Previously at the ICA - Films
17 Jul 2013
This screening explores how experimental filmmakers have addressed the issue of sex as a political gesture. These films retrace early acts of resistance by portraying sexuality on the screen, engaging in a debate around normalised sexuality.
Un chant d'amour by Jean Genet
France, 1950, 25 minutes
B&W, sound, 35mm
'A huge influence on modern gay filmmakers, Un Chant d'amour was made in 1950 by Jean Genet - his only film. It's a silent, sensual and poetic fantasy set in a French prison. Genet's troubling and erotic images steered the film into a history of controversy and censorship. Henri Langlois gave Un Chant d'amour its public premiere at the Cinematheque Francais in 1954, screening a version cut of its sexually explicit material. But as its producer Nico Papatakis points out, even if the film did not contain erotic sex scenes, it was in every way a gay love story, and therefore scandalous and subject to censorship. Un Chant d'amour was generally unavailable for public viewing in France for the following twenty years…'
Extracted from Jane Giles, The Cinema of Jean Genet
Fuses by Carolee Schneemann
USA 1964-1967, 25 minutes
Colour, Silent, 16mm
'By interweaving and compounding images of sexual love with images of mundane joy (the sea, a cat, window-filtered light), she expresses sex without the self-consciousness of a spectacle, without an idea of expressivity, in her words, 'free in a process which liberates our intentions from our conceptions.' Carolee and her lover James Tenney emerge from nebulous clusters of colour and light and are seen in every manner of sexual embrace... one overall mosaic of flesh and textures and passionate embraces. Every element of the traditional stag film is here - fellatio, cunnilingus, close-ups of genitals and penetrations, sexual acrobatics - yet there's none of the prurience and dispassion usually associated with them. There is only a fluid oceanic quality that merges the physical act with the metaphysical connotations, very Joycean and very erotic.' - Extracted from Gene Youngblood, Expanded Cinema
Sodom by Luther Price
USA, 1989, 25 minutes
Colour, Separate sound (CD), 16mm
'Power, control, brutality - all are there, companions to lust and pleasure - even the sex and death equation whether related to AIDS or not... Sade and Bataille both explored the darker side of sex, as has Kenneth Anger. It seems to me that Luther Price has upped the ante. I see Sodom as part of a tradition whose precursors, perhaps, are Anger's Fireworks and Genet's Un Chant d'Amour. These films, now distanced by history, challenged received notions of sexual portrayal and were controversial in their time. There have been few films that have dealt with gay sexuality since.' - Michael Wallin
This event has been curated and initiated by ICA Student Forum member Tabita Rezaire.