Fuses, with The Bed and Fly

Part of A Tribute to Amos Vogel and Film as a Subversive Art
Saturday, March 23, 2013, 6:00 p.m.

Dir. Carolee Schneemann. 1967, 22 mins. New digital restoration. Drawing on documentary footage of her and her lover’s love-making, it builds a strongly poetic texture of feeling and experience by subjecting the film strip to the most violent experimentation (soaking it in acids and dyes; baking, painting, and scratching it) and dissolving narrative continuity into a continuum of non-sequential, polymorphous, and strongly “pornographic” imagery. Nevertheless, as Gene Youngblood observes in his Expanded Cinema: “This is a home, not a whorehouse” and the filmmaker’s sensitivity and authenticity never let us forget it.

Preceded by:
The Bed
Dir. James Broughton. 1968, 20 mins. 16mm. With Florence Allen, Gavin Arthur, Imogen Cunningham. The entire cast of this delightful, wise manifesto of counter-cultural sensibility performs in the nude. An ornate bed, magically located in a meadow, provides, as always, the stage for man’s most significant moments; birth, sex, death. While even avant-garde nudity seems often to betray an absence of joyful or uncomplicated sex, The Bed displays a smiling, polymorphously perverse eroticism.

Dir. Yoko Ono. 1970, 25 mins. 16mm. With Virginia Lust. A hypnotic juxtaposition of predatory insect and beautiful body, with neither party performing according to rules, thereby disrupting the reality game. For 25 minutes we see a very pretty girl, deeply asleep, over whose nude body creeps a diligent fly that never takes off but explores her fully, including pubic hair and sex. The film is almost entirely in close-up, with nipples appearing as mountain tops, the fly as climber, the girl’s body as the fly’s universe.

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