This sort of inchoate desire, or desire that doesn’t have an object, is interesting to me, because I think it’s so much a dimension of what it is to be an ambitious woman. Because, for every other moment in human history, [that ambition] had nowhere to go… I knew I could not do the ending [of LITTLE WOMEN] just as the book did—especially because LouisaMay Alcott didn’t really want to end it that way… and if we can’t give her an ending she would like, 150 years later, then what have we done? We’ve made no progress. — Greta Gerwig
Gerwig’s LITTLE WOMEN—a complete artistic success and Noah Baumbach’s favorite film of the year—is here.
On January 3, Gerwig, Saoirse Ronan, and the American Cinematheque present a double-feature screening of LITTLEWOMEN and LADY BIRD at the Egyptian Theatre, with a between-film conversation.
I live in a world now where everything is “delegated” to photography. Nothing is left to memory, your own memory. What I’m interested in, instead, are things that can’t be seen, not those that can be… I have always labored under the illusion—but I also think it was true—that nobody ever photographed me. Because my face is not for sale. The real me is not photographable. — Benedetta Barzini, to Beniamino Barrese
Beniamino Barrese is the son of Benedetta Barzini—the first Italian model to appear on the cover of American Vogue—and his mother’s obsessive interlocutor throughout his documentary THE DISAPPEARANCE OF MYMOTHER, one of the year’s best.
Summoned by Diana Vreeland in the mid-1960s to come to New York for a few weeks, Barzini stayed for a few years, a sought-after subject of Richard Avedon, Bert Stern, and Andy Warhol, a confident of Gerard Malanga and Salvador Dalí, and an acquaintance of Marcel Duchamp.
Barzini was a double-rebel. Modeling in Manhattan put a necessary distance between Barzini and her parents—heiress Giannalisa Feltrinelli and writer Luigi Barzini, Jr., author of TheItalians. But the trajectory of second-wave feminism in the 1970s opened Barzini’s eyes to the ornamental condition of women, and she returned to Italy and became an activist and left-wing academic.
I asked myself this question: Why do we have prototypes of beauty? Why are models at the bow of the ship and the other women are squashed together into the stern? Why? Because men invent women… Maybe it would be better if female bodies disappeared from men’s imaginations. — BenedettaBarzini
Barzani explains to her son that the camera is a dangerous liar because within its capture of arbitrary moments, it “freezes” life “within a limited boundary,” contaminating thought and inscribing conformity. “I don’t like frozen things… I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but there are a hundred million photos of sunsets. Frankly, they’re all the same. But they weren’t the same when you saw them.”
Barzini is by turns loving and exasperated with her son and his never-ending investment in images and their documentation. Yet Barzini still models herself—recently appearing in SimoneRocha‘s Fall-Winter 2017 show in London. Nothing if not contradictory, Barzini wants to remove herself from a world she finds deplorable, railing against ambiguity yet unsure which entrance to the void she should walk through. She explains to Barresethat their work together on this film is an act of “separation.” The filmmaker sees it differently, and together they find a sense of an ending.
Lee Chang-dong was in town last month for celebratory, sold-out screenings of BURNING, his trenchant epic of dislocation and revenge—and the writer-director’s first film in eight years.
Greatly expanding on his original source material—Haruki Murakami’s ambiguous short story “Barn Burning”—Lee told an enthusiastic American Cinematheque crowd that “no matter what your age, race, class, or gender, a sense of rage is permeating the world today.” To frame this phenomenon, Lee has drawn from another tale of rage, William Faulkner’s story that shares a title with Murakami’s.
The exponent of the filmmaker’s concerns is Jong-su—an aimless, unpublished writer played with soulful veracity by Ah-in Yoo—who quickly attempts to establish a relationship with Haemi (Jong-seo Jun), a childhood acquaintance he runs into during one of his dead-end delivery jobs.
Added to the mix is a Delonesque character Ben (Steven Yeun)—rich and idle but for his habit of burning greenhouses—who insinuates himself into Jong-su and Haemi’s lives to deleterious effect.
(Indeed, a creeping shadow of Antonioni hangs over Lee’s film, and the performative mysteries of ethnic appropriation in La Notte and L’Eclisse are slyly referenced in BURNING’s masterful mise en scène.)
On the occasion of JULIAN ROSEFELDT—MANIFESTO—, the West Coast premiere of the work as a 13-channel film installation, Cate Blanchett and CAP UCLA director Kristy Edmunds will join the artist in conversation.
Drawing on the writings of Futurists, Dadaists, Fluxus artists, Suprematists, Situationists, and Dogme 95—including Yvonne Rainer, Claes Oldenburg, Wyndham Lewis, Kazimir Malevich, André Breton, Kurt Schwitters, Elaine Sturtevant, Sol LeWitt, and WernerHerzog—Rosefeldt directed Blanchett through her investigation of thirteen different personas, “from a factory worker to a television news anchor to a homeless man, performing various historical artists’ manifestos.
“The work pays homage to the long tradition and literary beauty of public statements made by artists, and serves to provoke reflection upon the role of the artist as an active citizen in society today.”*