We felt that this was very exciting. That this film could be something very new. But we couldn’t judge. Because the script didn’t say so much. —Agneta Ekmanner, actor in Duet forCannibals*
On Friday, two UCLA institutions—the Film and Television Archive and the Library SpecialCollections—will screen the 2K restoration of Susan Sontag’s directorial debut DUET FORCANNIBALS and present a selection of the Susan Sontag Papers.
I don’t feel this film is necessary. This film exists because I always wanted to make films. — SusanSontag, to Jonas Mekas
In 1968—after her trip to Hanoi and a year before the publication of her second essay collection, Styles of Radical Will—Sontag went to Sweden to make her first film. DUET FORCANNIBALS, which premiered at the 1969 New York Film Festival, has been restored by Metrograph Pictures and is playing at its Manhattan cinema.
The film is in Swedish—with subtitles by its director—and stars Adriana Asti, Lars Ekborg, Gösta Ekman, and Agneta Ekmanner.
THE DAY—a performative investigation of the diurnal rhythms of life and what comes after—is a superlative collaboration between avant-garde cellist Maya Beiser (who conceived the work), dancer Wendy Whelan, composer DavidLang, and legendary choreographer Lucinda Childs.
When [Childs started] choreographing dances, in 1968, it was with the predilection for keeping the movement vocabulary relatively simple, seeking complexity elsewhere—in the intricate design of spatial forms and in timing. But in the music-based works choreographed since 1979, which propose a much more complex movement vocabulary, Childs has broken radically with the anti-ballet aesthetic of the other ex- or neo-Duchampian choreographers with whom she has been grouped.
Of all the adepts of the rigorously modern among contemporary choreographers, she has the subtlest and most fastidious relation to classical dance… Childs does not feed balletic movements and positions into an eclectic mix but wholly transforms and reinterprets them. In this, as in other matters, she is adamantly anti-collage. — Susan Sontag*
THE DAY was commissioned by Théâtre de la Ville in Paris, Carolina Performing Arts at the University of North Carolina, Jacob’s Pillow, the Joyce Theater, and CAP UCLA, and will be performed by Beiser and Whelan twice this weekend at Royce Hall.
*Susan Sontag, “A Lexicon for Available Light,” Art in America, December 1983. Collected in Where the Stress Falls (New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2001). Reprinted in Susan Sontag:Later Essays (New York: Library of America, 2017), 364–379.
REVERIES—an exhibition of work by the highly influential photographer and filmmaker JamesBidgood (try imagining Pierre et Gilles or David LaChapelle without him)—will be up for two more weeks at the Museum of Sex in Manhattan. The show was curated by Lissa Rivera and the artistic director was Serge Becker.
Bidgood’s work is so self-contained that it appears to exist outside of time. Historical referents and views of exteriors hardly impinge at all on his visual world; and yet Bidgood was very much a man of his era. He contributed lush color photographs to magazines such as Muscleboy and The YoungPhysique during their vogue in the early 1960s. He began work on PINK NARCISSUS in 1963. That year, Jack Smith finished FlamingCreatures and shot Normal Love, Andy Warhol began making films, and Kenneth Anger directed Scorpio Rising; the following year Susan Sontag would publish “Notes on ‘Camp.’ ”
As the ’60s were happening outside his door, Bidgood was shooting mainly inside, in his cramped Hell’s Kitchen apartment, constantly augmenting and revising his elaborate sets and compositions to approximate the baroque ideal he envisioned. — William E. Jones