MODEL SHOP opens on a rough patch of Venice Beach in decay—an ambience its director maintains throughout this essential glimpse of untethered lives and anomie at the end of the sixties.
The first and last American film directed by Jacques Demy, MODEL SHOP stars Gary Lockwood and Anouk Aimée as two Los Angeles drifters. Agnès Varda made the trip over from France with Demy to scout locations for her own California story, Lions Love (… and Lies).
“QUEENOF DIAMONDS is my very personal portrait of the United States: an over-enlarged, profit-motivated core surrounded by mute and arid alienation. The female protagonist is both deeply estranged and psychically powerful. Her loner position is the backside of centuries of Western Heroes: she stands in the center as watcher and victim of a system which is starting to crack.” — Nina Menkes
The UCLA Film and Television program Nina Menkes, Cinematic Sorceress features a double-bill of two of Menkes’ key works—both starring her sister Tinka Menkes—including the 4K restoration of QUEEN OF DIAMONDS (1991). The filmmaker will be on hand to discuss her work.
“QUEEN OF DIAMONDS shares not only the formal sophistication and structural rigor of BarbaraLoden’s Wanda (1970) and Chantal Akerman’s Jeanne Dielman (1975) but also their themes: female alienation and the ways that passivity, muteness, and a refusal to engage can serve as forms of resistance to patriarchal oppression. Ironically, these same themes helped to eclipse the three works—and many others like them—for too long.” — Sarah Resnick
“Sylvia’s best friends are her boyfriends. They’re always handsome, young, and unemployed. They follow her. Sylvia doesn’t follow anybody.
“The most famous thing Sylvia ever did was throw a plate of spaghetti, brie cheese, and salad on John Simon’s head. She was furious at him for calling her ‘a party girl and gate crasher’ in one of his reviews. She said, ‘Take that! Now you can call me a plate crasher too!’
“Sylvia never crashes parties, but she is a party girl. During the 1977 Democratic primary in New York a reporter asked Sylvia how she could go to a Bella Abzug fundraiser one night and a Mario Cuomo fundraiser the next. Sylvia replied, ‘I’m not for any candidate. I’m for the party.’
“Sylvia goes to at least three parties a night. One for cocktails, one for dinner, and one for dessert. One night she arrived at her dessert party and a big black waiter asked her if she’d like a cup of coffee. Sylvia said yes and the waiter asked, ‘How do you take your coffee, Miss Miles?’
” ‘I like my coffee the way I like my men,’ said Sylvia, eyeing the waiter up and down.
” ‘I’m sorry, Miss Miles,’ the waiter said, ‘But we don’t have any gay coffee.’ ” — Andy Warhol*
Sylvia Miles, who died on June 12, costarred with Joe Dallesandro in Andy Warhol’s Heat, and was nominated for Best Supporting Actress twice: for seven minutes of work in MidnightCowboy (1969), and five minutes of work in Farewell, My Lovely (1975).
*Andy Warhol’s Exposures, edited by Bob Colacello (New York: Grosset & Dunlap, 1979), 176.
From top: Sylvia Miles and Joe Dallesandro, publicity still for Andy Warhol’s Heat; Miles and Tennessee Williams; Vieux Carré poster for London production; Miles and Dallesandro on set, Heat; Warhol (left), Miles, Geneviève Waïte, and Bob Colacello, 1974, photograph by William E.Sauro; Miles and Dallesandro in Heat.
“A trio of musicians desert their sincere but ultimately uninspired creative endeavors after answering an inexplicable call to action by time-traveling revolutionaries. What unravels is a provocatively efficient assassination plot that reveals the status of the artist for what it is, a particle embedded within some of the sustained injustices of our time: wanton surveillance, drone warfare, toxic masculinity within libertarian ranks, and the enduring inaccessibility to a secure sense of culture, place, and identity by displaced populations living in the United States.
“With the intention of creating a science fiction film set one week into the future, EMPTYMETAL is an unselfconscious projection of the furthest political imagination stretched and shared by its directors.”*
LACMA‘s one-night-only presentation of EMPTY METAL—directed by Bayley Sweitzer and 2019Whitney Biennial artist Adam Khalil—is co-presented with The Autry Museum of the AmericanWest, which will screen Khalil’s INAATE/SE/ on Friday, June 7, at The Autry.
“In politics, you’re either a terrorist or a freedom fighter… [With EMPTY METAL, we attempted to] create a Trojan horse for ideas of insurrection.” — Adam Khalil, at LACMA