November 8 – Yvonne Rainer’s Film About a Woman Who…

Sunday November 8, 2009, 7:30 pm

Los Angeles Filmforum presents

Bodies, Objects, Films: An Yvonne Rainer Retrospective (part 2 of 8 )

Film About a Woman Who… (1974)

Film About a Woman Who...

Film About a Woman Who...

At the Spielberg Theatre at the Egyptian, 6712 Hollywood Blvd. at Las Palmas, Los Angeles

Over the course of our 2009-2010 seasons, Filmforum is proud to present a full retrospective of the media works of Yvonne Rainer.  One of the most significant artists in dance and film of the last fifty years, this is the first full retrospective of her films in Los Angeles.

Please note that Yvonne Rainer will not be present at this screening.  We were going to screen Trio A and Lives of Performers tonight, but we will screen those on a night in 2010 when Rainer can be present.  We apologize for any inconvenience.

Film About A Woman Who… (1974, 105 mins, b&w, 16mm)

Rainer’s landmark film is a meditation on ambivalence that plays with cliché and the conventions of soap opera while telling the story of a woman whose sexual dissatisfaction masks an enormous anger.

“If Lives of Performers is a compendium of possibilities, then Film About a Woman Who… is their fruition.  Again in black and white, again photographed by Babette Mangolte, this film pushes even further Rainer’s initial thoughts on representation, narrative, sexual relationships, and the politics of personal power manipulations.  The effects of feminist thinking becomes even clearer in this work, especially as reflected in hindsight by Rainer’s own remarks (in 1973) on the attraction of film over dance: that since “rage, terror, desire, conflict et al” were not unique to her experience in the way that her body had always been, now she ‘could feel much more connected to my audience, and that gives me great comfort.’  It was during this period, in fact, that a whole new audience was opening up for the work of women filmmakers, and an equally new context for their work….” — B. Ruby Rich, from “Yvonne Rainer: An Introduction”, in The Films of Yvonne Rainer (Indiana University Press, 1989), p. 7.

One site’s note on the film

On Yvonne Rainer:

When Yvonne Rainer made her first feature-length film in 1972, she had already influenced the world of dance and choreography for nearly a decade. From the beginning of her film career she inspired audiences to think about what they saw, interweaving the real and fictional, the personal and political, the concrete and abstract in imaginative, unpredictable ways. Her bold feminist sensibility and often controversial subject matter, leavened with a quirky humor, has made her, as the Village Voice dubbed her in 1986, “The most influential American avant-garde filmmaker of the past dozen years, with an impact as evident in London or Berlin as in New York.”

Rainer was born in San Francisco in 1934. She trained as a modern dancer in New York from 1957 and began to choreograph her own work in 1960. She was one of the founders of the Judson Dance Theater in 1962, the beginning of a movement that proved to be a vital force in modern dance in the following decades. Between 1962 and 1975 she presented her choreography throughout the United States and Europe, notably on Broadway in 1969, in Scandinavia, London, Germany, and Italy between 1964 and 1972, and at the Festival D’Automne in Paris in 1972. In 1968 she began to integrate short films into her live performances, and by 1975 she had made a complete transition to filmmaking.

In 1972 she completed a first feature-length film, LIVES OF PERFORMERS. In all she has completed seven features: FILM ABOUT A WOMAN WHO… (1974), KRISTINA TALKING PICTURES (1976), JOURNEYS FROM BERLIN/1971 (1980, co-produced by the British Film Institute and winner of the Special Achievement Award from the Los Angeles Film Critics’ Association), THE MAN WHO ENVIED WOMEN (1985), PRIVILEGE (1990, winner of the Filmmakers’ Trophy at the Sundance Film Festival, Park City. Utah, 1991, and the Geyer Werke Prize at the International Documentary Film Festival in Munich, 1991), and MURDER and murder (1996).

Rainer’s films have been shown extensively in the U.S. and throughout the world, in alternative film exhibition showcases and revival houses (such as the Bleecker St Cinema, Roxy-S.F.; NuArt-L.A; Film Forum-NYC, et al), in museums and in universities. Her films have also been screened at festivals in Los Angeles (Filmex), London, Montreux, Toronto, Edinburgh, Mannheim, Berlin, Locarno, Rotterdam, Creteil, Deauville, Toulon, Montreal, Hamburg, Salsa Majori, Figueira da Foz, Munich, Vienna, Athens (Ohio), Sundance, Hong Kong, Yamagata, and Sydney.

A half-hour video tape entitled YVONNE RAINER: STORY OF A FILMMAKER WHO… was aired on Film and Video Review, WNET-TV in 1980. THE MAN WHO ENVIED WOMEN was aired on Independent Focus, WNET-TV in, 1989, and PRIVILEGE on the same program in 1992 and during the summer of 1994.

In the Spring of 1997—to coincide with the release of MURDER and murder—complete retrospectives of the films of Yvonne Rainer were mounted at the Museum of Modern Art in San Francisco and at the Film Society of Lincoln Center in New York City.

In 2006 MIT Press published Yvonne Rainer’s memoir, Feelings Are Facts: A Life.

She most recently presented new dance works at REDCAT in June 2009.


Two extended articles on Yvonne Rainer on Senses of Cinema:

“Yvonne Rainer” by Erin Brannigan

“From Objecthood to Subject Matter: Yvonne Rainer’s Transition from Dance to Film” by Jonathan Walley

Another biography of Rainer

Upcoming in the Yvonne Rainer Retrospective:
December 6 – THE MAN WHO ENVIED WOMEN with Rainer in person, moderated by Berenice Reynaud

Five more screenings in 2010!

Reservations available by emailing but not necessary

Tickets $10 general, $6 students/seniors, free for Filmforum members

This screening series is supported, in part, by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors through the Los Angeles County Arts Commission and the Department of Cultural Affairs, City of Los Angeles.  Additional support generously provided by the American Cinematheque.


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