Tuesday, 25 September 2007

art stars on the big screen

From September to December 2007, ACMI Cinemas will feature a series of Australian premiere film screenings by, and about, some of the international art world's most celebrated figures. The program includes new documentary features on Andy Warhol, Annie Leibovitz, and Robert Mapplethorpe, as well as big screen works by Matthew Barney, Gaspar Noé and Marina Abramovic. Curated by Kristy Matheson.

In addition, as a part of the Melbourne International Arts Festival Merce Cunningham residency, ACMI presents Collaborations. This screening program pays tribute to Marie Menken and Andy Warhol, two of the artistic collaborators who worked alongside Cunningham and John Cage.

Throughout their career, Cunningham and Cage were inextricably linked with the key figures in the avant-garde, working with artists to create their groundbreaking performances. In 1945, painter turned filmmaker, Marie Menken created Variations on Noguchi in response to Cunningham and John Cage's request to provide a filmic backdrop to their ballet, The Seasons. Likewise, after seeing Warhol's Silver Clouds, Cunningham was inspired to include the work in his 1968 dance piece, RainForest, which included music by David Tudor and costumes by Jasper Johns.

27 - 30 September 2007
Destricted (unclassified 18+ UK/USA, 2005) 
Australian Premiere
Voted Art Forum's best film for 2005, seven of the world's leading art and film practitioners including Matthew Barney, Larry Clark, Gasper Noé, Richard Prince, Marina Abramovic and photographer Sam Taylor-Wood, present their big screen interpretations of pornography and eroticism. 

25 - 28 October 2007 
Andy Warhol: A Documentary Film (USA, 2006, unclassified 18+)
Australian Premiere
This highly anticipated new documentary by Ric Burns features narration by Laurie Anderson and Warhol himself voiced by Jeff Koons is an absorbing portrait of one of pop culture's most enthralling and influential figures. Described by art historian Neil Printz as "a touchstone of the culture we live in", Warhol's world of commerce / high art meets underground is examined in full, as is the larger story of American cultural history from the 1950s to 1970s. With use of extensive archival materials and interviews, Burns immerses the audience into this unique environment of celebrity, 'superstars' and counterculture, whilst never loosing sight of the fascinating figure at its very core. Screened at the 2007 Berlin International Film Festival and Film Forum New York.
"Smart, scholarly and entirely absorbing" New York Times 

8 - 11 November 2007
Annie Leibovitz: Life Through a Lens (unclassified 18+, USA, 2006) 
Australian Premiere
Barbara Leibovitz's star-studded documentary illuminates the personal and professional life of renowned photographer, Annie Leibovitz. Tracing her career trajectory from Rolling Stone, Vanity Fair and beyond, Life Through a Lens delves into the loss her partner, Susan Sontag, the joys of parenting and her battle with drug addiction. But throughout it is Leibovitz's artistic practice that truly takes centre stage. She has shot the rich and famous, the notorious and the broken, whether it is cover shoots for Vogue or her work in war torn Sarajevo, Leibovitz's mastery at capturing transparency in her subjects has defined her unique style and modern portraiture at large. This captivating documentary features Mikhail Baryshnikov, Tina Brown, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Whoopi Goldberg, Mick Jagger, Bette Midler, Demi Moore, Yoko Ono, Keith Richards, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Patti Smith, Gloria Steinem, Jann Wenner and Anna Wintour amongst others.

Friday 19 October
Notes on Marie Menken (Austria, 2006, unclassified 18+)
Australian Premiere
Presented in association with the Melbourne International Arts Festival as part of the Collaborations program. From the director of In the Mirror of Maya Deren comes a fascinating document on the arcane painter turned filmmaker, Marie Menken. Often credited as the mother of the American underground, Menken encouraged the likes of Kenneth Anger and Andy Warhol while her organic, dance-like aesthetic was a direct influence on the work of underground maestros, Jonas Mekas and Stan Brackhage.  Allegedly the inspiration for 'Martha' in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf, Menken's larger than life presence shines throughout Kudlácek's portrait, which makes excellent use of forgotten archival material and features avant-garde luminaries Gerard Malanga, Alfred Leslie and Kenneth Anger, amongst others.

Friday 19 October
Marie Menken Shorts (1957-1965, unclassified 18+)
Presented in association with the Melbourne International Arts Festival as part of the Collaborations program. A rare opportunity to see six of Menken's short films from the period 1957 to 1965, including Andy Warhol (1961), an intimate portrait of the artist at work creating some of his most famous pieces including the 'Brillo' boxes; and Visual Variations On Noguchi (1945) which was crafted as filmic backdrop to Merce Cunningham and John Cage's ballet, The Seasons.

Saturday 20 October
Chelsea Girls (USA, Unclassified 18+, 195 mins)
Presented in association with the Melbourne International Arts Festival as part of the Collaborations program. Stars Mary Woronov, Nico, Gerard Malanga, International Velvet, Ingrid Superstar, Eric Emerson, Brigid Berlin, Marie Menken, Angelina "Pepper" Davis, Ondine (Bob Olivio), Albert Rene Ricard, Rona Page, Ed Hood, Patrick Fleming, Mario Montez and Ari Boulogne.
Set in the infamous Chelsea Hotel, comprising 12 separate split-screen episodes, Warhol's masterstroke is an intoxicating mix of sex, drugs, boredom, masochism and humour. With a soundtrack by the Velvet Underground and starring a cavalcade of Warhol superstars and Factory regulars, Chelsea Girls took Warhol's filmmaking from the underground to the art house masses:  "...it was the movie that made everyone sit up and notice what we were doing in films (and a lot of times that meant sit up, stand up, and walk out)!"*  On release, Newsweek dubbed it the "Iliad of the underground" while Rex Reed described it as "a cesspool of vulgarity and talentless confusion".  Controversial and uncompromising, don't miss this rare cinematic event.

*Andy Warhol

29 November - 2 December 2007
Black White + Gray: A Portrait of Sam Wagstaff and Robert Mapplethorpe (USA, 2007, Unclassified 18+)
Australian Premiere
Featuring Patti Smith and various art world luminaries, James Crump's insightful debut examines, Sam Wagstaff, the driving force behind the enfant terrible of photography, Robert Mapplethorpe. Prior to meeting the young Mapplethorpe (and his roommate, punk rock poet laureate, Patty Smith), Wagstaff had come to prominence as an innovative curator and foremost collector of photography, (whose collection sold to the Getty Museum for $5 million in 1985). Wagstaff's forceful patronage left an indelible mark on the artistic landscape, propelling Mapplethorpe's groundbreaking career whilst cementing his own reputation within America's art history. Featuring Patti Smith, Dominick Dunne, Eugenia Parry, Clark Worswick and Ralph Gibson.

Further information

Claire Butler
Communications Coordinator
[direct phone] 61 3 8663 2415 [fax] 61 3 8663 2498 [mobile] 0434 603 654
[email] claire.butler@acmi.net.au  
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