To commemorate two of the great pioneers in women’s films—Agnès VARDA and Barbara HAMMER, who sadly passed away this spring - SIWFF will hold memorial screenings for audiences to revisit the works of these icons of cinema. Born in Belgium in 1928, Agnès VARDA went to school in France and started her career as a photographer. She made her first film La Pointe-Courte in 1954, and continued her filmmaking career as a member of the French New Wave. She made films whose main characters were women and depicted the lives and concerns of women, an approach that was very rare and unconventional for the time. She became a pioneer of feminist filmmaking, delivering women’s stories from a woman’s perspective. From her first film to her posthumous work, she has shown a unique world of freedom and vitality, crossing various genres and forms. This special screening presents her first feature, La Pointe-Courte; a delicate and delightful depiction of death in Cleo from 5 to 7 (1961); a heart-warming friendship of two women involving the struggle for abortion rights in France in One Sings, The Other Doesn’t (1975); an unprecedented description of fierce woman in Vagabond (1985); and a great masterclass and the director’s last gift to her fans in Varda by Agnes (2019). Her short film collection includes Elsa La Rose (1965), about French writer Elsa TRIOLET who was also the wife of Louis ARAGON; Uncle Yanco (1967), a depiction of her uncle who is an unknown painter living in a boat house; Black Panthers (1968) about the Black Panthers Party in the US in the 1960s; and Women’s Answer (1975) which is a strong and beautiful testimony of woman’s body and sex.
Born in the US in 1939, Barbara HAMMER realized her lesbian identity when she became 30 years old and started exploring lesbian identity and sexuality within her experimental video works. Her major themes are women, lesbian feminism, art, history, and media. Through a number of short and feature films, she discovered the hidden or forgotten history of lesbians, reflected the media critically, examined the lives and works of women and lesbian artists, and performed media experiments. SIWFF presents her well-known works including Nitrate Kisses (1992) about lesbian and gay history; Dyketactics (1974), Women I love (1976), and Double Strength (1978), a collection of three shorts which were introduced as a lesbian erotica series; Resisting Paradise (2003), a story of Henri MATISSE, Pierre BONNARD, and Walter BENJAMIN who stayed in the South of France during World War II; Cleansed II(1969), an early film shot on Super8 camera; Sisters! (1973), a record of American feminists and lesbians from the first International Women’s Day march in San Francisco; Welcome to This House (2015), a documentary on the homes and lovers of American poet and Pulitzer prize winner Elizabeth BISHOP; and Evidentiary Bodies (2018), a sensual and emotional exploration of the body and face which would be one of her most frequent subjects.
KWON Eunhye / Programmer