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7:30pm: Screening and discussion
NOTE: Street entrance will be locked at 7:30. Please arrive on time.
presented in association with Canyon Cinema
Please join Cinematheque and Canyon Cinema for the next installment in Canyon’s Salon series. We’re pleased to welcome Sandra Davis, who will be presenting an evening of films reprising a screening presented at Braquage, Paris which locally premieres her most recently completed work, That Woman (2018), featuring George Kuchar in the role of Barbara Walters. Don’t miss this FREE cinematic Summer celebration including works by Davis along with Chick Strand, Amy Halpern, Sharon Couzin, Janie Geiser and Anna Geyer.
Cartoon La Mousse by Chick Strand (1979, 16mm, 15 min, US)
By Halves by Amy Halpern (2012, 16mm, 7 min, US)
Roseblood by Sharon Couzin (1974, 16mm, 9 min, US)
Babel Town by Janie Geiser (1992, 16mm, 7 min, US)
Ich Bin Ein Yunger Hupfer by Anna Geyer (2008, 16mm, 10 min, Germany)
That Woman by Sandra Davis (2018, Digital, 22 min, US)
Full program details available here.
That Woman (2018) by Sandra Davis
That Woman uses as source material the original Barbara Walters interview with Monica Lewinsky, intercut with a “re-creation” of the interview. This re-staging uses transcripts of the actual dialogue, as well as a few interpretive scenes that I scripted. Additional visual elements include the “commercial breaks” from the original broadcast, as well as a “breaking news” segment, which announced the death of a film giant.
Ms. Lewinsky is played by a women bearing a remarkable physical resemblance to the original and Barbara Walters is played by George Kuchar. The make-up, costumes, set, lighting and camera set-ups, are a facsimile of the original, albeit without the stunning high-production values displayed in the network original.
Recalling elements of this scandal, the performers bravely made their improvisational way through scenes including a cigar, and an audio performance by our actress of Happy Birthday Mr. President.
This work gave me the opportunity to utilize the video medium itself to mimic and subvert the seductive power of media spectacle and the ways in which an addiction to scandal has eroded our society’s ability to engage in civil dialogue. Horrified and flabbergasted by the unfolding political media spectacle in 1998-2000, I was recording the constant TV barrage of “live reports” on VHS, not knowing how I might eventually respond in a work of my own. As a mature woman and artist, I was interested in unpacking the layers of coding and performativity surrounding the broadcast interview. While Lewinsky was seemingly put forward by another mature woman, Walters, to present her own story and take ownership of her narrative, the structure and gloss of the presentation—through the structure of the questions, the application of seductive makeup, and camera techniques—emphasized her mediated sexual desirability over her words. In That Woman, the Lewinsky performer is given a chance to shift outside of the restaged moment in order to testify to her own struggle to exert control over the cultural perceptions of herself as an object not only of male gaze and desire, but of societal projections of a misogynist culture. During this saga of nauseatingly national media spectacle, private experience became public, asking the spectator to question: what is the true nature of obscenity?” (Sandra Davis)
Production of That Woman was supported in part by the San Francisco Arts Commission.
Sandra Davis is a San Francisco-based experimental filmmaker and curator whose work has been exhibited at film showcases and festivals worldwide, including the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Museum of Modern Art, Pompidou Center, Paris. She has held teaching positions at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, the University of South Florida, and the San Francisco Art Institute. She has lectured widely in the US and Europe on experimental cinema and its place within modern and contemporary art.
Image credit: That Woman (2018) by Sandra Davis