The Wexner Center will host an especially full roster of visiting filmmakers in the coming weeks and months, including Nina Paley, whose rich animated feature Sita Sings the Blues has been called Bollywood meets Betty Boop; Ellen Kuras, whose documentary The Betrayal was nominated for an Oscar this year; and British artist Steve McQueen, who will make his first appearance outside of New York to introduce his 2008 film Hunger, a retelling of the Irish prison hunger strike in 1981. All films will be introduced by their directors and include a post-film Q&A session with the audience. The schedule follows.
Sita Sings the Blues (2008, 82 mins.)
Friday–Saturday, February 27–28 | 7 pm
The Betrayal (above, 2008) Image courtesy of the director]
INTRODUCED BY NINA PALEY FEB 27
"Visually beautiful, extremely entertaining, it has so much going for it I really can't think of anything I'd change about it. Imagine Betty Boop in a Bollywood musical!"—Jerry Beck, Cartoonbrew.com
VISITOR INFORMATION: Tickets are $5 for members, students and senior citizens, and $7 for the general public. All screenings take place in the state-of-the-art Wexner Center Film/Video Theater located at 1871 N. High St. Convenient parking is available in Ohio State’s Ohio Union Garage and Arps Garage. For tickets and more information call (614) 292-3535 or visit www.ticketmaster.com.
Sita Sings the Blues is comic strip artist and animator Nina Paley’s inspired animated vision of the Ramayana—the ancient Indian epic of Hindu mythology—intercut with a modern-day story about the director's own failed relationship with a man who goes to work in India. The film thrillingly blends numerous visual styles, influenced by Indonesian shadow puppets, commercial Hindu iconography, and classic Hollywood animation from the likes of Max Fleischer and the UPA Studios. Recommended for ages 9 and up. Click here for a feature on the film in the New York Times.
Ben Russell: Recent Anthropologies (90 mins.)
Wednesday, March 4 | 7 pm
Ben Russell is one of the few artists working to make 16mm film relevant to the contemporary media landscape, while playing off the varied histories of filmmaking itself. He's made a diverse range of films that have included a pinhole movie of Easter Island, a portrait of an audience at a Lightning Bolt concert, and a flicker film set to a Richard Pryor monologue. Tonight he'll show and introduce four films shot primarily in the Maroon villages of Suriname, South America. They represent a major strain of Russell's work that complicates traditions of ethnographic and documentary film. In a special live double-projector performance that closes the evening, Russell challenges the specter of representation in its entirety, shuttling the image to the point of total annihilation. Russell is at the Wexner Center to work on a feature-length film in the Art & Technology studio. Note: This show contains visuals that may be harmful to those with epilepsy.
China Town (2008, 52 mins.)
Thursday, March 5 | 7 pm
Over 7,000 photographs edited together create this experimental video that documents the global production of copper. Raven's journey begins in the open-pit copper mines of eastern Nevada. From there, she follows the raw material all the way to China, where it is processed, refined, and ultimately made into electrical wire. The seemingly simple story of copper is complicated by the economics of globalization, natural resource conservation, and nationalism. China Town was begun while Raven was an artist-in-residence at the Center for Land Use Interpretation in Wendover, Utah, and was edited here at the Wexner Center in the Art & Technology department.
Hunger (2008, 96 mins.)
Wednesday, March 18 | 7 pm
"Raw, powerful filmmaking."—The Guardian
British artist Steve McQueen won the Caméra d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival for best debut film with this first theatrical feature. It’s a gripping and unflinching account of life in Northern Ireland’s Maze Prison focused on the events surrounding the 1981 IRA hunger strike led by Bobby Sands. A key figure among the so-called Young British Artists who burst on to the art scene in the 1990s, McQueen received the 1999 Turner Prize. Read a review of the film from Time Out London here.
The Betrayal (& Thavisouk Phrasavath, 2008, 96 mins.)
Friday–Saturday, April 3–4 | 7 pm
INTRODUCED BY ELLEN KURAS APRIL 3
"Powerful! A film essay that takes account of pain, resilience, and the sheer strangeness of recent memory."—A. O. Scott, The New York Times
Celebrated cinematographer Ellen Kuras returns to the Wexner Center (after an extensive 2006 retrospective) to present her heartfelt directorial debut, an Oscar nominee this year for best documentary feature. Filmed over the course of 23 years, the haunting documentary follows a Laotian family's traumatic efforts to start a new life in America. Fleeing the new Communist leaders in the wake of the U.S.-backed covert war in Laos, the family settles in Brooklyn only to discover a harsh reality (instead of the American dream) and encounter continually surprising turns of events. The gripping film gives us a story of what it means to be in exile, of the far-reaching consequences of war, and of the resilient bonds of family.
Two Films by Michael Snow
Wednesday, April 15 | 7 pm
Canadian artist Michael Snow is one of the most renowned and influential of all avant-garde filmmakers—and a Renaissance man for the 20th century and beyond who has worked in painting, sculpture, and music as well as film. A provocative pairing of two of his classics will be on view April 15.
The landmark <-> (aka Back and Forth) (1968–69) is one of his most sculptural films, which uses the camera as a perpetual motion machine to examine a classroom and its activities through a series of panning shots of varying velocities. So Is This (1982) unspools its imagery in the form of text—one word at a time—to create a new kind of concrete poetry and film language. Village Voice critic J. Hoberman wrote that the resulting film "parlays an elegantly simple concept into an unpredictably, cumulatively rich experience."
When It Was Blue (2008)
Friday, May 8 | 7 pm
Jennifer Reeves, a Wexner Center Residency Award recipient in 2006–07, returns to the center to present her latest film, intended to be shown as two overlapping 16mm projections. Glorious in its sense of ambition and emotion, When It Was Blue is an epic of personal, experimental cinema and one woman’s attempt to preserve as much as possible of the troubling beauty of two endangered things that she holds dear: the natural world and 16mm film. The film’s sold-out world premiere was one of the most enthusiastically received screenings at the 2008 Toronto International Film Festival.
Significant contributions for the Wexner Center’s 2008–09 film/video season are made by the Rohauer Collection Foundation.
All film/video programs and events also receive support from the Corporate Annual Fund of the Wexner Center Foundation and Wexner Center members, as well as from the Greater Columbus Arts Council, The Columbus Foundation, Nationwide Foundation, and the Ohio Arts Council.