Tag Archives: Susan Sontag

HELMUT NEWTON — THE BAD AND THE BEAUTIFUL

It’s great to be a provocateur. That’s what the world needs, this provocation. It stimulates thought and it stimulates ideas. It stimulates all kinds of conversations that don’t really have anything to do with the man himself. And who cares about the man himself? We’re looking at his art. — Charlotte Rampling

He was a little bit pervert, but so am I so it’s okay. — Grace Jones

I do consider myself a feminist, but I do consider the expression of machismo as an expression of a culture. Now, of course, Helmet wasn’t simply macho—it was more complicated than that—but he does look at a woman as a sexual object, and also an attraction and an anger toward herIt was actually extraordinary that Helmut was accepted by the industry because he was much more dangerous—much more ambiguous and frightening—than an Avedon or a Penn… Helmut photographed women the way Leni Riefenstahl photographed men. Isabella Rossellini

Susan Sontag: As a woman, I find your photos very misogynist. For me it’s very unpleasant.

Bernard Pivot: You find him unpleasant?

Sontag: Yes. Not the man, the work… I never thought the man would look like the work. To the contrary. Even if you live through your work, you can be nice. I don’t expect a person to look like their work. Especially when it’s about fantasies and dreams.

Helmut Newton: I love women. There is nothing I love more.

Sontag: A lot of misogynist men say that. I am not impressed.

Newton: I swear—

Sontag: I’m sorry, I don’t think this is the truth. There’s an objective truth. The master adores his slave. The executioner loves his victim. A lot of misogynist men say they love women, but show them in a humiliating way.

Helmut actually loved strong women. — Nadja Auermann

When you’re 20 years old, 1.80 meters tall with blonde hair, you feel like a hunted deer. And Helmut Newton’s pictures made me stronger. I controlled the situation. I wasn’t the deer. I was equal to the hunter. I could decide what to do. I think a lot of people misunderstood that. — Sylvia Gobbel

I was very shy; I’d just turned 17. There was never a moment where I felt uncomfortable. I was just an amazing experience where I walked away saying, “This man is incredible.” He had a sort of twinkle in his eye—nothing serious, everything understated and very witty… Definitely, when I look at the pictures, it’s not me. It’s his imagination… I love the fact that I can be this different, through his lens.— Claudia Schiffer

I think he was Weimar. That’s how I think of him—connected to Brecht and Weill and George Grosz, that wonderful period of German Expressionism—that was Helmut. — Marianne Faithfull

Berlin for him was the very best of the Weimar Republic. Everything is possible, everything is allowed… What he liked about me was my guttersnipe style. I was not the usual elegant glamorous woman, but rather I had a portion of originality that comes from the lower classes of society. I suppose he also really like the eroticism of maids… It’s related to this Berlin period. — Hanna Schygulla

I loved my parents, they were great—very different influence on me. My mother was a very spoiled woman and quite hysterical in many ways, but pretty wonderful. And she encouraged me very much to become a photographer. My father was horrified by the idea. “You take pictures on the weekend for a hobby, my boy. You’ll end up in the gutter, my boy.” He was right, I did. But I had a good time in the gutter. — Helmut Newton*

The aesthetic of Helmut Newton—whose era is more distant from us now than the inspirational Weimar years were to Newton’s 1970s heyday—still provokes and intrigues, even in our less frivolous times.

In the excellent new documentary feature HELMUT NEWTON—THE BAD AND THE BEAUTIFUL—now streaming on Kino Lorber’s Kino Marquee—filmmaker Gero von Boehm captures the great photographer’s obsession with the female form pushed to the edge of submission or absolute triumph.

HELMUT NEWTON—THE BAD AND THE BEAUTIFUL

Laemmle, Los Angeles.

Lumiere Cinema at the Music Hall, Los Angeles.

*Quotations and dialog from Gero von Boehm, Helmut Newton—The Bad and the Beautiful, courtesy of the filmmaker, Kino Lorber, and Nadja Auermann, Marianne Faithfull, Sylvia Gobbel, Grace Jones, Charlotte Rampling, Isabella Rossellini, Claudia Schiffer, and Hanna Schygulla. Susan Sontag segment originally from Apostrophes, 1979.

