Tag Archives: House of Science

Nature, Witchcraft and Science / Ethnographic Museum, Zurich

https://www.musethno.uzh.ch/en/events.html?event=58814

Thursday, 2 May 2024, 1:00 PM until 2:30 PM

The Witch
Film by George Méliès, 1906, 12’; silent movie

The House of Science: A Museum of False Facts
Film by Lynn Sachs, 1991, 30’; language: English; English subtitles

In collaboration with multimedia artists Lourenço Soares and Paulo Wirz, two short films will be screened – interspersed with video art pieces – that focus on the very anthropological topics of nature, witchcraft and science. Both films explore the intersection of reality and illusion: Méliès through the lens of early cinema’s fascination with magic and spectacle, and Sachs through a postmodern interrogation of scientific truth and narrative construction. The screening of these thought-provoking films will be followed by a brief discussion.

Tribute to Lynne Sachs: Memorial Work with Winnie the Pooh / Tagesspiegel

Tribute to Lynne Sachs: Memorial Work with Winnie the Pooh
Tagesspiegel
by Jan-­Philipp Kohlmann
April 29, 2023
https://www.tagesspiegel.de/kultur/eine-hommage-an-lynne-sachs-erinnerungsarbeit-mit-winnie-puh-9734297.html

Tribute to Lynne Sachs
Memorial work with Winnie the Pooh

by Jan­-Philipp Kohlmann

The Oberhausen International Short Film Festival honors the feminist filmmaker and poet Lynne Sachs whose work questions the relationship between the body and the environment.

In 1998, the experimental filmmaker Barbara Hammer spends lonesome weeks in a dune shack in Cape Cod, a picturesque peninsula in southern Massachusetts. She keeps a diary and shoots playful 16mm footage of insects, grass and plastic bags in the wind – sometimes with a color filter, sometimes with the shower head running in front of the camera.

Twenty years later, when Hammer was sorting her estate, she left the material to her friend Lynne Sachs for the short film “A Month of Single Frames”. The film reflects the former filmmaker‘s attempts to inscribe her own presence with the camera onto the images of the landscape. As part of the Lynne Sachs retrospective at the 69th Oberhausen International Short Film Festival, this film now seems like a perfect introduction to her work: “A Month of Single Frames” is a homage to the influential colleague, who died in 2019 when the film was released, and at the same time sums up Sachs’s collaborative approach to filmmaking in a nutshell.

“Body of the Body, Body of the Mind”

“We’re not striving for perfection, and we will never replicate reality,” says Sachs about her own and Barbara Hammer’s cinematic ideas in an interview, shortly before she heads to the airport on her way to Germany for the festival. “Instead, we’re constantly looking for a way to present a subjectivity in relationship to reality.”

“A Month of Single Frames” won the Grand Prix of the City of Oberhausen in 2020, when the festival was one of the first to take place online due to the pandemic. This year, twelve intelligent and idiosyncratic short films by Sachs, created between 1986 and 2021, can be discovered in the Oberhausen program “Body of the Body, Body of the Mind”, curated by Cíntia Gil. The retrospective includes Sachs’s early feminist experimental films, several documentary essays from the series “I Am Not a War Photographer” and more recent works that deal with the problem of translation, among other things.

Found Footage Films and Fragmentary Essays

The latter include “The Task of the Translator” (2010), inspired by Walter Benjamin, as well as “Starfish Aorta Colossus” (2015), a film adaptation of a poem by the Filipino-American writer Paolo Javier. In addition, Sachs’s latest film “Swerve”, also a collaboration with Javier, is screened in the festival’s International Competition.

The Brooklyn-based director and poet, born in 1961 in Memphis, Tennessee, willingly references the influence of other artists on her work and relies on close collaborations. Rather than claiming individualist authorship, in our interview, Sachs mentions numerous people from her student years in San Francisco who influenced, trained, or worked with her, thus shaping her own aesthetics.

Her mentions include two especially formative figures in experimental filmmaking: the conceptual artist Bruce Conner, who introduced Sachs to working with found footage in an essayistic fashion; and the filmmaker and cultural studies scholar Trinh T. Minh-ha. With Minh-ha, Sachs shares the conviction of making one’s own position visible, most notably in documentary films set in different communities or cultural environments.

A specific technical aspect adapted from Minh-ha, Sachs explains, is to not use zoom lenses when shooting, making sure she has to approach the people in front of the camera and introduce herself. A film like “Which Way Is East: Notebooks from Vietnam” from 1994, for example, is therefore not an ethnographic travelogue, but a fragmentary sketch in which poetic impressions of everyday life, Vietnamese idioms and her own memories of US television reports on the Vietnam War stand side by side.

Another essay film, “The House of Science: a museum of false facts” can be regarded as the feminist core of the Oberhausen program. Sachs first presented the film in 1991, at her first trip to Oberhausen, and it’s only fitting that the retrospective’s title features a quote from it. A collage of patriarchal attributions about women’s bodies, “The House of Science” re-contextualizes educational films about menstruation, scenes from feature films, historical writings about the body features of sex workers and Sachs’s own diary entries about a consultation hour at a male doctor’s office.

Created under the impression of the theoretical writings on écriture féminine, this found footage masterpiece is much more than a document of early 1990s feminist zeitgeist. Sachs herself is convinced that contemporary feminist debates can tie in with “The House of Science”: “The film isn’t exclusively relevant for what we now call cis women, but it’s about inhabiting the feminine. I think it speaks about femininity in a more fluid sense.”

A Commemoration With Winnie the Pooh

For Sachs, personal documents – diary entries, home movies – are often the starting point for a cinematic search for clues. “The Last Happy Day” is the best and at the same time most curious example of this approach: when her younger brother, the fiction film director Ira Sachs (who presented “Passages” at this year’s Berlinale), appeared as Winnie the Pooh in a children’s play in the late 1970s, the Sachs siblings learned of the existence of a distant relative named Sándor Lénárd.

