Thursday, April 5, 2012

Cathy Lee Crane on Poetic Biography

Sorry for the late notice, but I wanted to highlight a filmmaker discussion event this evening at International House.

The Films of Cathy Lee Crane: Poetic Biography: An Investigation of Words from Two Radical Polemicists

Co-presented by Temple Film Media Arts Department, School of Communication and Theater and The Bryn Mawr College Program in Film Studies.

Over the last decade, Cathy Lee Crane has committed herself to an ongoing experiment with the biographical film, cultivating a fictional form of biography that seeks to penetrate what late filmmaker Raul Ruiz described as the “subtle tissue of life”. Combining staged and archival material, Crane materially renders the spectral life of thought itself as a kind of poetry. These two films contend with the end of the lives of two radical polemicists from the 20th century whose social critiques were provoked into being by the political extremities of their times. Acknowledging that the past has an intimate relationship to the present, the films utililze the re-enactment as a function that seeks to make history a living presence. Through theatrical, or ritualized gesture, the present maintains its distance from the past while also evoking it.

Unoccupied Zone: The Impossible Life of Simone Weil
dir. Cathy Lee Crane, US, 2006, video, 45 mins, b/w

This portrait of French writer Simone Weil is not simply an account of her life, but rather the embodiment of her ideas. The “unoccupied zone” is therefore only marginally meant to refer to the southern part of France under Vichy. It is more importantly an existential labyrinth imaged by the film itself; a psychic space through which Weil passed while in exile in her own country from 1940-1941. Winner Best Narrative Film – University Film & Video Association Juried Screening (2006).

followed by
Pasolini’s Last Words
dir. Cathy Lee Crane, US, 2012, HD video, 60 mins, b/w and color

Known as one of Italy’s most important filmmakers, Pier Paolo Pasolini was first and foremost, one of its poets. This elegiac essay looks at Pasolini’s brutal murder in 1975 alongside the texts he published or left unfinished during the last year of his life.

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