Helmut Newton, from top: Grace Jones and Dolph Lundgren, Los Angeles, 1985; Gero von Boehm, Helmut Newton—The Bad and the Beautiful (2020), still, Grace Jones; Grace Jones; Helmut Newton—The Bad and the Beautiful, still, Isabella Rossellini; David Lynch and Isabella Rossellini, Los Angeles, 1988; Faye Dunaway, 1987, Vanity Fair cover shoot; Charlotte Rampling, Arles, 1973; Paloma Picasso, St. Tropez, 1973; Elsa Peretti in Halston Bunny Costume, 1975; Newton in Berlin in the 1930s (2), shortly before leaving Germany; A Cure for a Black Eye, Jerry Hall, 1974; Alice Springs and Newton, Us and Them (Helmut and June Newton). Images courtesy and © the Helmut Newton Foundation, June Newton, Gero von Boehm, Lupa Film, and Kino Lorber.

SÁTÁNTANGÓ STREAM

The structure of SÁTÁNTANGÓ came from the novel… [which] we didn’t change. László Krasznahorkai wrote twelve chapters, six forward and six back, which is the structure of the tango. — Béla Tarr

SÁTÁNTANGÓ has a reputation for duration (long) and velocity (slow). Think of it as a suspended thriller playing out over several episodes.

For a limited time, Arbelos Films and the UCLA Film & Television Archive are presenting the opportunity to watch the seven-hour film at your leisure—over a 72-hour period.

Devastating, enthralling for every minute of its seven hours. I’d be glad to see it every year for the rest of my life. — Susan Sontag on SÁTÁNTANGÓ

See link below for details.

UCLA Film & Television Archive presents

SÁTÁNTANGÓ

Béla Tarr, Sántátangó (1994). Images courtesy and © the filmmaker and Arbelos Films.

SUSAN SONTAG — FROM THE ARCHIVE

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 for Cannibals*

On Friday, two UCLA institutions—the Film and Television Archive and the Library Special Collections—will screen the 2K restoration of Susan Sontag’s directorial debut DUET FOR CANNIBALS and present a selection of the Susan Sontag Papers.

DUET FOR CANNIBALS

Friday, February 7, at 7:30 pm.

Billy Wilder Theater—Hammer Museum

10899 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles.

*Agneta Ekmanner, author’s interview in Benjamin Moser, Sontag: Her Life and Work (New York: Ecco, 2019), 313.

See “Benjamin Moser’s Pulitzer Prize for Biography is a Travesty,” by Nádia Gotlib, Lisa Paddock, Carl Rollyson, and Magdalena Edwards.

From top: Susan Sontag, photograph by Jill Krementz, 1974; Sontag, Duet for Cannibals (1969) (4). Images courtesy and © Jill Krementz, the filmmakers, actors, producers, stills photographers, and Metrograph Pictures.

SUSAN SONTAG — DUET FOR CANNIBALS

I don’t feel this film is necessary. This film exists because I always wanted to make films.Susan Sontag, 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 FOR CANNIBALS, 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.

DUET FOR CANNIBALS

Through November 28.

Metrograph

7 Ludlow Street, New York City.

From top: Susan Sontag on the set of her film Duett för kannibaler (Duet for Cannibals, 1969), courtesy and © Grove Press / Photofest; Gost Ekman (left) and Agneta Ekmanner; cover of the Noonday publication of the screenplay, courtesy and © the publisher; Swedish film poster; Adriana Asti and Ekman (2). Images courtesy and © the artists, their estates, Evergreen Film, and Metrograph Pictures.

THE DAY AT ROYCE HALL

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 David Lang, 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.

THE DAY

Friday and Saturday, October 18 and 19, at 8 pm.

Royce Hall, UCLA

10745 Dickson Court, Los Angeles.

*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.

The Day, Maya Beiser, Wendy Whelan, David Lang, Lucinda Childs: Beiser and Whelan in performance, photographs by Nils Schlebusch. Images courtesy and © the artists, the photographer, and CAP UCLA.