Sachs’s 2009 film chronicles the life of the Budapest-born Jewish doctor and writer, who escaped from Nazi persecution in Austria, worked for the US Army in Italy, and eventually completed a stunningly successful Latin translation of “Winnie the Pooh” in Brazil. With her own children and their friends as “Winnie the Pooh” performers in front of the camera, Sachs brings the unknown relative back into the family, adapting her collective approach not only to filmmaking, but also to a moving work of remembrance.

Lynne Sachs in Oberhausen

The 69th Oberhausen International Short Film Festival dedicates the three-part retrospective “Body of the Body, Body of the Mind” with a total of 12 films to the US director Lynne Sachs. The programs run on April 30th in the Gloria Cinema and on May 1st in the Lichtburg Cinema. In addition, her current short film ”Swerve” is presented in the International Competition of the festival. Twelve films by Lynne Sachs are available online on the platform of Doc Alliance (dafilms.com), the network of seven European documentary film festivals (1.50 to 2.50 euros per streaming).

Body of the Body, Body of the Mind by Cíntia Gil / 69th International Short Film Festival Oberhausen

BODY OF THE BODY, BODY OF THE MIND
Lynne Sachs Artist Profile
April 26 – May 1, 2023
69th International Short Film Festival Oberhausen
Curator: Cíntia Gil

Program notes by Cíntia Gil:

The title of this retrospective quotes Lynne Sachs in her 1991 film “The House of Science: a museum of false facts”. It speaks of a zone of experimentation that crosses Sachs’ work and grounds filmmaking as a practice of dislocating words, gestures and modes of being into open ontologies. What can be a woman, a word, a color, a shade, a line, a rule or an object? The negotiation between the body of the body and the body of the mind is another way of saying that things exist both as affections and as processes of meaning, and that filmmaking is the art of not choosing sides in that equation. That is why Sachs’ work is inseparable from the events of life, while being resolutely non-biographical. It is a circular, dynamic practice of translation and reconnection of what appears to be separated.

There are many ways of approaching Lynne Sachs’ full body of work, and many different programmes would have been possible for this retrospective. Films resonate among each other. Like threads, themes link different times. Repetition and transformation are a constant obsession in the way images, places, people and ideas are revisited. While looking for an angle for this programme, I tried to look at some of the threads that seem to me the most constant, even if sometimes subterraneous, throughout the films. The three programmes are not systematically bound by themes or built around typologies. There are three different doors to the same arena where body (and the ‘in-between’ bodies) is the main ‘topos’: translation, collaboration, and inseparability of the affective and the political. Yet, none of these terms seems to truly speak of what’s at stake here.

Lynne Sachs knows about the disequilibrium that happens between words and concepts, and about the difference between the synchronicity of life and the linearity of discourse. She also knows that words can be both symptoms and demiurgic actors. That is maybe why she writes poems, and why this programme was inspired by her book, “Year By Year Poems”[1].

1975 [girls with fast lane dreams]

Teachers push us to the precipice –

trick us with conundrums we mistake for algorithms

catch us in a maelstrom of dizzying numbers.

Searching for the exit door

I discover quick methods for finding north –

solace in the gravitational pull of geography

and head for the first opening from a school

with too many ambitions

penalty points

and girls with fast-lane dreams.

Talking about the making of “Which Way is East”, Lynne Sachs said: “the most interesting films are the ones that ask us to think about perception, that don’t just introduce new material.”[2]. Both Lynne Sachs and her sister Dana, a writer, lived the Vietnam War through television – a middle-class childhood sometimes haunted by images of that war that seemed both far away and fundamental to their generation. When Dana moved to Vietnam in the early 1990s, Lynne visited for a month, and they made a film. The film begins with a sequence of movement shots, colors, fleeting forms, interrupted by a popular Vietnamese saying about a frog and the horizon. Three layers come together, predicting one of the strongest traits of Lynne’s work: the world seen through the rhythm of a moving body, and the dialogue between different modes of feeling and thinking. [Lynne’s childhood Vietnam War images were black and white, upside down; the Vietnam landscape in 1991 is crossed on a motorbike, and nature is motion and strangeness; “a frog sitting on the bottom of a well, thinks the whole sky is only as big as the lid of a pot”.]

A travelog in Vietnam became a dialogue of perceptive discoveries, glimpses of meaning and, most importantly, of the many ways of being just here and now, together, facing abysses that should not eat us alive. How to not be eaten alive by life’s infinite and sublime abysses?

Girls with fast-lane dreams is another way of referring to an impulse for joy.

Girls looking at girls, girls playing with girls, Lynne Sachs and Barbara Hammer collaborating on an impossible film. How to work on beauty, without monumentalizing it? How to work on death without freezing the life within? A kid once told me: “you have to pass it through the inside, and let it out through your smart eye”. Is that translation? Isn’t “A Month of Single Frames” the translation of a place and a body, the conditions of light seen through embodied solitude?

There is some kind of radical positioning of Lynne Sachs’ gaze (gaze is a pace and a gesture, and that is its politics): allowing things to unfold as they are, knowing that it is the very act of filming them that constitutes their becoming. Noa becomes play with light. Maya becomes time and unsurmountable individuality. Central Park becomes a porous membrane for the circulation between a musical movement and the event of an emotional form.

1997 [Another baby girl drops down]

(for my daughter, Noa)

Again, nine full moons leave bare

the dust against the sky.

Air fills up with brightness.

Another baby girl drops down.

Dice on a betting table

or rich, ripe fruit atop worn grass.

The political comes forward when things are dislocated from their assigned places, becoming eloquent. When a field of possibilities is problematized by different temporalities, different meanings attach to the same words. New symptoms (not symbols) emerge from the same myths. To the territorialization of body, Lynne Sachs responds with the unspeakable layers of desire, underpinning the history of the body. To the typification of identity, cinema responds with the history of gesture.

