Abigail Child


Mittwoch 12.11.2008

Abigail Child

Abigail Child

(In anwesenheit der Filmemacherin)

In Zusammenarbeit mit Reservoir Film

Abigail Child zu Gast: Eine Meisterin der filmischen Montage
Mit der New Yorkerin Abigail Child präsentieren wir eine eine Meisterin des «Found Footage» Genre, die neben brillanten Bildmontagen auch in der Setzung von Ton und Musik viel Unerwartetes bietet.

Die New Yorker Filmemacherin Abigail Child zählt seit Anfang der 1980er-Jahre zu den bekanntesten und erfolgreichsten Vertreterinnen des unabhängigen US-Amerikanischen Kinos. Ihre ersten Filmerfahrungen machte sie in den 70er-Jahren mit dokumentarischen Arbeiten für die sie bereits ihre ersten Auszeichnungen erhielt. In ihren Filmen hebt sie das Zusammenspiel von Klang und Bild intelligent und einfühlsam auf andere Ebenen und belebt Filmgenres, indem sie Inhalt und sozialen Kontext in ein neues Verhältnis setzt. Home Video, Tanzfilm, Film Noir, Porno- und Dokumentarfilm werden durch Abigails rigorose, humorvolle Art der Montage zum Gegenstand ihrer Analyse. Sie beschäftigt sich mit den Themen Gender, weibliche Sozialisierung, Entfremdung, das Zusammenspiel von Öffentlichkeit und Intimität, Vermischung von Politik und Privatem.
In ihren Filmen strapaziert Child die Beziehung zwischen Bild und Ton stets auf's Äusserste. Sie selber meint dazu: «Es interessiert mich, wie weit ich gehen kann, eigentlich unvereinbare Dinge so zusammenzubringen, dass sie dennoch irgendwie zusammenpassen.» So sind die experimentellen Arbeiten dieser bemerkenswerten Künstlerin denn nicht nur durch ihre virtuose und oftmals an Wahnwitz grenzende Montage gekennzeichnet, sondern stets auch den Grenzen und Gesetzen der filmischen Narration auf der Spur.



Prefaces Is This What You Were Born For? (Part 1) (1981) 16mm, color, sound, 9.5 min
"Like ORNAMENTALS, PREFACES is an abstract work which plays with formalist elements in a wide range of images on color and negative stock. It becomes a kind of 'preconscious' of the two completed films to follow, whose scope and image bank are more narrowly defined. The rapid-fire cross cutting of the images is extended to the construction of the sound track, which is also a dense panoply of fragments. What results is an impressive musique concrete composition, a collage of 'female' sounds interwoven with others: snippets from vocal music, conversations, poetry reading etc. Child plays with memory, not only her own and the world's, but also cinema's: its conventions, polarizations (man/woman) and hierarchization of images."

Robert Hilferty, New York Native

Mutiny Is This What You Were Born For? (Part 3) (1983) 16mm, color, sound, 9.5 min
Featuring Polly Bradfield (violinist), Sally Silvers (dancer), Erica Hunt (poet), and Shelley Hirsch (singer). "This movie is a new kind of classic, it has invented once and for all the machine-gun sound of explosives and composed sentences with speeded-up speech and wild singing, laughter, hardly [at] all understandable, with violins screeching like falling bombs and a Hispanic grind dance .... There are tender closeups in interviews with women, and marvelous documents of dancers, street performers, all races & styles. These are brave and straight-talking people; this is a feminist film, and it is important. All the sound makes a talky song of many voices."

Anne Robertson, X-Dream "Plastically a marvel, a discerning powerhouse performance."
Ken Jacobs

B/Side (1996) 16mm, color & b/w, sound, 40 min
Child's B/SIDE is a provocative exploration of the urban homeless, combining sensitive footage of their exterior situation and entering imaginatively into interior fantasies. Framed by footage of the encampment locally known as Dinkinsville on New York's Lower East Side, where some of the homeless of Tompkins Square Park settled after the riots of June 1991, the movie begins with the encampment's first night and ends with the fire and subsequent destruction of the lot in October of the same year. Applying rhythmic construction, poetic license and a generous eye to bodies in poverty, B/SIDE documents a gritty vision of late 20th century urban life. "[F]ew of the films, experimental of otherwise, display the visual confidence and sociopolitical torque of Abigail Child's meditation on homelessness, B/SIDE, which is as modest and resonant as most alternative film is jejune."

Michael Atkinson, The Village Voice, March 1997 "[A] rich Impressionistic work incorporating a stunning use of sounds and fragments of music; B/SIDE is as lyrical as it is critical."
Kevin Thomas, The Los Angeles Times, October 1997 "Through both cinematic and emotional means, Child keeps her subjects and objects in a sustained and melodic forward motion, to achieve a tight web of dramatic tension."
Jan Meisner, New York Talk "B/side shows the other side of Reagonomics, Director Abigail Child combines documentary with fiction and smart wit in a poetic montage to present a complicated and heartfelt portrait of colonialism at home. These events take place only a mile from Wall Street. The public is forced to look, even as the position of the camera changes. Sometimes the camera is the bystander, at other moments it is the perspective of the homeless themselves."
The Daily, Rotterdam Film Festival. "Abigail Child's latest film works like a finely crafted poison dart. Its initial hit is subtle; the effect is curare - hypnotic, over-powering, lethal. ... Through a stylish, yet edgy, mix of staged shots, documentary footage and soundscapes
Child takes the viewer inside a homeless woman's world. ... [S]mart and fearless."
Gordon Bowness, XTRA!, Toronto, April 1997 Awards: Official Selection, London and Rotterdam Int'l film festivals; Biennial Exhibition, Whitney Museum of American Art, 1997; Oberhausen Film Festival Touring Package and Archive; Prize Winner, Ann Arbor Film Festival; OsnabrÙck Media Arts Festival; Cineprobe, Museum of Modern Art, NY.

Weiterres Screening:


Do, 13. Nov., 2008 um 18.15h, Filmpodium Zürich

Perils, USA 1985, 16mm, SW, Ton, 5 Min., ohne Sprache.
(Mit: Diane Torr, Sally Silvers, Plauto, Elion Sacker. Musikalische Mitarbeit: Christian Marclay, Charles Noyes.)

Covert Action, USA 1984, 16mm, SW, Ton, 10 Min., ohne Sprache

Mayhem, USA 1987, 16mm, SW, Ton, 18 Min., ohne Sprache.
(Mit Ela Troyano, Diane Torr, Elion Sacker, Rex West, Plauto, Penelope Wehrli, Stasia Micula, Alina Troyano, Musikalische Mitarbeit: Christian Marclay, Charles Noyes.)

Dark Dark, USA 2001, 16mm, SW, Ton, 16 Min., ohne Sprache (Musik: Ennio Morricone)

Mirror World, USA 2006, DVD, Farbe, Ton, 15 Min., ohne Sprache