IFFR, Letterboxdm and Light Industry)

Maryam Tafakory ABSENT WOUND 2018, 10 min, digital
What cures women of sexual promiscuity? Eating lettuce, advises an Islamic clergyman in Maryam Tafakory's Absent Wound. In this celebration of desire against ideology, the artist reads and writes fragments from Iranian poet Forough Farrokhzad’s Sin (1955), in direct opposition to religious rhetoric casting aspersion on female sexuality. The contrast weaves a sensual and textural allegory about Iranian’s patriarchal order and hidden passions. (adapted from artist’s website andIFFR)

Maryam Tafakory I HAVE SINNED A RAPTUROUS SIN 2018, 8 min, digital
Men are taught the rituals of Persian warrior training at an outdoor gymnasium, while inside, a young girl’s recitations both declare and atone for her womanhood. Creating a stage out of public spaces in Iran which women are prohibited from entering, I Have Sinned a Rapturous Sin’s depiction of men and women coming of age draws comments on the separation of the genders while also drawing parallels.. The authority of tradition is written across the screen in obstructive onscreen text, while a woman’s low hums and whispers remind us of the presence of the desiring body in the enactment of rituals. (IFFR)

Gunvor Nelson TAKE OFF 1972, 10 min, 16 mm
Ellion Ness, a thoroughly professional stripper, goes through her paces, bares her body, and then, astonishingly and literally, transcends it. While the film makes a forceful political statement on the image of woman and the true meaning of stripping, the intergalactic transcendence of its ending locates it firmly within the mainstream of joyous humanism and stubborn optimism. (B. Ruby Rich, Chicago Art Institute)

Pia Borg SILICA 2016, 23 min, digital
Silica explores territorial constructs and the boundaries of the real in an opal mining town in the South Australian desert. Charting the journey of a female location scout, notions of settlement and belonging are investigated through images of a town in the midst of abandonment. Combining 35mm photography with microscopic and CG imagery, Silica blurs the actual and imaginary to probe the concept of value: both the kind that supports the gem trade, and the less tangible kind that speaks to identity, authenticity, and mythology. (adapted from artist’s website)

IN PERSON:

Joshua Gen Solondz is a film/media artist and musician. His work has appeared at MOMA’s Documentary Fortnight, Locarno, Rotterdam, Toronto International Film Festival, Internationale Kurzfilmtage Oberhausen, and the New York Film Festival, Light Industry, Harvard Film Archive, and more. Josh won the 2013 Chris Frayne Award at the Ann Arbor Film Festival and received Special Jury Mention from the 2013 New Orleans Film Festival. He is a recent MacDowell Fellow.

*Maryam Tafakory is the 2019 Flaherty/Colgate Distinguished Global Filmmaker in Residence. After her Flaherty NYC screening she will spend a week at Colgate University sharing her work with the university community through a series of screenings and class visits. We are all excited to host her on her first visit to NYC.

Maryam Tafakory (b. Shiraz, Iran) is an artist-filmmaker based in London. Her work draws on the notion of personal as political in a fractured narrative that involves a subtle negotiation between factual and fiction, exploring allegorical forms of visual narrative, using abstracted, symbolic and textual motifs and their on-screen representation. She received her MFA at Oxford University and her works have exhibited internationally including, Rotterdam IFFR; Edinburgh EIFF; Zurich Film Festival; Melbourne MIFF; ZINEBI; Hamburg IKFF; ICA London; BFI London; Kurzfilmtage Winterthur; Ji.hlava IDFF; The Barbican Centre and elsewhere.

MODERATOR:

Leo Goldsmith is a writer, teacher, and curator based in New York. He is a coauthor of Robert Stam’s Keywords in Subversive Film/Media Aesthetics (Wiley-Blackwell 2015), and is currently writing a book about the filmmaker Peter Watkins (Verso). His writing has appeared in Artforum, Art Agenda, Cinema Scope, and The Brooklyn Rail, where he coedited the film section from 2011 to 2018. He is a visiting assistant professor of screen studies at Eugene Lang College of the Liberal Arts, The New School.

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PHOTO: Maryam Tafakory, I have Sinned a Rapturous Sin, 2018, 8 min, digital\

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