Feminism in Lynne Sachs’ work comes from an obsession with ontological fluidity – women as possibilities, bringing with them the memory of what has not been captured by politics, the promise of kinder political places. Such invention requires the deconstruction of the gaze, the transformation of language through the power of a thinking (collective) body. Collective as in-between, in circulation, in transition with others: the Lilliths who may or not become mothers in “A Biography of Lillith”, the enfolding body in “Drawn and Quartered”, the collage that renders old measures useless in “The House of Science: a museum of false facts”.

Materiality is a key aspect in this cinema, it sustains the emergence of a filmic gesture. The presence of things in their most concrete form, be it a birth, a hand helping to translate an idea, a splash of light on a face, the astonishment of a baby in front of a camera. Things occupy a certain space, move in a certain way, and their sensuality is never sublimated or forced into metaphors. It is their material presence that saves them from their assigned roles and chains of meaning, revealing their vitality as a principle for a political imagination.

“Incendiary, but not arson.”[3]

2009 [scars     muscles    curves of the spine]

I hold the mirror just inches away and look

shy

detached

brave

I touch myself with knowledge

Scars muscles curves of the spine

I trace a path across my chest

searching for surprises I’d rather not find –

knots in the fabric

Translation comes, then, as a movement between transmitted memory, embodied experience, affective vocabulary and the never-accomplished labor of form. Nothing stays determined within a field of possibilities, but the field itself is in a constant motion, resignifying every aspect, reconnecting every moment in time, every glimpse of an image.  The work done around Sandor Lenard, a distant cousin, seems key to consider her full body of work. “The Task of the Translator”, presents three movements, three ways of looking for the body. It starts with the reassemblage of bones of dead American soldiers during WWII by Sandor Lenard, in a sequence that will come back in “The Last Happy Days”. Here, translation is both an effort to make sense of the materiality of time and history, and a question about the translatability of such. Like in “Which Way is East”, how can history be translated through the gestures of the present, of the living? Is the way the past escapes linearity and expresses its vitality?

The second movement in “The Task” shows a group of scholars translating an article on Iraqi burial rituals into Latin. Tentative words and articulations around a table, hands helping meaning through gestures. Is Latin a dead language? Sandor Lenard, after moving to Brazil, translated Winnie the Pooh into Latin. What paradox lies in the gesture of translating a children’s story into a dead language? Translation is a game of materiality, of dislocating the world into another regime of forms and movements. Allowing language to pass through the materiality of the present time. In “The Last Happy Day”, children tell the story of Sandor Lenard while rehearsing Winnie the Pooh. Translatability through bodies and gestures, vitality: one does not simply look at the past, but rather invents a dialogue of embodied time. In “The Task of the Translator”, suddenly the camera leaves the scholars and focuses on the drops of rain on a foggy window, and on the gestures of a hand, before we start hearing radio news about human remains after an attack.

Translation keeps all things alive at the same time – even the matter of death.


Cíntia Gil

Born in Portugal, Cíntia Gil studied at the Escola Superior de Teatro e Cinema (Lisbon Theatre and Film School) and holds a degree in Philosophy from the Faculdade de Letras da Universidade do Porto (Faculty of Arts and Humanities at the University of Porto). From 2012 to 2019, Cíntia Gil served as co-director and then director of Doclisboa – International Film Festival. From 2019 to 2021 she has directed Sheffield DocFest in England. In 2022, Cíntia started the programme of screenings and study groups “Artistic Differences”, at UnionDocs (NY), as a co-curator together with Jenny Miller and Christopher Allen. She is part of the programming team of Cannes Directors Fortnight.

Gil has curated a variety of contemporary and historical film series, retrospectives and exhibitions, besides publishing articles in various publications. In addition, she has taught seminars, lectures and workshop  in different institutions (Centro de Capacitación Cinematográfica in Mexico, EICTV in Cuba, HGK Karlsruhe University of Arts and Design in Germany among others), and she is a project tutor for the Master on Creative Documentary at the Pompeu Fabra University . She has also served on juries in international film festivals, such as Berlinale, Cairo Film Festival, Mar del Plata, Jerusalem Film Festival, Torino Film Festival, London Film Festival, IDFA, Taipei IDF, FidMarseille, Seville European Film Festival, DokuFest, Ficunam, DocsNYC, Guadalajara, among many others. She has been a member of the executive Board of Apordoc – Associação pelo Documentário, the Portuguese documentary film association since 2015.


[1] Lynne Sachs, “Year by Year Poems”, Tender Buttons Press, NY, 2019

[2] “Observe and Subvert”, interview by Inney Prakash for Metrograph, December 2021

[3] In “The House of Science: a museum of false facts”.

Artistic Differences: Body of the Body, Body of the Mind / Union Docs curated by Cíntia Gil

Artistic Differences: Body of the Body, Body of the Mind
Union Docs
April 15, 2023
https://uniondocs.org/event/artistic-differences-body-of-the-body-body-of-the-mind/

Apr 15, 2023 at 3:00 pm

Artistic Differences:
BODY OF THE BODY, BODY OF THE MIND

This program is part of Artistic Differences with Internationale Kurzfilmtage Oberhausen

ARTISTIC DIFFERENCES is back with Internationale Kurzfilmtage Oberhausen this April to present BODY OF THE BODY, BODY OF THE MIND.

Co-curator Cíntia Gil has assembled a mini-retrospective at this year’s festival on one of our longtime collaborators, the beloved and brilliant Lynne Sachs.  We’re delighted to focus on one of these three programs for an upcoming Study Group on April 15th from noon-2:30PM Est.

The title of this retrospective and program quotes Lynne Sachs in her 1991 film The House of Science: A Museum of False Facts. It speaks of a zone of experimentation that crosses Sachs’ work and grounds filmmaking as a practice of dislocating words, gestures and modes of being into open ontologies. What can be a woman, a word, a color, a shade, a line, a rule or an object? The negotiation between the body of the body and the body of the mind is another way of saying that things exist both as affections and as processes of meaning, and that filmmaking is the art of not choosing sides in that equation. That is why Sachs’ work is inseparable from the events of life, while being resolutely non-biographical. It is a circular, dynamic practice of translation and reconnection of what appears to be separated.

