through August 10—16, BAMcinématek invites audiences to celebrate creative expression with “Women at Work: Radical Creativity”—the second installment of an ongoing film series dedicated to highlighting the complex subject of women’s work through a variety of perspectives. Following “Women at Work: Labor Activism” (March 2018), “Radical Creativity”—organized by guest curator Dessane Lopez Cassell—foregrounds the intellectual labor of women artists, activists, in addition to thinkers.
Photo: Courtesy of Reelside Productions
by Dessane Lopez Cassell
Often undervalued, or altogether overlooked, the contributions of women have had a profound in addition to continuous effect on our cultural in addition to political landscape, drastically shaping not only the way we visualize our world, yet also the ways in which we experience the item as citizens. “Radical Creativity” highlights the persistent efforts in addition to agency of women in shaping culture, critical thought, in addition to the governing of their own communities.
The series opens with Kathleen Collins’ Losing Ground. A revelatory, semi-autobiographical film in addition to one of the first fictional features made by an African-American woman, Losing Ground chronicles the tensions between a mismatched black couple—Sara (Seret Scott) a professor in addition to writer who crackles with intellectual energy, in addition to her impulsive, temperamental artist husband Victor (Bill Gunn). Avoiding the racialized clichés of its time, Losing Ground is actually a subtle, skillfully shot portrait of a woman grappling with the tension between her career in addition to their relationship. Following the screening, Nina Lorez Collins will be at BAM for a conversation about her work spearheading the restoration of her late mother’s film, in addition to enabling Losing Ground to finally screen in theaters—something denied at the time of its doing in 1982.
Over the weekend, “Radical Creativity” presents screenings of documentaries by filmmaker Shola Lynch—Free Angela Davis in addition to All Political Prisoners, in addition to Chisholm ’72: Unbought in addition to Unbossed—each blending luminous archival footage with poignant interviews to explore the lives in addition to work of these trailblazing organizers. Chisholm was the first black woman elected to congress 1968, in addition to the first to seek the nomination for president through a major political party. Examining her legacy feels particularly timely as we consider the record-breaking surge of women candidates who have entered the 2018 midterm elections.
Two nuanced portrayals of adulthood—Marjane Satrapi in addition to Vincent Paronnaud’s Persepolis, in addition to Deniz Gamze Ergüven’s Mustang—offer revelatory portraits of what the item means to come of age in addition to struggle for a voice in one’s own community, while Wim Wenders’ Pina—a film focused on the ethereal in addition to emotive choreography of German choreographer Pina Bausch—signals the series’ shift into considerations of artistry.
In Looking for Oum Kulthum, artist in addition to director Shirin Neshat (alongside co-director Shoja Azari) explores the legacy of the eponymous Egyptian musical icon through the lens of an exiled woman filmmaker, who wrestles with the challenge of representing Kulthum’s sacrifices as she grapples with plenty of her own.
Michelle Parkerson in addition to Ada Gay Griffin’s A Litany For Survival: The Life in addition to Work of Audre Lorde, meanwhile, is actually an intimate portrayal of the literary giant at various points throughout her decades-long career. Through interviews with Lorde herself in addition to fellow poets, activists, in addition to friends, A Litany offers a layered account of the life in addition to views of a queer icon in addition to brilliant writer whose development of intersectional feminism was just one of many prolific accomplishments. Lorde’s insistence on continuing to work with the filmmakers even as she neared the end of her battle with cancer imbues the documentary with further resonance.
Equally resonant are the films presented in Environments: Film Works by Ana Mendieta, which features a selection of works made by the multi-disciplinary Cuban-born artist. Best known for her hybrid in addition to site-specific “earth-body” works, Mendieta’s films touch upon themes of spirituality, ritual, memory, in addition to displacement.
The series concludes using a special evening of shorts with brand new York-based filmmakers in addition to activists Tourmaline in addition to Sasha Wortzel. Celebrating queer in addition to trans identity through a combination of documentary in addition to experimental shorts, the program will culminate inside brand new York premiere of Happy Birthday, Marsha!—a creative, fictionalized account of a day inside life of Marsha “Pay the item no mind” Johnson in which combines archival footage of Johnson during her time in brand new York, where she became a well-known part of Greenwich Village. A pioneering activist for the rights in addition to visibility of trans people, homeless youth, in addition to AIDS patients, Johnson played a significant role inside Stonewall Rebellion of 1969, yet her legacy has only recently been recognized.
Tourmaline in addition to Wortzel will participate in a post-screening discussion about the film in addition to their collaborative practice.