There are many ways of approaching Lynne Sachs’ full body of work, and many different programmes would have been possible for this retrospective. Films resonate among each other. Like threads, themes link different times. Repetition and transformation are a constant obsession in the way images, places, people and ideas are revisited. While looking for an angle for this programme, we tried to look at some of the lines that seem to us the most constant, even if sometimes subterraneous, throughout the films. The three programmes are not systematically bounding themes and building typologies. They are three different doors to the same arena where body (and the ‘in-between’ bodies) is the main ‘topos’: translation, collaboration, and inseparability of the affective and the political. Yet, none of these terms seems to truly speak of what’s at stake here. 

Lynne Sachs knows about the impotency problem of words and concepts, about the difference between the synchronicity of life and the linearity of discourse. She also knows that words can be both symptoms and demiurgic actors. That is maybe why she wrote poems, and that is why this programme was inspired by her book, “Year By Year Poems”.

Sign up for the Study Group to join this dialogue and ever-growing international community!


FILM PROGRAM

The House of Science: A Museum of False Facts by Lynne Sachs
30 min | 16mm | Color | 1991
Combining home movies, personal remembrances, staged scenes and found footage into an intricate visual and aural collage, the film explores the representation of women and the construction of the feminine otherness. A girl’s sometimes difficult coming of age rituals are recast into a potent web for affirmation and growth.

Drawn and Quartered by Lynne Sachs
4 min | 16mm | Color | Silent | 1986
Optically printed images of a man and a woman fragmented by a film frame that is divided into four distinct sections. An experiment in form/content relationships that are peculiar to the medium. A declaration of desire of and through cinema.

Maya at 24 by Lynne Sachs
4 min | 16mm to Digital Transfer | B&W | 2021
“My daughterʼs name is Maya. Iʼve been told that the word maya means illusion in Hindu philosophy. I realized that her childhood was not something I could grasp but rather – like the wind – something I could feel tenderly brushing across my cheek.” Lynne filmed Maya at ages 6, 16 and 24, running around her, in a circle – as if propelling herself in the same direction as time, forward.

A Biography of Lilith by Lynne Sachs
35 min | 16mm | Color | 1997
Off-beat narrative, collage and memoir, updating the creation myth by telling the story of the first woman. Lilith’s betrayal by Adam in Eden and subsequent vow of revenge is recast as a modern tale. Interweaving mystical texts from Jewish folklore with interviews, music and poetry, Sachs reclaims this cabalistic parable to frame her own role as a mother.


STUDY GROUP — ONLINE – APR 15

We’re thrilled to come together for a Study Group Session structured around these incredible films! Like a kind of grassroots book club, but for documentary art, it’s all about sparking discussion and deeper investigation, through reading, listening and responding in small, self-organized groups that together form a larger collective experience.

You will get access to the film program through our Membership Hub a few days in advance. Sign up now and stay tuned in your inbox for further instructions!

PUBLIC DIALOGUE – AT THE FESTIVAL – APR 30 – MAY 1

If you’re interested in hearing from the filmmakers & artists themselves as well as the ideas generated in collaboration with our Study Group be sure to catch our regular public dialogues for each film program on the UNDO Member’s Hub. These conversations sample from the festival dialogues, the study group and an in-depth interview hosted by Artistic Differences with the featured artists.  Sign Up to receive a note when it’s released.

A Reality Between Words and Images: Films by Lynne Sachs / Screen Slate

A Reality Between Words and Images: Films by Lynne Sachs
Screen Slate
By Sarah Fensom
October 27, 2022
https://www.screenslate.com/articles/reality-between-words-and-images-films-lynne-sachs

A Reality Between Words and Images: Films by Lynne Sachs

At the center of Lynne Sachs’s short film Task of the Translator (2010), a group of classics scholars are translating a contemporary New York Times article about Iraqi burial rituals into Latin. Sachs’s intimate camera probes the faces and scribbling hands of the instructor and her students as they wring the right words out of each other (cadaver for dead body, vestigia for footsteps, but aegritudo for grief? Maybe luctus instead.). Sachs uses sound poignantly—fading and layering the scholars’ suggestions, affirmations, and nervous laughter so that the exercise feels arduous and drawn out. As form changes, can meaning remain? It’s a question for translators and experimental filmmakers.

Task of the Translator is one of six films in “A Reality Between Words and Images: Films by Lynne Sachs,” a program screening at e-flux Screening Room. Though not explicitly about translation, a number of the other films in the program deal with how meaning is communicated and what can stand in the way of its conveyance. In The House of Science: A Museum of False Facts (1991), Sachs explores the representation of women in science and art through a collage of home movies, original narration, and found footage and audio. Detailing misconceptions, humiliations, private rituals, and even a bit of wry humor, the film showcases how the changing female body is willfully denied understanding in a patriarchal society.

Which Way Is East: Notebooks from Vietnam (1994) is a diaristic travel film that switches between the perspective of Sachs, a brief visitor to Vietnam, and that of her sister Dana, who has been in the country for a year. Sachs layers gorgeous footage she shot on a northward trek from Ho Chi Minh City to Hanoi with poetic narration and subtitled conversations with Vietnamese strangers and friends. Sachs initially tries to make sense of Vietnam through an understanding of the war. But as the film and her trip wears on, and Dana’s more nuanced observations take over the narration (including a moving anecdote about the region’s seasonal fruit cycle), Sachs develops a meaningful account of experiencing a place as it is.

In Carolee, Barbara & Gunvor (2018), Sachs visits a trio of filmmakers in their own spaces: Carolee Schneeman in her 18th-century farmhouse, Barbara Hammer in her New York studio, and Gunvor Nelson in her childhood village in Sweden. Through these brief portraits, Sachs communicates something essential about these artists (Hammer’s boundless energy, for instance) and how their personalities influence the language of their cameras.

In contrast to much of the other work in the program, Window Work (2000) feels purely experiential. Shot on video, a woman sits near her window, drinking tea, reading the paper, cleaning. Passages of time elapse in idleness without narration; instead the sounds of running water, a child playing, and a passing jet drone on. Two boxes dot the video image, hurling abstracted images onto the screen—taken from celluloid home movies. Though Window Work features two distinct film languages, it resists translating between them; it doesn’t attempt to parse out a mode of communication. Daylight beats on the window, and its glass becomes a mirror. In its iridescent reflection, the viewer understands solitude, reminiscence, the heat of the sun she’s felt before wherever she is.

“A Reality Between Words and Images: Films by Lynne Sachs” screens tonight, October 27, at e-flux Screening Room as part of the series “Revisiting Feminist Moving Image.” Filmmaker Lynne Sachs and her collaborators Kristine Leschper and Kim Wilberforce will be in attendance for a conversation.

“I am Two Bodies”: The Maternal in Two Lynne Sachs Films / Indiana University Cinema Establishing Shot


“I am Two Bodies”: The Maternal in Two Lynne Sachs Films
Indiana University Cinema Establishing Shot
By Laura Ivins
September 21, 2022
https://blogs.iu.edu/establishingshot/2022/09/21/i-am-two-bodies-the-maternal-in-two-lynne-sachs-films/#more-13373


Lynne Sachs’ film output is prolific and varied, encompassing documentaries, essay films, non-narrative experiments, and installations. Like many feminist filmmakers, a theme running through her work is the insistence that the personal is important. Whether one’s own body, private moments in a doctor’s office, or one’s sense of family and home, our personal lives are saturated with socio-political meaning. Many meanings are imposed upon us by culture (such as how we experience gender in the world); some meanings we create ourselves (what we choose to value in the face of our acculturation); and some meanings are a rebellion, an attempt to press against the harmful constrictions within culture (reformulating a fluid experience of gender).

Sachs has explored this theme of the personal in different ways across her career, sometimes reflecting inward and sometimes turning the gaze of her camera outward. In The House of Science: a museum of false facts (1991) and A Biography of Lilith (1997), Sachs turns her attention to the complicated relationship cis women have with the maternal.


The House of Science begins with an anecdote of a woman attempting to prevent pregnancy. The narrator tells us about visiting a male gynecologist to request a birth control device. Onscreen we see a mid-century image of a man in a lab coat putting a woman in a cage, and the voiceover tells us about asking this male authority figure for permission to have sex, to have sex while still controlling whether to have a child. He grants her this permission, giving her a diaphragm, but doesn’t tell her how to use it, deflating her power over her own body.

Thirty-one years later, this anecdote should feel like a relic of a previous era when male doctors adjudicated under what circumstances women were allowed to control when they have children. However, the recent Supreme Court decision overturning Roe and Indiana’s own abortion ban that went into effect this past week expose the fragility of all rights and the enduring power of patriarchal authority over our bodies. The salience of The House of Science persists.


A Biography of Lilith uses the mythological Judaic figure of the first woman as synecdoche for misogynistic ideas that continue to plague Western culture. At the same time, the film offers a counternarrative, celebrating birth and the enjoyment one can experience by the feeling of their own body. It’s a contradiction of freedom and constriction.

In her contribution to Essays on the Essay Film (2017), Sachs describes Lilith as “exploring the ruptures that both women and men must confront when transitioning from being autonomous individuals to being parents with responsibilities.”


The film contains footage from the birth of her second daughter. It’s not a birth film, per se, but Lilith exists in conversation with the home birth films of Stan Brakhage and Gunvor Nelson. In a 2007 Camera Obscura article, Sachs reflects on the impact Brakhage’s Window Water Baby Moving (1959) has had on her film practice. In some ways, her interests mirror Brakhage: “Shooting my own material and engaging with the detritus of popular culture in found footage, I, too, am exploring the intimate, often problematic relationship that exists between the camera and the body.”

However, the gaze of the person experiencing childbirth and pregnancy is not the same as the partner watching from a distance removed. The embodiment that Sachs has experienced and her feminist values cause her to reflect, “…I watch this film with great ambivalence, wondering how Jane might have felt there, sprawled out before her husband’s camera, and later across thousands of movie screens. Is she painfully vulnerable, or is she the essence of strength and courage?”


Perhaps both. Lynne Sachs’ films remind us that we move through life carrying this contradiction — bodies vulnerable, but strong.


Watch The House of Science and A Biography of Lilith at the IU Cinema on September 27 at 7 pm as part of the Underground Film Series.

Laura Ivins loves stop motion, home movies, imperfect films, nature hikes, and Stephen Crane’s poetry. She has a PhD from Indiana University and an MFA from Boston University. In addition to watching and writing about movies, sometimes she also makes them.

‘A Biography of Lilith’ and the ‘House of Science: A Museum of False Facts’ / Indiana University Cinema


A Biography of Lilith and the House of Science: A Museum of False Facts
Indiana University Cinema
September 8, 2022
Screening on September 24, 2022
https://cinema.indiana.edu/upcoming-films/screening/2022-fall-program-saturday-september-24-700pm

Underground Film Series

Lynne Sachs | 1997 | USA | Not rated | 16mm 

A pair of films from singular filmmaker Lynne Sachs investigating the connection between the body, the camera, and the materiality of film itself.

About A Biography of Lilith:

Lynne Sachs explores the possibilities of a new creation myth in A Biography of Lilith through a mixture of collage, mythology, cabalistic parable, folklore, interviews, and memoir to provide a narrative of the first woman and, perhaps, the first feminist. Situated on the margins of both documentary and experimental narrative, the film spans Lilith’s betrayal by Adam in Eden to her revenge story in the present-day, as a mother who gives up her baby for adoption and works as a bar dancer. Featuring music by Pamela Z and Charming Hostess. [35 mins; documentary; English]

Lynne Sachs | 1991 | USA | Not rated | 16mm

About The House of Science: A Museum of False Facts:

The House of Science: A Museum of False Facts inspects and interrupts representations of women in the house, the museum, and in science, bridging between public, private, and idealized spaces to generate a new, dual image of women, of “a ‘me’ that is two—the body of the body and the body of the mind.” Through a lively assemblage of home movies, personal reminiscences, staged scenes, found footage, and voice, Sachs’ feminized film form reclaims the body divided among these spaces: “We look at ourselves from within, collect our own data, create our own science, begin to define.” [30 mins; documentary; English]


“Scars, Muscles, Curves of the Spine: Lynne Sachs’ Films at IU Cinema” — By Richard Jermain, The Ryder Magazine
https://online.flippingbook.com/view/986112840/16/

“I am Two Bodies: The Maternal in Two Lynne Sachs Films” — By Laura Ivins, Indiana University Cinema Establishing Shot
https://blogs.iu.edu/establishingshot/2022/09/21/i-am-two-bodies-the-maternal-in-two-lynne-sachs-films/#more-13373


Scars, Muscles, Curves of the Spine: Lynne Sachs’ Films at IU Cinema / The Ryder


Scars, Muscles, Curves of the Spine: Lynne Sachs’ Films at IU Cinema
The Ryder Magazine
By Richard Jermain
September 1, 2022
https://online.flippingbook.com/view/986112840/16/

It may seem old hat to say an experimental filmmaker’s career defies easy classification, but in the case of Lynne Sachs, it’s necessary. Sachs has produced over 40 films in as many years, as well as web projects, multimedia, and live performances. Additionally, she has written original fiction and poetry which appears in her films. Sachs has worked closely with filmmakers like Craig Baldwin, Bruce Conner, Barbara Hammer, Chris Marker, Gunvor Nelson, Carolee Schneemann, and Trinh T. Min-ha. Based in Brooklyn, New York, Sachs’ recent work includes five films with sound artist Stephen Vitiello, a collection of site-specific live performances featuring two years of research with NYC laundry workers, and a poetry collection, Year by Year Poems, published in 2019 by Tender Buttons Press.

However wide ranging the works of Sachs may be, there are common themes and concerns. Her films frequently expose intimate and private details—often with personal memories—and explore the problem of translation, not only between one text and another but between text and image as well. Her predilection for collage, mixed- media, and hybridized form is intrinsic to the themes she explores, which often traverse public and private experiences. There is an ever- present connection to be found between the concept and the material, the form and the content.

The late 1980s and early 90s marks a period in Sachs’ career when her biggest concern as a woman and an artist were the political and personal themes of gender, the body, sexuality, and language. Like many of the “downtown” avant-garde filmmakers working in NYC at this time, Sachs was inspired by feminist literature, finding herself in a reading group with fellow filmmakers such as Peggy Ahwesh and Lynn Kirby that engaged with the challenging ideas of French authors

Luce Irigery (Speculum of Other Woman) and Hélène Cixous (The Newly Born Woman). In Sachs’ words, this was “some of the most powerful, eye-opening literature I had ever experienced. For each of us, the discovery of the expansive, rigorous and playful essays of [these authors] completely changed our sense of language and the body.”

The impact that this had on her perspective as a filmmaker can be directly sensed in the narration in The House of Science: A Museum of False Facts (1991, 30 min., 16mm), not simply through an abstract, intellectual stance, but also through a visceral, lived experience:

“Narration: A speculum before me, I hold the mirror just inches away and learn to look—sometimes shyly, occasionally detached, and now, more often than not, bravely. I touch myself with knowledge. I trace a path across my chest, searching for surprises I’d rather not find, knots in the fabric.

Male voice from the movie: Look!!!

Narration: Undressed, we read our bodies like a history. Scars, muscles, curves of the spine. We look at ourselves from within, collect our own data, create our own science, begin to define.”

It is through the form of the film itself that Sachs seeks to define not just women’s experience but her own personal experience of fragmentation she felt throughout adolescence. Narration here is not an overdetermined explanation of events, but one among many types of media ranging from home movies, staged scenes, found footage, and even Sachs’ own body, as the film explores the fragmented divide between what it names “the body of the body” and “the body of the mind.” This split is not just between the body and the mind but between what is felt and experienced in the body versus what is said and shown in private and public spaces from the home to the museum to the clinic, unable to be fully defined in any of them. The House of Science is a means of not only detailing these stories but of reclaiming authorship of one’s own body.

In A Biography of Lilith (1997, 35 min. 16mm), Sachs expounds on this theme, this time exploring the broader cultural narratives that define the experience of gender and identity. A mixture of narrative, collage, and memoir, the film reimagines the creation myth of the first woman as a modern tale of revenge following Lilith’s betrayal by Adam in Eden. Sachs juxtaposes high-art and mundane images of Lilith: in haunting silver, in Medieval Hebrew protection amulets, Baroque paintings, Mesopotamian ceramics, in Jean Seberg’s portrayal of the crazed Lilith in a mental hospital, in the TV-sitcom “Cheers.”

Like in the critical examination of sources in House of Science, here in Lilith Sachs plays text against image in an attempt to rewrite these received narratives: “I’m learning to read all over again, / a face, this time, connected to a body. / At first, I feel your story from within– / Nose rubs against belly, elbow prods groin. / Your silent cough becomes / a confusing dip and bulge. / You speak and I struggle to translate.”

As in many of her films, Sachs’ personal life and struggles are deeply connected with the themes she presents. In this case, it was her first child that raised the issue of the historical roots of our social definitions of motherhood for her: “I was captivated by this story and all of the folklore that came with it, especially since new mothers were historically told to be afraid of Lilith. She was too willful and aware of her sexuality, which was exactly what attracted me. I discovered Lilith when I was pregnant with my first daughter and finished the film right after I gave birth to my second. My film Biography of Lilith is a reflection of all the awe, fear, frustration, and excitement that was part of this experience.”

An artist who continues to inspire and innovate, Lynne Sachs’ films have been presented at MoMA (Museum of Modern Art), Tate Modern, Image Forum Tokyo, Wexner Center for the Arts, and festivals such as New York Film Festival, Oberhausen International Short Film Festival, Punto de Vista, Sundance, Vancouver IFF, Viennale and Doclisboa, among many others. In 2021, she received awards for her lifetime achievements in experimental and documentary fields  from the Edison Film Festival and Prismatic Ground Film Festival. A Biography of Lilith received prizes at NY Film Expo; Black Maria; New York Women’s Film Festival and The House of Science has received numerous prizes at national and international film festivals and venues. As part of the IU Underground Film Series at the IU Cinema, The House of Science: A Museum of False Facts and Biography of Lilith will be shown on Saturday, September 24 at 7pm. The event is free but ticketed—visit cinema.indiana.edu to reserve tickets.

The Underground Film Series, curated by IU graduate students, explores the artistic and subversive possibilities of film through the unique vision of noncommercial or otherwise marginalized filmmakers. The series encompasses modes of filmmaking from full-length feature films to documentaries, to short films, to video art. The Underground Film Series works to bring unconventional films that are not easily accessible by other means to the attention of the IU and Bloomington communities. By screening avant-garde and experimental films, the Underground Film Series brings audiences to films in danger of being lost or forgotten.


Indiana University Cinema Underground Film Series
A Biography of Lilith and The House of Science: A Museum of False Facts
https://cinema.indiana.edu/upcoming-films/screening/2022-fall-program-saturday-september-24-700pm


AM Costa Rica Announces CRIFF Kick-Off with Lynne Sachs Retrospective

Costa Rica International Film Festival kicks off this week
AM Costa Rica
Published on Wednesday, June 8, 2022
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff
https://www.amcostarica.com/Costa%20Rica%20International%20Film%20Festival%20kicks%20off%20this%20week%20060822.html

– The retrospective category has been dedicated to the American filmmaker and poet Lynne Sachs –

Displaying independent films from 37 countries and in 15 different languages, the tenth edition of the Costa Rica International Film Festival begins on Thursday.

According to the Ministry of Culture, the festival will take place in two parts. First from June 9 to 18 and then from June 29 to Aug. 26.

The categories of the festival include retrospective films, panorama, young people and pioneers of cinema, among others.

The retrospective category has been dedicated to the American filmmaker and poet Lynne Sachs, who has made 37 films, some of which have won awards or have been included in retrospectives at major festivals.

Sachs’s 2019 film, “A Month of Single Frames,” made with and for Barbara Hammer, won the Grand Prize at the International Short Film Festival Oberhausen in 2020.

In 2021, both the Edison Film Festival and the Prismatic Ground Film Festival at the Maysles Documentary Center awarded Sachs for her body of work in the experimental and documentary fields.

Last year the Festival displayed “Film About a Father Who” (2020), directed by Sachs, which is defined as “a poignant and moving film,” by Fernando Chaves-Espinach, director of the festival. “(Sachs) mixes fiction, documentary, experimental film, performance among others,” he said.

“Sachs demonstrates the energy of contemporary cinema and the multiple forms that this art takes, from an intimate and reflective perspective that dialogues with certain forms of filmmaking in our context,” Chaves said.

The festival will be held in several movie theaters in San José, as well as in different communities of the country in rural areas so that more people can enjoy the event, the ministry said.

In San José, the films will be shown at Cine Magaly, the Film Center of the Ministry of Culture and the French Alliance of the France Embassy in Costa Rica.

In rural areas, the festival will be presented at the CCM movie theaters, located in San Ramón and San Carlos in Alajuela Province, in Jacó Beach in Puntarenas Province.

Also, CitiCinemas movie theaters in rural areas will present the festival in Grecia in Alajuela Province, Limón City in Limón Province and Paso Canoas in Puntarenas Province.

In addition, the festival will be presented at Multiplexes in Liberia, Guanacaste Province.

The jury is made up of directors, producers and people of the film industry from Costa Rica and other places such as Northern Ireland, the United Kingdom, Colombia, the Basque Country, Germany and Hungary.

The festival will award three mail films for their formal quality and content. In addition, the winning films will receive about $11,000 in prizes in the categories such as Best National Short; Best Costa Rican Feature Film, Best Central American and Caribbean Feature Film, among others.

People interested in participating in the festival can buy tickets, priced between $3 and $4, on the Festival weband Magaly Theater web.

Costa Rica International Film Festival Hosts Lynne Sachs Retrospective

June 2022

https://www.costaricacinefest.go.cr/articulo/costa-rica-festival-internacional-cine-inicia-9-junio-alcance-nacional

https://www.costaricacinefest.go.cr/categorias/retrospectiva

  • The tenth edition of the CRFIC is celebrated from June 9 to 18, in its first stage, and from June 29 to August 26, in a second itinerant stage, in communities outside the GAM.
  • The public will be able to enjoy 87 films in competition and screening, from 37 countries and in 15 different languages.
  • 69% of the films in programming are directed or co-directed by women.
  • With the presence in the country of the American filmmaker Lynne Sachs, the CRFIC10 pays tribute to her career.

RETROSPECTIVE DEDICATED TO LYNNE SACHS

The CRFIC Retrospective section is dedicated to the renowned American filmmaker and poet Lynne Sachs (1961), who has 37 films to her credit, including short films and feature films, some of which have won awards or have been included in retrospectives at major festivals. .

Regarding the Retrospective, the artistic director of CRFIC10, Fernando Chaves, mentioned that last year the Festival showed Film About a Father Who , a poignant and moving film.

“In this tenth edition of the CRFIC we have the honor of having its director, Lynne Sachs, as a guest of our retrospective,”  continued Chaves, “whom we are excited to present for her mixture of fiction, documentary, experimental cinema, performance and other media. ” 

According to Chaves, with this solid filmography, Sachs demonstrates the energy of contemporary cinema and the multiple forms that this art takes, from an intimate and reflective perspective that dialogues with certain ways of making cinema in our context. 

To close with a flourish, Sachs will hold a workshop where he will experiment with national artists.

Program includes:
• Film About a Father Who
• Con viento en el pelo
• Tip of My Tongue
• A Month of Single Frames
• Carolee, Barbara & Gunvor
• Epistolary: Letter to Jean Vigo
• Drawn & Quartered
• Following the Object to Its Logical Beginning
• Maya at 24
• Same Stream Twice
• Photograph of Wind
• Still Life with Woman and Four Objects
• House of Science: a museum of false facts
• Cuadro por cuadro


https://www.costaricacinefest.go.cr/persona/lynne-sachs


ABOUT & ADDITIONAL PROGRAMS

San José, Costa Rica, May 20, 2022- With a program of outstanding independent films from 37 countries and in 15 different languages, the tenth edition of the Costa Rica International Film Festival (CRFIC10) is held from May 9 to June 18, in a first stage, and from June 29 to August 26 in a second itinerant stage.

The CRFIC10 will be held in person in downtown San José, as well as in different communities in the country outside the Greater Metropolitan Area (GAM), with the aim of reaching larger audiences that can enjoy the alternative audiovisual experience proposed by the festival program of the Costa Rican Center for Film Production (Cinema Center). 

The artistic director of the 10CRFIC, Fernando Chaves Espinach, stated that “the Festival brings us the opportunity to confront ourselves with the most challenging, innovative and inspiring cinema that is being made today, with different languages and approaches, from very different countries. We have chosen winning films at renowned festivals such as Sundance, San Sebastián and Locarno, films nominated for Oscars and winners at other competitions, but we have also rescued titles that otherwise would not reach our theaters, true discoveries that show us the effervescence of contemporary cinema and its ability to shake us” .

The venues of the Festival will be located in the Magaly Cinema (the Main Hall and La Salita), the Gómez Miralles Hall of the Cinema Center, the French Alliance (in Barrio Amón) and the CCM San Ramón, CCM San Carlos, CCM Jacó rooms. , CitiCinemas Grecia, CitiCinemas Limón, Paso Canoas and Multiplexes Liberia.

In the itinerant stage, it will take place in the communities of Matambuguito, Shiroles, Boruca, Térraba, Sarapiquí and Grano de Oro.


OUTSTANDING CINEMA

The 10CRFIC program is made up of a careful selection of 87 international, regional and national films directed and co-directed, 69% by women, with varied content for audiences of all ages.

“We are proud to present a diverse programming in gender and geographical origin, which shows that cinema has never been monolithic in its language or in its origin; this programming allows us to articulate a defense of cinema as a diverse, complex art whose permanence as a vehicle of artistic expression requires spaces for debate and enjoyment such as festivals” , commented Chaves.

OPENING WITH UTAMA FEATURE FILM
For the inauguration of the 10CRFIC, the curatorial team chose the feature film Utama (2022), by Bolivian director Alejandro Loayza Grisi. 

The feature film is a co-production between Bolivia, Uruguay and France and is set in the arid Bolivian highlands, where an elderly Quechua couple have lived the same daily life for years.

In the middle of a drought, Virginio (80 years old) gets sick and aware of his imminent death, he lives his last days hiding the illness from Sisa (81 years old).

Loayza Grisi (1985) began her career in still photography and later entered the world of cinema through film photography. 

As director of photography, he worked on the documentary series Planeta Bolivia, and on multiple short films such as Aicha, Dochera and Polvo. 

Attracted by the stories that can be told through moving images, he ventured into writing and directing his first feature film titled Utama. 

The competitive categories of the programming for this tenth edition are the following: Central American and Caribbean Feature Film Competition, with films from Costa Rica, Guatemala, Panama and the Dominican Republic; and the National Short Film Competition, with eleven Costa Rican productions.

The 10CRFIC will award a statuette to three films that stand out for their formal quality and content, as well as 8 million colones (approximately US$11K at the exchange rate) in total in incentives and support to the filmmakers selected as winners of the Competitive categories: a 1 million colones prize for Best National Short Film, a 3 million colones prize for Best Costa Rican Feature Film, and a 3 million colones prize for Best Central American and Caribbean Feature Film, as well as two 500,000 colones prizes for special mention Jury Mention in Feature Films and Jury Mention in Short Films, respectively. 

The other sections of the program are: Panorama, Radar, Approach, Last batch, Young people, Memory, Pioneers of cinema and Retrospective.

COMPETITION JURIES
The jury for the Central American and Caribbean Feature Film Competition is made up of Peter Taylor (Northern Ireland), programmer and curator, and currently director of the Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival; Christina Newland (United Kingdom), journalist for Vice, Sight & Sound, BBC, Mubi and Empire, on topics such as cinema, pop culture and boxing; and Pablo Hernández Hernández, (Costa Rica), professor at the University of Costa Rica with a doctorate in Philosophy from the Universität Potsdam and specialist in Aesthetics, philosophy of art and culture.

The jury of the National Short Film Competition is Alexandra Latishev (Costa Rica), a filmmaker who graduated from the New Film and Television School of the Véritas University; Juan Soto (Colombia), editor, director and archivist, who currently works at the Filmoteca de Catalunya as Film Preservation Project Manager; and Vanesa Fernández (Basque Country), director of the Zinebi Festival and coordinator of the Degree in Audiovisual Communication at the University of the Basque Country / Euskal Herriko Unibertsitatea (UPV/EHU). 

For their part, the CRFIC Industry juries are Gudula Meinzolt (Germany), with training and experience in cultural management and cinema in areas such as research, promotion, organization of festivals, distribution, exhibition and co-production; Karolina Hernández (Costa Rica), founder and general producer of Dos Sentidos SA and coordinator of the Audiovisual Production area of the Office of Communication and Marketing of the Tecnológico de Costa Rica and professor at the University of Costa Rica; and Zsuzsi Bankuti (Hungary), who since 2020 directs the Cutting Edge Talent Camp, since 2022 is the interim director of Open Doors, and also works as an international strategy consultant for the Doha Film Institute, the Torino Film Lab and Cinemart. 

PRESSKIT: bit.ly/CRFIC10presskit 
ITENERARY:  bit.ly/CRFIC10grid
FULL SCHEDULE:  bit.ly/CRFIC10films